Product liability has to do with protecting consumers who have experienced harm from defective or generally dangerous products. These cases aren’t as straightforward as some other types of personal injury claims are because various entities could be held responsible. Even when two consumers were injured by the same product, their injuries and product usage could cause their cases to be extremely different. San Francisco product liability lawyers have seen many cases end with drastically different outcomes, but their deep understanding of the system helps people fight to recover their damages.
Design, Manufacturing, and Sales
When it comes to product liability, there are three possible ways that a company could become liable for a product-related injury. The first is that there was a product defect in the design itself. As much as companies do their best to design products that are safe and meet consumer standards safety regulations, mistakes happen.
One example of a defective by design case is the Ford-Firestone case. In 2002 two Californians died as a result of a Firestone tire blowing out on a freeway. They weren’t the only victims of these tire blowouts, and quickly the entire nation became aware of the dangers of the Firestone tires on the market. When Firestone got involved and investigated, it was revealed in a statement that the design was part of the problem.
The second method of product liability being connected with consumers is through the manufacturing process. This instance means that everything went fine during the design process, but during manufacturing, the particular products were compromised. The most recent example of a manufacturing defect within a product is Zantac. An April of 2020, the manufacturer of Zantac chose to recall its products after detecting that many liability cases they were facing were related to contamination during the manufacturing process.
The final way that companies can let down consumers is through the sales process when the sales process is part of a product liability case. It often has to do with misinformation or lack of advertising potential dangers.
As recently as 2002, A woman in Missouri Sued tobacco company, Philip Morris, and won because the company failed to warn their consumers of the dangers of tobacco. The Phillip Morris tobacco case is one of many that seemed unlikely to win. Other famous cases include the McDonald’s coffee burn case. The cases listed here with the tobacco company and McDonald’s are due to lack of warning. There was nothing dangerous with the product itself, and nothing occurred during manufacturing that would compromise the safety of the product either. However, during the sale process, the product wasn’t properly labeled with a warning for the consumer, and that made these companies liable.
San Francisco Product Liability Lawyers Explain Liability
With the relationship between any business and consumers, the business always has a duty of care. That happens on multiple levels within the consumer relationship, meaning that the manufacturer has the same duty of care to the end consumer as the retailer does.
Liability is really straightforward. At some point, a business or an individual through some type of agreement or contract breached a duty of care. The purpose of using the term liability is to show that one entity had this obligation, and they failed to provide this protection to the victim. When a claim for product liability comes against a company, its assets for the business can be at risk as the plaintiff seeks compensation.
The extent of liability where the business becomes at risk is why most companies carry liability insurance. Large manufacturers and various retailers will carry product liability insurance to cover claims and lawsuits related to damages from defective products. Like all other types of insurance, it is there to protect against the unexpected, that is to say, companies don’t take out liability insurance with the malicious intent of cutting corners or creating purposefully defective products.
What needs to happen at the beginning of your product liability case is that the victim needs to work with an attorney to file a lawsuit. Then through investigation and discovery, the company may determine that they are or are not liable, and that will direct how your claim moves forward.
California’s Strict Liability laws
California uses a system of strict liability when it comes to consumer relationships. In other sections of personal injury, intent can be taken into consideration, with product liability that is not possible. In San Francisco, it does not matter if the business did or did not intend to create a product that could cause harm. In fact, many companies aren’t aware of defects until the consumers experience a degree of harm, and they face lawsuits for product liability.
As mentioned earlier, it is possible for more than one party to be responsible for the injury that the victim experienced. However, if it appears that multiple parties are responsible, those would be treated separately for all non-economic damages. California’s codes on obligations explain that each defendant will have a separate judgment in these situations.
The extent of California’s liability laws have even gone so far as to put a restriction on how many times a mechanical manufacturer can attempt to repair the vehicle. This situation, otherwise known as a lemon law, isn’t just about the inconvenience to the consumer of being without their vehicle. Many car accidents and injuries happen because something goes wrong under the hood, and with a vehicle that continues to breakdown, it’s only a matter of time before someone is hurt.
Should You Involve San Francisco Product Liability Lawyers
Many people question involving an attorney because they hope that there is some easier way to resolve their problem. When it comes to product liability, you’re not likely to get very far with any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. Even when these are small businesses, they’re very concerned about protecting themselves as an entity, and when faced with a product liability concern, their first reaction is to involve their team of attorneys.
TorkLaw, your local San Francisco product liability lawyers offer support for handling these businesses and understanding how to proceed. We’ll help you assess your evidence and show exactly what injuries were sustained as a result of using a particular product. Then we’ll take your case through the settlement discussions with well-established negotiation tactics, and if necessary, we’ll go to court with your case.