Product Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury because of a consumer product, you should contact a product liability attorney right away. When you purchase a product, you expect it to be safe. However, when that item causes serious injuries or even a death, the results can be devastating. You may be facing significant medical treatment and an inability to work for some time. Contact someone who can walk you through the claims process and help you navigate the legal issues involved. Call Russell & Lazarus APC to discuss your case.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability describes a type of civil lawsuit where a product was dangerous or defective and the court holds someone legally liable for any damages that occur as a result. In order to win a product liability case, you and your product liability attorney must show the following:
- You suffered losses or injuries because of a product;
- The product is dangerous or defective;
- The product caused your injuries or losses; and
- You were using the product as advertised or intended.
What Elements Must You Prove in a Product Liability Case?
The first element requires you to prove that you were either physically or mentally injured or suffered a financial loss. This can include injury to your body or property damage. You will likely have to prove both your injuries and losses through medical records or actual bills. These will form the basis for compensation that you can request from the party responsible.
The second element involves proving that a product is dangerous or defective. This requires a showing of one of the theories of product liability, which we discuss in more detail below. You must conduct an investigation and then consult with expert witnesses to show that the product you used was not safe.
The third element requires you to show that the dangerous or defective product caused your injuries. This is a direct causal element that places liability for your damages on the person who created the dangerous or defective product. If a product was defective, but did not cause your injuries, you cannot hold the manufacturer responsible for your losses. You must show a causal connection.
A fourth element involves showing that you were using the product as advertised or intended. If you were using the product in a way that the manufacturer or designer did not intend, then they may not be responsible for your injuries. The court will consider how an ordinary person would have thought a product was intended to be used based on manufacturer, design, and advertiser instructions of the product.
A product liability attorney can evaluate these elements and subsequently determine if your case meets the necessary requirements to file a product liability claim. It’s best to discuss your situation with a lawyer who has experience in product liability cases.
Three Theories of Product Liability
If you suffered injury due to a defective product, the court holds manufacturer and distributor strictly liable for your damages. California Supreme Court became the first to apply strict liability to defective products in the 1963 case Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, 59 Cal. Ed 57 (1963). Your Newport Beach accident attorney can tell you that there are three theories that may cause a product to be defective:
- Manufacturing defect – the product was not manufactured according to the specifications or design.
- Design defect – the blueprint or design of the product makes the product inherently dangerous.
- Warning label defect – the product lacked adequate warnings of the product’s dangers or hazards.
Common Types of Product Liability Claims
You may suffer injuries or losses from any product or consumer item; however, some are more commonly associated with injuries than others. Common defective products include the following:
- Medical devices
- Prescription drugs
- Automotive parts
- Cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles
- Household products
- Other children’s products
If any of these types of product or others caused your injuries, you should contact a product liability attorney as soon as possible. We will review your case, as well as help you understand your legal options.
Statute of Limitations on a Product Liability Case
Every civil case has a time limit within which it must be filed. This statute of limitations must be followed, or your claim may be dismissed by a court. When you realize that you have been injured by a product, you should immediately consult with a product liability attorney who can evaluate your case. Both the investigation process and filing of court documents can take time. It’s best to initiate a claim right away so you don’t miss an important deadline.
In California, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date that you suffered injury due to a product or from when you should have discovered an injury. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years, you may still demand compensation from a company, but you have no legal recourse. Thus, the company may deny your claim and not pay for your losses.
Compensation in Product Liability Cases
Like any other personal injury case, you may be able to recover damages that you incurred as a result of the dangerous or defective product. Those damages may be compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are meant to make you whole or compensate you for any losses you incur. Punitive damages are supposed to punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are not available in every case. Speak with your product liability attorney to find out what kind of damages are available to you.
There are two types of compensatory damages:
- Economic – These can be easily quantified by a monetary amount. They are often qualified by medical bills, lost wages, and other proof of actual monetary loss.
- Non-economic – These are more difficult to establish a monetary amount. They include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other mental and emotional losses.
All of these losses can contribute to your compensation after a product liability claim. Contact your product liability attorney to find out more about your potential recovery.
Call a Product Liability Attorney for Help Today
If you or a loved one suffered injury because of a dangerous or defective product, you deserve compensation for any injuries or other losses that you’ve incurred. It can be difficult to navigate the complex legal system alone. Your complaint and other legal documents must state valid theories on which your claims are based. Instead of dealing with this alone, contact an experienced product liability attorney at Russell & Lazarus APC today.