Nobody ever buys a product and brings it home expecting that they’ll be harmed by using it as they’re supposed to.
But every year, hundreds of products are recalled because of dangerous defects. And the sad reality is that very often, those product recalls don’t occur until several people have been hurt or killed as a result of the defect. And even if a product is recalled, it’s very common for people to not know that they own a defective product.
Types of defective products
The term “defective product” doesn’t simply mean that a product is broken. There are a few ways products can potentially found to be defective:
Defectively designed products
In some cases, the entire design of a product is flawed in a way that makes it unnecessarily dangerous. Even when these products are manufactured exactly as intended, it can still be easy for people to get hurt while using them. One example of a defectively designed product would be a dresser with a top-heavy design that could easily fall over onto a small child who holds onto it while trying to stand up.
Defectively manufactured products
Defectively manufactured products involve a specific problem with the way a product is manufactured. These types of cases can involve an error in the manufacturing process, a product being assembled incorrectly, or a faulty component of the product. One well-known example of this would be the 2014 General Motors ignition switch recalls. This could also include things like food or medication that was made with a contaminated ingredient.
Improperly labeled products
Even if there is nothing wrong with a product’s design or the way it’s manufactured, it can still be considered defective if it’s improperly labeled, doesn’t provide adequate safety warnings, or doesn’t include instructions on how to use a product safely. This could include things like:
- A medication that doesn’t notify people of potential drug interactions or side effects
- A strong chemical cleanser that doesn’t warn people to use it in a well-ventilated area
- A food product containing a common allergen doesn’t have a label that warns people about that fact
California defective product laws
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, California law has a two-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit for your damages. However, if a defective product resulted in property damage, there is a three-year of statute of limitations on making a claim for those damages.
When it comes to injuries caused by defective products, California has comparative fault laws that come into play. This means that the party liable for a defective product might try to argue that you were at least partially to blame for your injuries so that they won’t have to pay as much. For example, if you have $10,000 worth of medical bills because of your injuries, but the company successfully argues they are only half responsible, they would only pay $5,000.
Who can be liable in defective product cases?
Determining who is legally liable for a defective product claim isn’t always very straightforward. In these types of cases, liability can fall on any party involved in distributing the product, including the product’s manufacturer, the wholesaler/supplier of the product, or the store that sold the product.
Even if the manufacturer of a product is located in another country, they may still be liable for your injuries. It’s also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be the person who purchased the product to be able to make a defective product claim. If the defective product in question was purchased second hand, such as at a thrift shop, you may still have legal options.
Damages in a defective product claim
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, some types of damages you may be able to collect by making a claim include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Funeral expenses
Contact a California defective product attorney
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, don’t try to go it alone. These types of cases can be very complex and may involve going up against major corporations. You need someone on your side who understands the law and can fight on your behalf. At The Wallace Firm, our defective product attorneys are experienced in handling these types of cases. We’re not afraid to take on big companies or their insurance companies and we’ll be on your side every step of the way. Contact us today for help with your claim.