If you have experienced an injury or property damage as a result of a product defect, call our Los Angeles Product Liability Lawyers at (323) 238-4683 to discuss a legal course of action. The Personal Injury Law Firm of Bisnar Chase has recovered over $700 Million for accident victims.
When you put your faith in a company and product, you are trusting they are looking out for the health, safety and best interest of you, your children, and your family. But that is not always the case.
The Definition of a Product Defect
A product defect is when a product has an imperfection, design flaw, manufacturing defect, or is faulty and poses a risk to owners. Defective products can create hazardous conditions and cause injuries.
A product defect is not always visible and may not become apparent until it has been through multiple uses. Sometimes a product will work as it should prior to its defective recognition, but if a product becomes faulty in an unexpected manner and causes injury, damage or loss, you may be entitled to compensation.
In regards to a personal injury, a product defect would fall under tort law.
Common Product Liability Claim Questions
Who is liable in my product defect case? There are many potentially liable parties in cases involving defective consumer products. In many cases, it is possible to include all parties involved in the product’s chain of production and distribution. This means that potentially liable parties include the manufacturer as well as the retailer, supplier, wholesaler and distributor. It is even possible to file a claim against designers, quality control engineers and consultants if their negligence contributed to your injury.
What are some common product defect cases? Cases that involve product defects include automobile makers, toy manufacturers, food organizations, or electronic manufacturers.
How can I receive compensation if I was injured by a defective product? Understanding how to be prepared in the case of a product defect-related injury is beneficial when it comes to winning a legal case. Our product liability lawyers in California do not shrink away from a fight, even when we are dealing with the largest automakers in the United States, a giant corporation, or an industry leader. Contact us for free legal advice on your dangerous or defective product claim now.
Types of Product Defects
Automotive: Over a one-year study period, 35,092 people were killed on United States highways. When manufacturers are made aware of a defective part in an automobile they should recall those vehicles. Once the defect has been determined, manufacturers are to notify all registered drivers of the vehicle model right away. Even if a recall was initiated and a driver was injured as a result of the defect they can still sue for compensation.
Vehicle defects have included:
- Airbag failure
- Seatbelt failure
- Rollover tendencies in high profile and top-heavy vehicles
- Tire defects
- Brake failure
- Mechanical Defects
Children’s Toys: Parents trust that when they buy a toy for their child it is fun and, more importantly, safe to use. Guardians and parents are strongly encouraged to read instructions and warnings regarding the toys. Toy companies need to have both in order to make sure children are safe and that they are legally protected.
Toy defects include:
- Small parts that break off causing a choking hazard
- Trapping dangers in collapsible products like playpens
- Hazardous chemicals within a product that may leak
- Sharp edges
- Unsafe car seats
Food Hazards: Food defects are a daily occurrence and many either suffer from serious injuries or die. According to Business Insider: “…food-borne diseases annually cause as many as 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths worldwide.” Medical experts say that if you feel you have been poisoned by food to refrain from eating, keep hydrated and rest. If you believe that your food poisoning incident is severe, seek medical attention right away.
Foods with defects have included:
- Harmful or non-edible fragments in food products
- Contamination and food poisoning
- Mislabeled products
Other types of products that can have defects
- Sports equipment
- Power tools
- Cleaning products
- Food and beverages
- Medical devices
Strict Liability Rules for Defective Products
Companies vigorously fight product liability claims to protect their bottom line and reputation. If they accept your claim without a fight, they are essentially admitting that their product is subpar. This can hurt their sales and stock value. Injuries and property damage can range from being mild to catastrophic, and should not even take place, but unfortunately they do.
The following companies have had notorious cases involving product defects:
- Asbestos Building Materials: Owens Corning, a manufacturer of building materials, was sued for having toxic minerals in products such as insulation for pipes, ceiling tiles and cold storage systems. The company, between the 1950s-1972 sold products that contained asbestos but began being sued by multiple parties in the 70s. In that time-frame, 5,000 shipyard workers filed a class action lawsuit for their injuries. Being exposed to asbestos can lead to a person developing various cancers.
