Most of us operate under the assumption that the products we depend on and use on a daily basis are safe and free from dangerous defects. If that assumption turns out to be wrong, and you are injured because of a defective product, you may have the basis for a product liability lawsuit. Only an experienced San Diego products liability attorney can evaluate the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your injuries to determine if you do have a valid claim; however, a brief explanation of product liability law may help you decide if you have a potential claim.
Product liability law allows a victim who has been injured by a product to pursue compensation for those injuries. Anyone involved in the “chain of distribution” is a potential defendant in a product liability lawsuit. This may include the designer, manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer of the product. A product may be found defective in one of three ways:
- Design defects – a design defect is one that was introduced at the design stage of the product. As such, all products produced with that design will be defective. For example, if an infant care seat is designed with a strap that cannot withstand a high velocity impact that could be a design defect because all of the straps produced with that design will fail under the same conditions.
- Manufacturing defects – a manufacturing defect is one that is introduced during the manufacturing phase of a product. Therefore, only a small percentage of the products will be affected in most cases. In the car seat example, assume that the design called for a strap that can withstand even the highest velocity impact possible; however, the wrong material was used one day at the factory where the strap was manufactured, causing a batch of the straps to be weaker than intended. Only those car seats with straps manufactured at that facility on that day would be defective.
- Failure to warn –- some products cannot be made safe regardless of efforts by those involved in the chain of distribution. For those products an adequate warning is required. When that warning is missing and an injury occurs as a result, the victim may have the basis for a product liability lawsuit. Household cleaning products, for instance, cannot be made safe because of the caustic chemicals often used in the products. For this reason, these products have warning labels so that consumers are aware of the danger.
If you have recently been injured by what you believe to be a defective product consult with a California products liability attorney to determine what legal options you may have.