Product liability lawyer Newport Beach

What to Do if You Were Injured by a Defective Product

The markets are governed by certain laws. When people set out items for sale, they are legally required to follow certain regulations. The items they bring to the public must be in good condition. They must not pose any kind of health hazard. Sometimes, however, problems may arise with the condition of an item for sale. While most products for sale are completely safe, occasionally items that do not slip through. These flawed items are the cause of thousands of problems every single year.

A specific set of American laws known as product liability governs this issue. If you have been injured or you are accused of selling products that fall under these laws, it is a good idea to speak with a trusted lawyer in Newport Beach. A product liability lawyer can specifically help you figure out the next steps you want to take and how to proceed under these circumstances.

Being Held Liable

There are three types of liability associated with faulty products: defective manufacturing, defective design and missing warnings and instructions. Any manufacturer or seller can be held liable for defects associated with any of their products. Once a product is in the hands of the consumer, laws still consider the distributor liable although they had no part in the design or production. Products liability is when any or all parties, in addition to the manufacturer are responsible for damages caused by a product. It includes the following parties:

  1. Main manufacturer
  2. Assembling manufacturer
  3. Wholesaler / distributer
  4. Retail owner

As a consumer, it is important to know that products is a broad term that includes items you purchase, indicated as “personal property” and intangible items like gas, water, pets, among others. As a torts law, this protects the consumer. The end user has certain expectations when they buy any item. They expect it to be a good working order. This is known under law as the ordinary expectation. When the commercial retailer (defendant) sells a product to a customer this is a walk-through of what can occur:

  1. The defendant sells the product
  2. When the customer owns the product, an unprecedented accident happens
  3. The customer suffers a minor to severe personal injury
  4. The defendant, unknowingly sold a malfunctioning item, for profit
  5. The defective product was the reason a customer was injured, and he/she is unaware of the defendant’s lack of knowledge

If the product has a defect or poses a danger, a personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach can help you recoup possible damages. It is important for all consumers to understand what is covered under these laws, how they apply and what kind of damages may be available to the purchaser. Seeking legal counsel is an effective first step, as they can sort out this question and help any potential claimant decide what they are going to do next.

There are three types of product defect cases or product liability claims you can file if you were injured. First, you have to prove that the product was defected, and caused the injury you received. The purpose of this ruling is to prove that the product is too dangerous to the defendants. To prove a manufacturer or supplier is liable, victims have to make a point toward the following:

Defect in designs
The design of the product goes through a long trial period before getting created. Defective designs are not normal, as they do not occur during the manufacturing process. When you file a claim stating it was due to the design, you are enforcing that the entire line is at risk of harming other consumers. Whether it is true or false, a lawyer that specializes in unreliable products will do a deep investigation to make sense of the manufacturers specifications in the event they were covering up a product failure. To win your claim it must be presented that the product was unsafe before it was manufactured, resulting in a dangerous defect. This would prove the product’s assembly is also unsafe.
Examples include:

  • When a car has a safety compliance recall due to a fire hazard recall due to poorly positioned battery cables
  • Sunglasses that promote UV protection, but fail to do so
  • When you purchase an electric blanket and it electrocutes the consumer when dialed high

Manufacturing defects
This is when a product became flawed during the assembly process. This is the most common type of claim that victims normally file for defectively manufactured products. As opposed to the defect in designs, proving a product is dangerous because of manufacturing indicates that along the normal day-to-day process there was an error in making it. Whether it was an assembly line or the factory’s machinery, the mistake made resulted in injuring someone else. It doesn’t target the entire line of products; the claim would only specify how the damaged goods differ from the remaining in the store.
Examples include:

  • A defective band saw that breaks when cutting lumber
  • Hearing aids that burn the inner part of your ear when used
  • Tainted medication, like cough syrup, resulting in poisoning
  •  Tire recall due to tread loss, which can increase the risk of car crashes

It is important to keep in mind that the injury must have resulted from the manufacturer defect. For example, if you were driving on the highway and you crashed into another vehicle while taking an exit, you would have a strong claim if you were able to provide that the new tires were purchased with little to no traction. It would be combating the opposing claims that you were in an accident due to negligence while driving.

