San Francisco Product Liability Attorney
Trust is the backbone of the economy, and 70 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — about $10 trillion annually — is generated through product sales. In other words, for the country to run smoothly, consumers must have confidence that their purchases, cars, homes, and medicines are safe, effective, and properly labeled.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way. Defective products and insufficient labeling harm thousands of people yearly. When design, manufacturing, assembly, and marketing missteps lead to injury, victims have every right to hire a product liability attorney to sue the responsible parties. These types of lawsuits are called “product liability claims,” and they’re an integral spoke of the corporate accountability wheel. To state it bluntly, they help keep companies honest.
What is Product Liability?
State statutes, not federal ones, govern product-defect legalities. California code outlines three types of product liability claims.
Imagine you bought a standing fan enclosed in a protective case that’s meant to prevent blade injuries among children. One day, you discover your toddler furiously crying in the living room with a badly hurt hand. After inspection, you realize that the fan guard design allowed your baby to slip his hand through the protective casing.
Accidents of this nature fall into the design defect category. Winning a product liability case of this nature requires plaintiffs proving that the design was inherently flawed when used in a reasonable manner. Plus, they must demonstrate that the risk of danger outweighed the potential benefits.
Manufacturing defects are the root of most product liability claims. In these types of cases, the design is sound, but a mistake during the manufacturing or assembly process renders them “unreasonably dangerous.”
For example, let’s say you bought a teddy bear for your nephew. On the day you give it to him, he swallows the stuffed animal’s eye and has to be rushed to the hospital. You eventually discover that the eyepiece was not securely fastened to the toy, which caused the accident.
Not all products can be foolproof without losing their benefit. By way of illustration, knives must be sharp to work. In these instances, companies must include clear and conspicuous warnings. When they fail to do so, and the lack of labeling leads to injury, the victim may have grounds for a marketing product liability claim.
So let’s pretend you buy a new over-the-counter drug for allergies. One morning, you take the medicine with a glass of orange juice. By noon, you’ve broken out in debilitating hives that require medical attention. In the end, it’s revealed that the manufacturer knew that consuming acidic juices with the pill had the potential to cause adverse reactions, but they failed to include a warning. In this instance, the consumer may be able to sue the drug company using marketing product liability statutes.
Who Can Sue For Product Liability?
Anybody who is injured by a product defect may have a successful product liability claim. You don’t need to be the person who bought the defective item; you just need to demonstrate that it caused you or a family member harm. Keep in mind, however, that a product defect doesn’t automatically trigger liability on the part of the designer, manufacturer, seller, or any other entity in the supply chain.
People harmed by consumer goods can sue individually. Additionally, when a product’s defect is widespread, affected parties can join class-action lawsuits.
Who Can Be Sued For Product Liability?
Product faults may fall on the shoulders of one or more parties in the development and distribution chain, including designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, importers, suppliers, and sellers.
What Must Plaintiffs Prove to Win Product Liability Cases?
To win product liability claims, plaintiffs must prove that:
- They sustained injuries;
- The product at issue was defective;
- The defect contributed to the injury; and
- They used the item as intended or in a reasonable and foreseeable manner.
Note that injuries don’t necessarily need to be physical. Thousands of people, with the help of a product liability lawyer, have won lawsuits because defects led to monetary loss and psychological hardship.
Common Product Liability Defenses
To maintain their reputations and avoid public backlash, companies mount vigorous defenses in product liability cases. Typically, they use one of the following arguments.
Fault: Defendants will often claim that they’re not the responsible party.
User Error: Since plaintiffs must prove that they used the item correctly, defendants may argue that the injured party made alterations to the product or used it foolishly.
Not Defective: Defendants frequently argue that the product at issue was not defective.
To overcome these defenses, plaintiffs need to present evidence, which often requires enlisting the help of a skilled product liability attorney with access to expert witnesses.
Consult With a San Francisco Product Liability Lawyer
Have you or a family member been injured by a product, medicine, or even something more substantial, like a house? If yes, you may have a viable product liability claim, and our experienced team of attorneys in San Francisco will fight assiduously on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.
Call Rizio Lipinsky today. Let’s begin the risk-free conversation. We have the answers and knowledge you need to win your product liability case.