We all use products on a daily basis, but on occasion, a defective product can cause someone injury. As consumers, it is our reasonable and natural expectation that a product is safe and reliable when used as directed. Unfortunately, defective and dangerous products cause injuries to thousands of people each calendar year, and many of those injured do not realize they have legal rights against the manufacturers and distributors. If you’ve been the victim of such an injury, an Orange County defective product lawyer from Corrales Law Group can help you seek justice—and, in many cases, substantial compensation.
Product liability is a legal concept that refers to the responsibility that manufacturers, distributors, and vendors have to their customers regarding the safety and performance of the products they sell. When a product is defective to the point that it poses a danger, customers can become victims in an instant, suffering serious injuries, permanent disabilities, or debilitating illnesses.
In the worst-case scenarios, defective products have even been linked to wrongful deaths. In such cases, victims (or the loved ones they leave behind) may be entitled to compensation for their suffering.
Product liability can be a nuanced concept. Manufacturers and product vendors are often large corporations with well-funded internal legal departments, which can pose a major challenge to those seeking justice and compensation for injuries related to defective products. There are also hard legal limits placed on so-called “purely economic” losses. For example, you would likely not be able to sue for the projected profits on a defective product you had intended to resell.
On the other hand, California’s Strict Liability principle creates a product liability landscape that is favorable to injured consumers in certain key ways. The state’s imposition of “strict liability” on manufacturers and distributors means that these entities can be held responsible for injuries caused by their products whether or not they had previous knowledge of the defects that caused the injury or injuries.
Because strict liability places so much legal burden on manufacturers and distributors, it stands to reason that injured parties must prove certain elements in order to establish this liability. In California, three specific criteria are used to accomplish this. They are:
In addition to strict liability, you may want to familiarize yourself with the concept of pure comparative fault, as this principle is also applied to product liability cases in California. Rather than simply ruling that one party or the other was at fault for an injury, comparative fault means that officials can analyze the available evidence and testimony to assign a specific percentage of fault to two or more parties involved in an incident.
For a practical example of comparative fault, suppose you order a high-tech anti-theft device to protect your new automobile, which you purchased for $35,000. Due to an electrical malfunction, the device explodes in the middle of the night, totaling the vehicle. Even if the court finds that you were 90% at fault for installing the device incorrectly and in an incompatible vehicle, you may still be able to sue the manufacturer for $3,500 plus 10% of any damages to your garage, driveway, home, adjacent vehicles, etc.
Because of the pure comparative fault principle, establishing liability or lack of liability in the early stages of a case can be critical to maximizing the eventual compensation package in a defective product case. The product liability team at Corrales Law Group of Orange County can help demonstrate beyond any doubt that it was the manufacturer’s defective product, and not your usage of it, that led to your injuries, paving the way for a substantial settlement or judgment in your favor.
Sometimes, it’s obvious: an electronic device catches on fire when first plugged in, or a food product tests positive for contaminants after consumers fall ill. Other times, it can be more difficult to establish what exactly constitutes a defective product. Legal strategies can take several different approaches in this regard:
If you have been injured and need help establishing the defective nature of a product in a way that can hold up in court, Corrales Law Group can help. Please reach out to our Orange County offices at your earliest convenience so that we can begin evaluating your case.
A: Yes, especially when your routine use of the product in question leads to personal injury in Orange County, CA, property damage, or other legally compensable damages. To successfully sue the manufacturer or distributor of a dangerous product, you will need to demonstrate the product’s defective nature, prove that the defect caused your injury, and provide evidence that you were using the product in a normal way that aligns with its intended or advertised use.
A: When a defective product injures a consumer in California, there are several pieces of the state’s legal code that could potentially come into play, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, California’s Civil Code of Procedures section 335.1 establishes that injured parties have a two-year window to bring product liability claims against a product manufacturer. Note that different laws may apply to specific types of injuries and specific categories of products.
A: Claims related to defective product liability can take many different forms. A new model of cell phone that overheats and burns its users during regular use, an over-the-counter medical device that failed to disclose catastrophic side effects, and a guitar that ships with a large splinter in the neck, injuring and disrupting the career of a professional musician who purchased it, would be three very different examples of product liability cases in which a successful claim may be possible.
A: Because consumer products can take so many different forms, the legal framework for determining whether any given product is defective is not particularly rigid nor based on any easily quantifiable metrics. Any specific tests and criteria used to determine whether a defect exists will vary with the type of product being analyzed. The Orange County courts have a fairly broad authority to take many various factors and types of evidence into account.
If you have been injured because of a defective or dangerous product, we encourage you to contact our office to have your claim evaluated for free by a licensed attorney. Defective products are a danger to everyone, and we would be honored to help you hold the responsible parties accountable so that no other innocent consumers need to suffer what you’ve endured and so that you can secure fair compensation for your injuries.
Corrales Law Group aims to assist our clients with all legal matters. Feel free to contact us with any legal questions and we will do our best to help.
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