Orange County Product Liability Attorney
You just received a new coffee maker as a gift. You followed the instructions and set it up, put your cup under the spout, and punched the “brew” button. As you reached for the full cup, a splash of boiling water dripped out of the machine like an afterthought, giving you a nasty burn on your knuckles. The burn was so severe that you couldn’t put on gloves, so you had to miss a few days of work at the construction site. A product liability attorney can help.
What is Product Liability?
When a product causes you injury, the manufacturer may be responsible for paying for your injury-related expense. You do not have to be the specific person who bought the product, but it must have been purchased new from a retailer rather than a second-hand dealer or garage sale reseller.
Product liability laws vary from state to state. The primary requirements to make a product liability claim, though, are universal: a product has a defect; you were injured; the defect caused you injury. In Orange County, Calif., you do not have to establish that the manufacturer was negligent. If the product you used had a defect that led to your injury, you have a case.
For example, in the case of the coffee maker above, a defect in the product allowed boiling water to drip out after the cup was filled. You are severely burned. The boiling water dripping caused that burn. The manufacturer is responsible for paying for your resulting lost wages and medical care.
In other cases, the liable party could be someone else involved in supplying materials, marketing, or testing the product. More than one entity may share liability. Due to the potential complexity of product liability matters, your best chance of recovering your losses is to hire a product liability lawyer.
Defective items, such as an infant rattle with small, detachable parts a baby could choke on, are clearly subject to liability claims. Products without obvious defects that nevertheless pose underlying dangers can also be at the root of a valid claim. For instance, your new car may have received excellent reviews, but an unforeseen brake failure could put your life at risk.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national standards for product health and safety, but each state defines its own parameters for litigation, including:
- Statute of limitations
- Compensation maximums
- Punitive limits
- Vendor liability
- Joint and several liabilities
- Percentage of fault
Your product liability attorney will be able to tell you what parameters apply in Orange County.
What Types of Product Liability Are There?
Product liability falls into one of three categories. An item might pose a safety risk due to defective manufacture, defective design, or failure to provide a clear warning.
Defectively manufactured products are those that were damaged on the assembly line, missing critical parts or safety features. A product with a manufacturer’s defect is typically a single item or one of a small number of items in a batch that are flawed. For example, a lawn chair that is missing some screws could collapse, causing you injury.
A defective design can also create a danger to consumers. In this case, all of the products made with the same design would be defective. A heating pad, for example, may be designed without an automatic shut-off. As a result, it could overheat and cause a house fire.
Failure to include an adequate warning of possible danger on a product label or packaging can also engender product liability actions. If you bought a candy bar for someone with peanut allergies, the maker’s failure to advise that it was made in a factory that also produced peanut butter could be a fatal mistake. The lack of a warning renders the manufacturer liable for injuries that result.
How Do Manufacturers Defend Themselves?
When you strategize your case with a product liability lawyer, it may help to consider how the manufacturer might respond to a liability claim. Some of the most common corporate defenses include:
- The design, manufacture, and labeling of the product are beyond reproach.
- Your injury resulted from using the product in a way that the manufacturer did not intend.
- You did not follow the included instructions.
- You knew about the product’s defect but used it anyway.
- You ignored the warning label.
A manufacturer may claim that the product you used, such as a medication, has dangers that any reasonable user would be aware of. An experienced product liability attorney is prepared to refute any of the above arguments and to prove that your claim is valid.
Rizio Lipinsky of Orange County Can Help
The Southern California law firm of Rizio Lipinsky has a proven track record in winning clients the compensation they are entitled to. Call us today at 888-292-8888 for legal assistance with your product liability personal injury case, or complete our online contact form for a prompt reply. Our legal team will go above and beyond to provide the professional help you need.