Product Liability Law in California
Manufacturers, product sellers, and marketers have a legal obligation to look out for the health and safety of consumers. Companies should never put profits before people: dangerous products should not make it onto the market.
Under California state law, companies can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a defective product.
In this article, our Los Angeles defective product claims attorneys provide an overview of what plaintiffs should know regarding California product liability laws.
California Product Liability Law: Strict Liability
In California, companies can be held legally liable for injuries caused by defective products. As noted in the California Civil Jury Instructions, defective products are subject to a strict liability standard. In contrast to the vast majority of personal injury claims, an injured consumer does not need to prove negligence in a product liability case. Strict liability applies.
The Elements of a Product Liability Claim in California
To understand California’s strict liability standard, you need to answer the following question: What is a defective product? It is a complicated question. Obviously, there are many common consumer goods that are inherently dangerous.
In fact, if used incorrectly or unsafely, most consumer products have the potential to cause physical harm. Of course, this does not make those products defective. Under California’s product liability laws, you must prove the following four elements in order to hold a company liable for a “defective” product:
- The product was manufactured, designed, or distributed by the defendant;
- The product was unreasonably dangerous as a result of poor manufacturing, a flawed design, or inadequate warnings;
- You used the product in a foreseeable, reasonably manner; and
- You suffered real harm as a result of using the product.
Product liability claims in California typically come in one of three forms: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. Essentially, a defective product is one that is unreasonably dangerous within the context of its anticipated use.
With manufacturing defects, the plaintiff must establish that something went wrong in the actual manufacturing process, and the individual product deviated substantially from its intended design. With a design defect claim, plaintiffs must argue that the entire line of products is fundamentally flawed.
The manufacturing may have gone according to plans, but the design for the product was unreasonably dangerous and therefore the product is defective. Finally, with failure to warn claims, plaintiffs must establish that the defendant failed to properly explain the risks associated with the product or that they marketed the product in a dangerous manner.
California Law: How Long Do I Have to Bring a Product Liability Claim?
In California, product liability claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations (California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1). Generally, plaintiffs have two years from the date of their injury to file a defective product lawsuit. If no claim is filed before the deadline expires, then the case will simply be dismissed by the court.
If you were injured by a dangerous product, you should reach out to an experienced Los Angeles product liability attorney right away. Your lawyer will investigate your case and ensure that your claim is filed on time.
Victims of Dangerous Products Deserve Compensation
Under California’s product liability laws, injured victims may be able to recover damages for economic and noneconomic damages. Though, the large corporations and insurance carriers that typically defend product liability lawsuits are highly aggressive. Getting access to fair financial compensation is often hard.
At Starpoint Law, our Los Angeles product liability attorneys know how to help our clients maximize their recovery. If you or your family member was injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be eligible to recover damages for:
- Property losses;
- Emergency medical care;
- Other hospital and health care expenses;
- Physical rehabilitation;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Permanent disability; and
- Wrongful death.
Contact Our Los Angeles, CA Product Liability Attorney Today
At Starpoint Law, our California products liability lawyers work tirelessly to help our clients maximize their financial recovery. If you or your family member was hurt as the result of a dangerous or defective product, we are here to help.
To get a free, no strings attached review of your case, please contact our legal team today. With an office in Los Angeles, we handle product liability claims throughout Southern California.