Defective Products Liability Cases in California . . .
By Lou Cutrone
Many California personal injury lawyers are asked, “What is a defective products liability lawsuit and how are these claims handled under California law.” To begin with, personal injury is a broad field of law. It primarily addresses a particular type of injury rather than any unique type of case. Let me explain that. In order for a case or claim to be of the “personal injury type,” it must involve an injury to one’s person (as opposed to a breach of contract or landlord tenant type of dispute.) An injury to one’s person can include a physical injury to one’s body, or to one’s mind. It can include emotional damages and even an injury to one’s reputation, such as defamation by libel or slander. The key thing to remember is that a personal injury claim involves just that, a personal injury. It stands to reason then that a personal injury can be sustained in any number of ways including those caused by a negligent driver, an assault and battery, a slip and fall and a defective product.
Unique Characteristics of Product Liability Lawsuits and Claims in Los Angeles . . .
California lawsuits over personal injuries caused by defective products have a number of unique characteristics. Some of them (but not all) are covered here. For example, liability to manufactures for injuries caused by defective products is strict. Strict liability means that the injured person does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent or in some way made a mistake. It is enough to prove that the product was either defective in its design or in its manufacturing and either or both of those defects were the cause of the injury. It does not much matter how the defect happened, just that it was in fact a defect and was present in the product when it left the manufacture’s custody and control.
This is a good place mention that a product can be defective in both how it is designed as well as in how it was made or manufactured. If either defect is present and either defect caused harm, the injured person can usually recover damages. Product liability cases can be expensive because it usually takes a scientific or manufacturing expert to test the product and evaluate whether the design was defective or the product itself contained some manufacturing flaw that made it dangerous. These types of expert consultants and witnesses are very expensive and thus not every law firm has the financial resources (let alone the experience and talent) to put on a defective product liability case in court. The outcome of product liability cases often comes down to a “battle of the experts” in court. That’s why it’s a good idea to retain a lawyer and law firm experienced in these kinds of cases as these attorneys know who the best experts are and usually have ongoing relationships with them.
In addition to a manufacturing defect, there is yet another type of “design” defect known as defective labeling or a defective warning. If it can be proven that a product failed to contain the correct or appropriate warning label, such may also be construed as a “defect” that if injury resulted, can give rise to product liability lawsuit.
There are many other unique characteristics of defective product liability cases and it is vitally important to choose an attorney or law firm that knows this landscape well. At Cutrone & Associates, our attorneys are quite skilled and experienced in this area of law and we welcome an opportunity to evaluate your unique case.
Examples of Defective Product Cases. . .
A defective product lawsuit may involve dangerously defective kitchen appliances such blenders, juicers, toasters, microwave ovens, stoves, gas ovens, electric can openers and just about any other appliance typically found in a California kitchen. Our firm recently represented a 5 year old boy who was struck on the head when a refrigerator door’s hinges failed and the door fell. This year we represented a motorcycle rider who was seriously injured when a boot he was wearing during an accident got caught causing massive injuries to his foot. In that case, we alleged that the boot was defectively designed and was therefore unsuitable for its intended purpose. In both these cases our clients received an excellent financial recovery for their injuries.
Defectively designed or manufactured power tools can also cause injury and thus give rise to a products liability claim or lawsuit. Our firm has prosecuted cases over defective lawnmowers, defective blower units, defective saws and defective power drills that caused injuries. We consistently locate the very best experts to present and explain the particular defects in a language that both an insurance company, and if need be, a jury can understand and embrace.
Automotive and automobile product liability is another area where major injuries can occur. For example, our firm prosecuted a case against a major automobile manufacturer over defective wheel bearings that caused a serious accident, leaving a passenger paralyzed from the waist down. Seat belt failures are another source of automobile product liability lawsuits. Defective tires are yet another area where major injuries can be the result.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, please give the attorneys at Cutrone & Associates an opportunity to provide a free, no obligation consultation. We will evaluate your potential case and explain your options. Our lawyers are standing by and ready to help.