No warning or advisement
All products are associated with a minimal risk. It is normally cited on the label, instructions, or bold safety warnings. If a company failed to include verbiage describing the incident that you experienced in any way, then they neglected to properly label the product. When you file a claim, your lawyer will work with you, to obtain all of the details. You must prove that the injury resulted from the manufacturer’s warning failure.
Examples include:

  • Amazon hoverboards that set on fire without sufficient warning
  • Medications that do not include dangerous or life-threatening side effects on the warning label, especially if taken with another like Tylenol or Motrin
  • Use of UV light for gel manicures, without warning of the associated health risks
  • Appliances such as faucet, or lighting fixture failing to include warning signs or possible side effects of too much lead exposure

State Laws Only

Keep in mind there are no federal laws that govern this issue. Any claim will fall under state and local laws. Most often, a defective goods lawyer in Newport Beach will bring a claim under California state laws. Once, a person had to have actually purchased an item in the marketplace personally for them to collect damages. Under the current law, a person can file for damages just as long as that particular product was sold to someone originally at some point in time. There are certain ranking levels of management who can be held liable for the injury. This includes the original manufacturer of the product. It also includes any make of parts of the completed item, anyone involved in the assembly of it, anyone who wholesales the product and the final vendor. All those seeking recompense should also keep in mind this sale needs to be part of their routine business. If your neighbor sells you a defect product at her garage sale, you probably cannot sue her.

Who Will Be Held Responsible?

Any person(s) injured by a defective product can sue for compensation if it were sold to another person. Liability for a product that puts consumers at risk can vary, depending on distribution channels, if it is sold directly, associated retail stores, etc. As a victim, you can take legal action against:

  • Those that assemble or install the item
  • Wholesalers
  • Retail store, that sold the product to you

There are several different kinds of product defects that might be present. The product might be poorly designed. It can become faulty as it undergoes creation. Problems can also arise if a product is marketed incorrectly. For example, if the item lacks a proper safety warning. At the same time, the person buying it is also liable for their part in an injury under certain circumstances.

A defendant may be accused of engaging in negligent behavior. If they get injured by the product because they were using it incorrectly, this means the manufacturer, designer and distributor can no longer be held legally liable for any resulting defect. In some instances, a governing principle known as strict liability may apply. This means the person bringing the lawsuit does not need to prove that the manufacturer produced a defective product. All they need to do is demonstrate the product was faulty before they bought it.

Other Issues

Other issues may apply when it comes to product liability laws. Certain products, for example, have inherent dangers when used as directed. In that case, the product manufacturer is required to provide safety warnings indicating what dangers it poses. A lawyer can help any plaintiff sort out what kind of dangers exist and why. In general, the person suing must be able to show who made the product and illustrate how that product injured them. In some cases, for example, if they cannot state which particular maker made the pill that hurt them, they can hold each manufacturer in the area partially liable based on how many sales they made in that area. This is a very complicated legal area. Consultation with a skilled lawyer is imperative.

Challenges You May Encounter

As a litigation is pending you can encounter legal challenges that complicate your claim. In a judicial proceeding going against companies can be tough. Depending on the type of case you go after they will try to prove that they are providing the necessary warnings, labels, and instructions. Their lawyers may try to deflect and refute that the warning is a part of a vague description. Doing that would make their claim, as the defendant stronger. They will try to prove that you did not use the product(s) as instructed.

The biggest challenge that your attorney will need to work on, is proving causation. It can be a grey area when taking legal action against a large company opposed to a single person. You must have photographic or video-based evidence to use as a precautionary measure, to prove that the injuries you received resulted from the defendant’s negligence. There are two essential components: causation and foreseeability.

When it comes to proving causation, you should pinpoint the exact problem that correlates with your injury to prove there is a defect. In cases where there can be several other factors, you should have a specific demonstration that the product was a major factor contributing to the pain you endured. An example of a rebut is using the phrase, “but for”, or “however”, – followed by information regarding your case.

Proving foreseeability is slightly different. Foreseeability is a concept that is used to determine the primary cause of an injury after an accident. It is also known as a test to indicate if the manufacturer, in this case, could foresee the consequences that resulted because of their conduct.

Statute of Limitations

In California there is a statute of limitation for defective products. If the product resulted in injury or wrongful death legal action must be taken within two years.

If you are pursuing a claim against someone for stealing or injuring goods and personal property a claim should be filed within three years.

The statute of limitation begins once the injured person(s) is aware of an injury, and when the injury occurred. Depending on your circumstances, if you were unable to win your claim within the time frame, your lawyer may be able to request an extension. In specific cases, the continuous accrual rule will allow you to categorize injuries by limitation period. Doing so will allow you and your lawyer a brief extension period to get the compensation you deserve.