California’s products liability law provides generally that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and others in the marketing chain of a product are “strictly liable in tort” for personal injuries caused by a defective product. The rules of products liability focus responsibility for defects, whether negligently or non-negligently caused, in the manufacturer of the completed product. As the California Supreme Court has explained, the basis for imposing strict products liability on a particular defendant is that he or she has marketed or distributed a product that is dangerous because of a defect.
Under the doctrine of “strict products liability,” it is not necessary to prove that the manufacturer of the product was careless (“negligence”) in making the product. All that the injured victim must show is that the product had a defect, the defect made the product dangerous when used for its intended purpose or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, and the victim’s injuries were directly caused by the defective product.
A product is defectively designed if it fails to perform as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in an intended or foreseeable manner (the “consumer expectations” test), or if the product’s design caused injury and the manufacturer of the product fails to prove that the benefits of the design outweighed the risk of danger inherent in such design (the “risk/benefit” test). When a product is defective in design that makes the product dangerous even when used according to the instructions, the product may be recalled or the manufacturer may supply additional parts that protect the user from harm.
As consumers, we expect the things we buy to work as promised. Whether it is a toaster or a vehicle, we hope that the hard earned money we plunked down for an item will culminate in our ability to use it. Sometimes this is not the case. Of course, we become justifiably upset when this occurs, yet, depending on the situation, it may or may not be feasible to file a product liability lawsuit in such instances.
Nothing is more frustrating than buying an item in good faith and it fails to work properly; however, simple frustration is not enough reason to pursue a product liability lawsuit. In most cases, injury or property damage has to occur for the case to be viable. One of the main reasons for this is that the costs of pursing this type of lawsuit is high.
For instance, if you bought a blender, plugged it in and it doesn’t do its job as anticipated, you can simply try to get a refund or exchange. If that doesn’t happen, you may be able to take the matter to small claims court, however, if the product only cost you a little under $50 dollars, it may be best to write it off as a loss.
On the other hand, if the blender had a short in it that caused your house to burn down, then you may wish to take the matter to court. In as situation like this, you not only lose valued, irreplaceable possessions, but the property damage could be extension, ranging into the tens to hundred of thousands of dollars. If a death occurred, the emotional and financial stakes can rise even higher.
Under these types of circumstances, it is well worth the time and money expenditure to pursue a product liability case.
Some situations, like roof crush or SUV rollover, can be traced by to a manufacturer’s defect; in fact, some solo car, truck and motorcycle accidents can be linked to defective auto parts. Other serious accidents can even be caused by faulty brakes, bad electrical wiring and engine failure. All of these scenarios can result in product liability litigation.
It is the auto manufactures duty to make sure that vehicle is roadworthy. This means ensuring a car or truck roof can withstand impact, or that a SUV can’t rollover simply because of a bad turn. While some automakers have tried to ensure that their vehicles meet industry standards, far too often, safety modifications are cut in the interest of saving money.
When this occurs, accidents can and will happen.
Consumer safety should come first, not the bottom line. When death or injury occurs because of this practice, accident victims owe it to themselves and to society at large to hold the company responsibility for their actions.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of a company’s unwarranted and irresponsible behavior, you do have a legal advocate who will fight for your rights. Call us today at (888)845-9696 and set up an appointment with one of our expert product liability attorneys. We can guide you through the legal aspects of such a case and will explain to you what your options are in regards to pursing litigation. Call today and get the financial compensation you require when a business fails to safeguard you and your family’s wellbeing.