Consumers should be able to trust that the products they purchase are safe when used as designed. Unfortunately, consumers are often injured by common products and devices they use every day. This could involve machines or tools you use at work or everyday products such as the cars we drive, the chairs we sit on, ladders or other household products, toys, equipment, or foods or drugs we ingest. All of these products and many more have been designed or manufactured with defects that pose considerable dangers. Sometimes the failure of these products causes significant injuries or death.

At the law firm of Charles C. Weller A.P.C., Attorney At Law, San Diego product liability lawyer Charles C. Weller focuses on obtaining full and fair compensation for individuals who have suffered greatly from these dangerous products.

Grounds for a Product Liability Lawsuit

Product liability is a subset of personal injury law that requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to pay for injuries to consumers caused by defects and hazards in the products they sell. The purpose of product liability law is to ensure that the costs of injuries resulting from defective products are borne by the parties that place such defective products in the stream of commerce.

There are three basic legal grounds on which a product liability lawsuit may be brought: negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability.

  • negligence case looks to the reasonableness of the defendant’s conduct. A seller, be it the manufacturer or the store you bought the product from, must exercise reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, inspecting and testing its products. It must also exercise reasonable care to warn of dangerous conditions. If a consumer is injured by the failure of a manufacturer or seller to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling its duties, it may be held liable under a negligence theory.
  • A product liability suit may also be based on a breach of warranty. This is based upon contract law. In sales contracts, there are express and implied warranties that the product perform safely for the purpose for which it was sold. When a seller violates these warranties, an injured party may recover damages resulting from that violation. Disclaimers and fine print on labels may or may not affect your ability to bring suit for a violation of a product warranty.
  • Under California’s strict product liability law, it is not usually necessary to show that the manufacturer or seller was negligent or breached a warranty to recover damages for injuries caused by a defective product. Strict liability does not require proof of fault on behalf of the designer, manufacturer or seller. In a strict liability claim, the injured party need only show that: 1) the product was defective, 2) the defect existed prior to the manufacturer releasing the product, and 3) the defect caused the injuries and damages of the consumer bringing suit.

Types of Defects for Which a Consumer May Recover Damages

The injured party may prove that a product is defective from any of three types of defects: negligent design/design defects, manufacturing defects and defects in product warnings.

  • A product has a defect in its design if a foreseeable risk of harm could have been prevented by using a safer alternative design and the failure to use this alternative design caused the product to be unsafe.
  • A product has a manufacturing defect when one of a company’s products comes off the assembly line with a defect that causes a consumer’s injury.
  • The last and most common type of defect is when the company fails to warn of a product danger. These cases typically involve a product that may be safe if used in one manner, but hazardous if used in another foreseeable manner. In these situations, the product should include clear, visible and easy to understand instructions, labels and warnings explaining the danger and its consequences. If the product lacks reasonable instructions, labels and warnings, the product is defective.

Contact an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer Today

If you or someone close to you has been injured by a defective product, you should keep the product and any packaging, instructions and labels. For a free initial consultation with Charles C. Weller A.P.C., Attorney At Law, contact our San Diego law firm.