Product Liability

In a country that runs on consumer goods, it’s no surprise that mistakes happen. There are federal laws in place to regulate the production and distribution of goods, but it’s not always enough to ensure the safety of the products that reach consumers’ hands. Thousands of unsuspecting buyers have suffered serious injuries, illnesses, and wrongful death because of defective products. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a dangerous or defective product, come to the law offices of Dennis F. Minna for a free consultation.

WHAT IS PRODUCT LIABILITY?

Product liability refers to holding a manufacturer or seller liable – or responsible – for placing a dangerous or defective product in the hands of consumers. The laws governing product liable are different than those of general personal injury law, so hiring a firm with experience in the area is key.  There is no federal product liability law, therefore each state has there own set of consumer protections that cover negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty of manufacturers and sellers.

PRODUCT LIABILITY LAWS IN CALIFORNIA

In California, there are two main legal theories one can base a product liability lawsuit upon: negligence and strict liability. A suit on the grounds of negligence requires the injured party, or plaintiff, to prove the defendant’s negligence in the creation or manufacture of the product in question. Negligence is any act or failure to act that causes the individual or company to breach its duties of care to consumers. For example, the company may have been negligent in its training procedures, manufacturing regulations, or safety protocols, resulting in a defective product.

Strict liability laws allow an injured party to sue for damages without having to prove the manufacturer’s negligence. Regardless of whether the defendant was negligent in the creation of the good, it will be liable for damages that a defective product causes if it has one of the three main types of defects: inherent design flaws, manufacturing errors, or marketing defects. Design flaws are mistakes the company makes in the design of the item, such as an electronic children’s toy that catches on fire when left out in the sun.

Manufacturing errors describe mistakes that make an otherwise safe item dangerous. For example, a swing that comes off of the assembly line missing a link. Manufacturing mistakes during any phase of the process can result in an unreasonably dangerous product. A marketing defect is a failure to warn of known hazards. If the company knows or reasonably should have known about a hazard the item poses, it has a duty to warn consumers. Failure to do so, resulting in consumer injury, is grounds for a strict liability lawsuit. Strict liability laws are in place to protect consumers from goods that are dangerous due to defects.

TYPES OF DANGEROUS PRODUCT DEFECTS

Marketing Defects – If the product was labeled improperly or does not contain adequate safety warnings or instructions it may have a marketing defect.

Design Defects – If something in the design of the product is dangerous or unsafe it may have a design defect.

Manufacturing Defects – If the product has a flaw of defect that is not in the design, but occurred during manufacturing or assembly, it may have a manufacturing defect.

SUING A MANUFACTURER OR DISTRIBUTOR

If you suffered an injury due to a defective household appliance, consumer good, children’s toy, vehicle part, medical device, or medication, you are not alone. There have been thousands of lawsuits against manufacturers over the years because of defective and dangerous items hitting the shelves. You may have the right to take legal action against the party that manufactured or sold the product that caused your injuries.

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