Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have the responsibility to provide safe products to consumers. When products are unsafe, those responsible may be held liable for injuries that result. Whether the safety of a product is questionable due to bad design, defective materials, a mistake in manufacturing, or the failure to provide proper instructions or warnings, Pleasanton product liability attorney Stephen M. Fuerch can use over 30 years of experience to identify the defects and pursue your claim. Mr. Fuerch serves clients in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, as well as surrounding areas. If you’ve been injured as a result of a dangerous product, you may be entitled to compensation.Types of Product Liability
Most claims for product liability fall into three categories: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. Different individuals or companies may be liable for a product’s flaws depending on which theory is involved. Thorough investigation into how a product was made and how it led to injury is important in evaluating and pursuing product liability claims. Time is also of the essence in these cases, since the statute of limitations in California is two years from the time the injury occurs or should have been discovered.
These types of defects occur during the manufacturing process, when a product fails to match the quality of its counterparts. These defects are detectable because the product differs from that of a manufacturer’s intended result, or from other supposedly identical units in the same line. To establish a claim for manufacturing defects in California, the injured consumer must show that:
- The manufacturer sold the product;
- The product contained the defect when it left the manufacturer’s possession;
- The consumer was harmed; and
- The product’s defect was a substantial factor in causing the damage.
Examples of manufacturing defects include a car that is a “lemon” due to its faulty electrical system or a toy with sharp edges because the plastic was molded together improperly. If you were injured or otherwise suffered damages due to a flaw in the manufacturing process, you may have a manufacturing defect claim.
Design defects result when the design of the product is inherently dangerous or useless. There are two ways for a consumer to establish that a product’s design was defective. Under the first approach, the consumer must show that the product was not safe according to an ordinary consumer’s expectations, either when used as intended or misused in a way that is foreseeable. The second approach requires the defendant to show that the benefits of the product’s design outweigh its risks after the consumer shows they were harmed as a result of the design flaw.
Examples of design defects include a model of car with doors that fail to open after certain impacts, or hair-straightening tools that catch fire when the heat is set too high. Multiple parties may be liable for injuries sustained due to a design defect, since the wide range of factors to consider extend from what parts were involved to how they interacted. How a plaintiff is injured is also relevant to what claim may be made. If an injury is sustained in a car accident while driving a car with defective doors, it must be shown that the doors’ design was a proximate cause of the injury.
Failure to Warn
When a product fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions about its proper use, leading to injury, a failure-to-warn claim arises. Typically, these cases involve products with inherent, nonobvious dangers, which could have been mitigated with an adequate warning to a user instructing them to exercise certain precautions. Examples of failure-to-warn scenarios include medications that do not list all possible side effects for patients, or strong cleaning solutions that fail to advise consumers to wear gloves when handling.Who Is Responsible for Defective Products?
Manufacturers, distributors, or retailers are “strictly liable” for injuries caused by manufacturing, design, or warning defects. This means that a plaintiff needs to show only that a product caused harm and not that the defendants were negligent or intended to harm consumers. Many companies use outside sources during the production process. This means that multiple parties may be liable for an injury resulting from a defective product. It is important to consult an experienced legal professional to properly determine who may be responsible and proceed appropriately.
If you are injured partly as a result of your own carelessness in using a defective product, compensation for your injuries will be offset by the percentage of your comparative negligence. If your injuries were partly caused by ignoring instructions to wear protective clothing, for example, damages would be reduced accordingly.Legal Representation for Your California Product Liability Claim
Product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers should be held accountable for providing unsafe products to consumers. If you’ve been injured as a result of a defective product, Fremont product liability lawyer Stephen M. Fuerch can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Mr. Fuerch has more than three decades of experience helping clients in Hayward, Dublin, and throughout the East Bay. Call (925) 463-1073 or email us to set up a free consultation about your case.