In California, Companies are Always Responsible for the Safety of Their Products
Unlike other types of personal injury lawsuits, negligence is NOT a deciding factor in whether or not a company is responsible for your injuries.
Today’s article will examine a few of the unique details of product liability cases in California, and will hopefully shed some light on whether or not you have a case.
What makes a solid product liability case?
In general, your lawyer must prove four things in order to have a successful case:
That the defendant manufactured, distributed, designed or sold a defective product
That the product was defective when it left the defendant’s possession
That you, the plaintiff, used the product in a “reasonably foreseeable” manner
That you, the plaintiff, suffered harm directly due to the defect
Unlike some other types of claims, defective product cases don’t always require your lawyer to prove that the defendant was negligent, and instead may impose strict liability on the defendant.
What is strict liability?
In California, strict liability may be imposed for three kinds of product defects:
Inadequate product warnings
Strict liability simply means that when a product is more dangerous than it should be (or the consumer isn’t warned enough of its dangers), then anyone who sells, distributes or designed the product can be held accountable—even if the defendant did nothing else wrong.
What does it mean to use a product in a “reasonably foreseeable” way?
California state law requires companies to anticipate how the average user will use and even misuse their products.
That’s not to say that every product is required to be 100% safe—in fact, even run-of-the-mill household objects can be dangerous if grossly misused.
One of the key decisions made by a jury in a product liability case is deciding whether or not the plaintiff was injured during normal, foreseeable use.
Are product liability cases difficult to win?
Because there are often many factors contributing to a given injury, winning product liability cases often relies on the skill of your attorney. Some common defenses against product liability claims include:
“The product was never defective”
“Someone else repaired or altered the product”
“The product was defective, but not when it left the defendant’s possession”
“The plaintiff used the product in a way that wasn’t reasonably foreseeable”
“The plaintiff’s own negligence caused their injuries”
Besides that, product liability cases are not always black and white. Juries can divide liability between you and the defendant—and even third parties—reducing the amount you are able to recover in damages.
For example, if you’re seeking compensation for $10,000 in medical bills but the jury finds you 20% responsible for your injury, then the manufacturer is only on the hook for $8,000.
How much is my product liability case worth?
If you or a loved one was injured by a defective, dangerous product, don’t waste time trying to figure out who is at fault. Give us a call or fill out our brief form below to set up a free consultations, and we’ll help you figure out the first step towards recovering the compensation you deserve.