- Tobacco Products: Philip Morris is a company that encompasses cigarette brands including Marlboro, Benson & Hedges, and Virginia Slims to name a few. The tobacco company was sued on the basis of the failure to warn of the risks that tobacco consumption can lead to lung cancer. One of the first claimants was a woman named Betty Bullock who received $850,000 in compensation for her injuries. The tobacco company had to compensate claimants in an amount measured in the billions.
- Silicone Breast Implants: The breast implant company Allergen Inc. was sued by several claimants who stated that they developed cancer from the implants. The company did not warn its consumers of the health risks and has been ordered to pay for the removal surgery as well. Health officials in Canada claimed that the rate of breast cancer cases has doubled due to the silicone implants.
- E-cigarettes: E-cigarettes claimed to be a healthier alternative to smoking than tobacco. Little did anyone know though, that it would be even more harmful than traditional cigarettes. Companies like Juul have come under fire for advertising to young teens with alluring flavors. The research found that vapes are reversing the efforts to detour young people from smoking. The Centers for Diseases Control reported that 57 deaths were associated with vaping or e-cigarettes.
- Baby Powder: Talcum powder, the mineral used primarily in baby powder, was used by many women to prevent their thighs from chaffing. The result led to many developing ovarian cancer. Talcum powder absorbs moisture and is also used in plastic and ceramics. The first known cases that involved talcum powder date back to the 1930s. Companies such as Johnson and Johnson have been forced to pay billions in dollars for wrongful deaths and injuries of many women.
Product Liability Facts and Statistics
Graph of product liability settlements:
Proving a Product Liability Case
Companies are responsible for the safety and effectiveness of the products they manufacture. If you have suffered an injury or other damages because of a defective product, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of that product to recover financial compensation for your injuries and damages. These types of liability suits are called product liability claims. These types of claims not only aim to help injured victims obtain fair compensation but also help hold the negligent product manufacturers accountable.
Proving that a product is defective is an important part of any product liability lawsuit. There are three ways in which a product can be defective:
- Defective manufacturing: This is when mistakes are made during the making or assembly of the product. In such cases, a limited number of the products may be defective because of errors made during the manufacturing process. Products that are typically involved in this type of defective product liability claim are children’s products and vehicles.
- Design defects: Some products are dangerous no matter how well they are manufactured. These types of cases do not involve a single faulty product, but an entire line of products that are inherently dangerous. For example, many SUV models are extremely dangerous because they are designed with a higher center of gravity and narrower tack width, which makes them more prone to rollover crashes.
- Defective marketing: This type of claim involves a failure to warn or instruct consumers. Promoting a product to do something it cannot is a form of defective marketing. Failing to inform consumers about the potential consequences of using the product is a form of negligence as well.
Successful California Defective Product Lawsuits
Before deciding whether or not to file a claim, it is helpful to know how much your claim may be worth. In order to do this, you must have a basic understanding of the current and future losses you have suffered as a result of your injuries. Have you missed work? Are there medical bills, hospitalizations fees, or the cost of rehabilitation services that need to be paid or covered? These are economic losses that can be included in your claim.
In cases involving catastrophic injuries, it is possible to pursue non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In some product liability cases, it is even possible to pursue compensation for punitive damages. This is when a company is penalized for their negligence or wrongdoing. The size of the punitive damages is related to the severity of the company’s wrongdoing. This form of punishment is reserved for cases where a product manufacturer has been particularly reckless.
There are a number of basic elements that must be proved for a product liability case to be successful:
- You have suffered an injury or other type of loss.
- The product involved in the case was defective in some way.
- The nature of the defect directly caused your injuries or damages.
- You were using the defective product as intended at the time of the accident.
Connect with a Los Angeles Product Liability Lawyer
An experienced Los Angeles Product Defect Lawyer understands the intricate details of these types of cases. Winning a product liability case requires a talented personal injury lawyer that has a specialty in this field of litigation.
For a free consultation on your claim, call now.