In the United States we have a seemingly endless number of federal and state laws that address the safety of products we use on a daily basis. Despite these laws, defective products do still make it into the marketplace and cause injuries to consumers. If you have been injured by a defective product, or have lost a loved one because of what you believe to be a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. Only an experienced San Diego product liability attorney can evaluate your specific situation and determine if you have the basis for a product liability lawsuit; however, a general overview of the types of defective product claims in San Diego may be beneficial in the meantime.
Product liability is the area of the law that addresses injuries caused by defective products in the United States. A product can be defective in one of three ways:
- Design defect – although these defects are sometimes referred to as “intentional” defects, they are certainly not intentionally included in a product. They are referred to as “intentional” because the defect is part of the original design of the product. In other words, the design itself is defective.
Therefore, all of the products produced with that design will be defective. Imagine a trampoline that is designed with netting that surrounds the trampoline. If the original design called for netting that could not withstand a 150 pound child falling into it yet the trampoline was rated for use by anyone up to 200 pounds that would be a design defect.
- Manufacturing defect – a manufacturing defect is one that is introduced into the product during the manufacturing phase. In this type of defect the design itself is safe but something occurs during the production of the product that introduces a defect into the product. Typically, only a small percentage of the products manufactured will have the defect if the cause of the defect is caught quickly. In the trampoline example, assume that the design calls for netting that can easily withstand a 200 pound individual; however, on a certain day at a specific plant a batch of trampolines are produced with the wrong netting. Instead of the strong netting called for in the design, a weak netting is used by mistake, causing the trampolines produced at that plant on that day to be defective.
- Failure to warn – some products cannot be made safe no matter what steps are taken by the designer or manufacturer. For these products, an appropriate warning label is required. The bug spray you use to spray around your home, for example, cannot be made completely safe because of the toxic chemicals used to make the spray. Therefore, the manufacturer is required to provide a warning label for consumers. If an adequate warning label is missing, it is considered a “failure to warn” defect.
If you believe that you have been injured by a defective product, or you have lost a loved one to a defective product, contact an experienced San Diego product liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.