Orange County Product Liability Lawyers
Today, we rely almost entirely on products manufactured by others to supply our day-to-day needs. From the foods we eat to the automobiles we drive to the toys we give our children, we expect products on the market to be safe for use. In truth, thousands of products are recalled every year after being found to be unsafe, for one reason or another. If a dangerous or defective product has injured you, you may have a product liability claim for compensation.
The attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have years of experience with product liability cases. We understand just how daunting it can be to go up against a large manufacturing company on your own. It may seem as though there is no hope for you to receive the compensation you need and deserve. But those who have acted negligently should be held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, call our firm today at (949) 752-7474, and let’s talk about your case.
Product liability can be defined as the legal liability a manufacturer or seller incurs for producing or selling a faulty product. Liability lies with all sellers of the product in the distribution chain. Under the law, products are generally required to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. A product with an unexpected, dangerous defect does not meet those expectations.
One product liability claim may involve several legal theories. Product liability claims are typically based on state laws and brought under the legal theories of strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
Strict liability exists when a defendant is liable for an action, regardless of what his or her mental state was while committing that action. In a product liability claim, strict liability means that the defendant is liable if the plaintiff proves the product is defective, regardless of the defendant’s intent.
In pursuing a product liability claim based on negligence, you must show that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances (a duty to manufacture or sell a product free from dangerous defects).
- The defendant breached that duty of reasonable care.
- The defendant’s breach was the primary or only cause of your injuries.
- You suffered an injury as a result.
Breach of Warranty
To win a product liability claim based on a breach of warranty, you must show that the product was under an express or implied warranty and the defendant did not meet the terms of the warranty. An express warranty can be created by the sales contract or by the seller’s actions. An implied warranty of merchantability, essentially a guarantee that the product is not mislabeled or defective, applies to consumer products.
There are many product liability laws in California that are designed to help keep consumers safe. The attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie know these laws well, and refer to them frequently when pursuing justice for our clients. Some of the more important ones that you should be aware of are:
- Liability must be clear, which means your claim should fall into either failure to warn, defective design, or defective manufacturing
- The company that made the product must be at least partially at fault for your injuries in order for you to recover damages
- The statute for limitations when it comes to product liability claims is two years after the accident occurred, meaning you have a two-year time limit to file a claim
On top of the laws mentioned above, California is a comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries, you will not receive the full amount you can in damages. However, there are some states where if you are at fault at all, you cannot receive any compensation, so comparative negligence actually works in your favor.
For example, if you were injured after a car accident because your airbag did not deploy correctly, then the airbag manufacturer could be held liable. However, it may be found that the accident was caused because you weren’t paying proper attention to the road, so you would have never been injured in the first place if you were driving responsibly. The court may then consider you to be 30% at fault, and the manufacturer to be 70% at fault. So long as you are less than 50% responsible for the accident, you may still be able to be awarded damages.
The damages you receive will be reduced by the percentage that you were found to be at fault. Going off of the example above, if you were then awarded $100,000 for your injuries, then you would actually receive $70,000.
There are three main categories that product liability cases fall into. In order for your case to be considered valid in California, it will have to clearly pertain to one of these types. It’s important for you to understand each of them, so you can evaluate whether you have a product liability case. If you’re unsure, feel free to contact our firm. We would be happy to answer your questions.
Failure to warn: Failure to warn means that there was no warning on the product that could have prevented an accident. For example, certain household chemicals should never be mixed with other common chemicals, as the two combined would result in a dangerous reaction. If neither chemical bottle warned against the combination, and you mixed the two together and became ill or injured, that would be a case failure to warn.
Design defects: A product that was poorly designed can easily lead to serious injuries. Design defects do not mean the product was not made properly. Rather, it was built exactly how it was meant to be, but the original design of it was flawed in some way. A car can be poorly designed, making it difficult to steer properly, for example. A bad design often also points to improper testing, as dangerous designs should be noticed and corrected before the product is made available for consumers.
Manufacturing defects: If a product is not made as it was meant to be made, then that counts as a manufacturing defect. These kinds of defects can be fairly simple, such as a label being misaligned on a bottle, to serious, like an airbag not deploying correctly. Manufacturing defects can, and do, result in serious injuries to those that use the products.
Defective products can lead to all kinds of issues. Safety equipment that’s been defectively made or designed can result in severe injuries when they fail. Unfortunately, there’s also the aftermath of that illness or injury to contend with.
After being made sick or getting hurt, you’ll likely need medical help in order to heal and recover. That assistance, while necessary, can also be costly. You’ll also need to take some time off work in order to go to doctor’s appointments, and you may not be able to perform your normal duties due to your injuries. That means lost wages, which will make it even more difficult to pay your medical bills.
On top of all this, you have probably been going through quite a bit of pain and suffering, and your quality of life has likely become much older. It’s difficult enough to recover from a traumatic experience without all of these burdens impacting your ability to live a comfortable and happy life. It is not your fault that you accidentally purchased a defective product. You should not have to suffer consequences that were caused by someone else’s negligence.
It’s vital that you understand just who was liable for your injuries, as your claim must be filed against a group or person. However, determining liability can be difficult without a proper investigation you’re your case. There could be multiple potentially liable parties in a product liability case. Responsibility for injuries caused by a product defect may lie with any party in the product’s chain of distribution, for example:
- Product manufacturer
- Component parts manufacturer
- Product assembler or installer
- A retailer that sold the product to the consumer
Product liability claims can be complicated. You stand a better chance of recovering full and fair compensation for your losses with an experienced attorney by your side. Our Orange County personal injury lawyers at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have more than 40 years of experience. We have won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call us at (949) 752-7474 today to schedule a consultation. We can tell you if you have a product liability case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
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You were wonderful throughout my case. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the process so that I could feel comfortable. When I was hurt, I really did not know where to turn and Suzanne was comforting and knowledgable. Thanks again for all you did.