The product liability laws in California are consumer-friendly. When a defective product causes harm, you might have a product liability claim against the party who designed, manufactured, or sold the item, even if you cannot prove that their negligence caused the injury.
Do You Have a Valid Product Liability Claim?
Defective product claims based on strict liability (no proof of negligence needed) can encompass:
- Design defects. A product with design defects is inherently dangerous. The product manufacturer could follow assembly specifications to the letter, but the product could still fail and harm someone.
- Manufacturing defects. Even if the design was flawless, the item could still be dangerous if someone made a mistake in the manufacturing process. Sometimes, the maker cuts corners by using substandard materials or not following the design specifications.
- Inadequate warnings or instructions. Some products, like weapons or tools, are inherently dangerous even when designed and manufactured correctly. Because people need these products, companies are allowed to make and sell them, but the items must contain appropriate and sufficient warnings, as well as safety instructions.
To win your product liability case, you must prove more than an injury from a dangerous product.
What You Must Prove in a Product Liability Case
Defective product cases in California must offer evidence that establishes the truth of these four factors:
- The product liability claim defendant designed, manufactured, sold, or distributed a defective product.
- The item was defective when it left the defendant’s possession. The defect must not have resulted from an end user’s modification to the product after purchasing it.
- The injured party used the item as instructed and intended. For example, using a riding lawnmower on public streets is not a reasonably intended or foreseeable use.
- The plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the faulty product. Physical injuries or other monetary losses satisfy this required element.
If you can prove all four factors of strict liability for a defective product, you can pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Recoverable Damages in California Defective Product Cases
Every product liability case is different, so the amounts and types of compensation you can pursue in your claim will depend on the unique facts of your situation. Some of the common categories of recoverable monetary damages in these cases include the following:
- Medical expenses to treat your injuries. These are the bills for the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, surgery, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and related expenses.
- Lost wages if you did not receive your full, regular income when you could not work because of your injuries.
- Future lost wages if long-term impairment from your wounds diminishes the amount of income you can earn.
- Long-term care if catastrophic injuries cause you to need daily assistance with medical treatment and personal care.
- Pain and suffering for the physical discomfort, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional distress of your wounds.
- Other intangible losses like disfigurement from extensive scars or amputation and lost enjoyment of life.
California does not have a cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering or other intangible losses, except in medical malpractice cases, per CIV § 3333.2. The cap generally does not apply to product liability claims.
If your close relative died because of an unsafe product, you might be able to seek additional compensation for the family by filing a wrongful death claim. Compensable damages may include funeral and burial costs, loss of household income, loss of consortium, and more.
The Filing Deadline in California for Product Liability Claims
You should not wait too long before hiring a personal injury attorney for your potential case because California has a filing deadline. The deadline, also called the statute of limitations, for filing product liability lawsuits in California is two years from the date of injury or when the plaintiff knew or should have known that a defective product caused their injury, according to PCCh § 335.1.
After the statute of limitation expires, California law can forever bar you from holding the at-fault party accountable for the harm you suffered because of the product defect. The product liability insurance company will stop negotiating with you, and you cannot take legal action.
Reasons to Work with Our California Product Liability Attorneys on Your Claim
You may be tempted to file your claim or lawsuit without a lawyer’s assistance. However, if you decide to do this, the law will expect you to know the procedural rules that apply to product liability cases. The court could dismiss your case because of a technicality. You can avoid this risk by hiring a product liability lawyer from KJT Grupo de Derecho.
You do not have to try to figure out all the laws and court rules if a defective product lawyer handles your case. Our law firm can be there with you during every step of the process. We fight relentlessly for people who get injured by defective products. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (818) 507-8525 or filling out our Formulario de contacto online.