How to Prove Liability for a Defective Product Injury in Los Angeles
When you believe a defective consumer product is responsible for the injury you recently suffered, you must prove the product directly caused your damages and identify the party responsible for the defect. Much like any other personal injury claim, proving liability for your damages is the first challenge you face in recovering compensation for your damages. It’s possible for a consumer product to be defective in three ways:
- Defective manufacturing. This type of defect results from a problem with the manufacturing process, and it may affect one or more units or production lots. Inferior raw materials, problems with the components of the products, or problems during product assembly typically cause this type of defect.
- Defective design. When the core design of a product is defective, every product made using that design will share the same defect. One of the most infamous examples of this was the Ford Pinto’s gas tank, which was situated in the rear of the vehicle and could explode if the vehicle was struck in a rear-end collision.
- Defective marketing/defective instructions for use. This type of defect results from inaccurate presentation of a product in marketing materials, incomplete instructions for use, or incomplete safety warnings. All consumer products must come with instructions to show the proper intended use of a product and required safety indications.
After determining the nature of the defect, your Los Angeles product liability attorney can then assist you in filing your claim against the party responsible for the defect. In a product liability case, the defendant may be the original manufacturer of the product or another entity within the product’s supply chain, such as a distributor or retailer. It is also possible for multiple defendants to share liability for the defective product.
Class Action Versus Individual Civil Action
It’s relatively common for multiple end users to have similar adverse experiences with defective consumer products. If a specific product causes similar damages to multiple victims, this can form the foundation of a class-action lawsuit. This is a collective legal action in which multiple plaintiffs file a joint civil claim together against a single defendant. If you were harmed by a defective product, it is possible that there could already be a class-action suit in progress filed by others who had similarly damaging experiences with the product.
Joining a class-action lawsuit carries benefits and disadvantages. The primary benefit is saving money on legal fees and streamlining recovery. When multiple plaintiffs share an attorney for a class-action suit, the case can proceed much more quickly than the time it would take for multiple individual claims to be resolved. However, a class-action case will end with a single case award that is divided equally among all plaintiffs, resulting in less individual compensation for each plaintiff.
Filing an individual product liability claim will be more challenging and will likely take much longer, but it will also likely result in a far greater case award than you would win from participating in a class-action lawsuit. Consult an experienced Los Angeles product liability attorney if you are unsure whether joining a class action or filing an individual claim would be more beneficial to your situation.
Recovering Compensation in a Product Liability Claim
If you decide to pursue an individual product liability claim against the party responsible for the defective product that harmed you, your Los Angeles product liability attorney can help identify each type of compensation you can include in your case. Under California’s product liability statutes, once you prove the product is defective, the defendant is strictly liable for:
- Property damage. If the product damaged your home, your vehicle, or any other personal property, the defendant must repay all associated damages.
- Medical expenses. A defective product is capable of inflicting severe physical injuries. If this applies to your case, the defendant is liable for any medical treatment you need to fully heal from the injuries you suffered. This includes immediate healthcare expenses like your hospital bills as well as the cost of all future medical care you will require to reach maximum medical improvement from your injuries.
- Lost income. When any personal injury in California leaves you unable to work for any period of time, the defendant is liable for the income you could not earn during this time. Similarly, if you suffered permanent harm that will prevent you from returning to work at all, the defendant could face liability for your lost earning capacity as well.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows the plaintiff in a product liability case to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress they suffered in the incident. There is no limit to how much a plaintiff can claim for their pain and suffering in most California personal injury cases. The amount claimed should reflect the scope and severity of the harm they suffered and any long-term or permanent damage the injury has caused. If a plaintiff has been permanently disabled by an injury from a defective product, their pain and suffering compensation could amount to several times more than the total of their economic losses.
Your Los Angeles product liability attorney can assist you in calculating the total damages your case entails. It is also possible for additional forms of recovery to influence your final case award. For example, if the defendant is found to have been egregiously or criminally negligent, a judge may add punitive damages to the case to punish the defendant accordingly. Punitive damages could be awarded if the defendant knew about the defect but continued to market the product as safe and effective when they knew it to be otherwise.
What to Expect From Your Los Angeles Product Liability Attorney
Choosing the right attorney to represent your case can have a profound effect on the outcome of the case; it will also be easier for you to approach your proceedings with peace of mind knowing a capable attorney is ready to provide the legal counsel and support you need for your case. When you choose Easton & Easton to represent you, we will immediately begin working closely with you to gather any evidence needed to prove fault for your damages and to prove the full extent of those damages.
Our goal in every civil claim we represent is to help our client recover as fully as possible as swiftly as possible. After securing the evidence you need to prove fault, we will then move to examine the full scope of the damages you suffered because of the defective product. We’ll aim to settle your case with the defendant if possible, but if settlement is not an option for any reason, we are fully prepared to represent you in court.
Ultimately, product liability claims are some of the most challenging civil cases anyone can face. Having experienced legal counsel on your side enables you to approach your case with peace of mind, and you will be properly prepared to address any unforeseen challenges that arise in your recovery efforts. Time is a crucial factor to consider in any product liability claim, so you should reach out to an attorney you can trust as soon as possible once you decide to pursue compensation for your damages.
Product Liability Attorneys FAQs
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Product Defect Liability in California?
A: If you intend to file any type of product liability suit in California, you must do so within the two-year statute of limitations. It can take time to fully develop your complaint and uncover all available avenues of compensation, so it is generally ideal to speak with a Los Angeles product liability attorney as soon as possible after your injury so they can immediately begin working on your case.
Q: Is Product Liability Strict in California?
A: Strict liability applies to consumer products in California found to be defective by design, defective due to manufacturing error, or defective due to failure to include appropriate warnings and/or instructions for use. Your Los Angeles product liability attorney can help gather the evidence needed to prove your claim meets the appropriate definitions for strict liability to apply. When a manufacturer is found strictly liable in a product liability suit, they are responsible for any damages caused by the product.
Q: What Happens if a Defective Product Causes a Fatal Injury in Los Angeles?
A: If a defective product causes the death of a family member, you will likely have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim under California’s product liability laws. Once you prove that the product was defective in some way and strict liability applies, the party responsible for the defect is liable for any damages cited in your wrongful death suit. Your attorney can help compile this complex civil case and seek maximum recovery on behalf of your family.
Q: Will I Win a Larger Settlement If I Hire a Los Angeles Product Liability Attorney?
A: Hiring reliable legal counsel to represent you in a product liability claim not only increases your chance of success in holding the defendant accountable but also increases the likelihood of securing maximum repayment of your damages. Once you calculate immediate and long-term damages like your medical treatment costs, lost income, and lost future earning potential, you could be surprised to learn that your case is worth much more than you initially expected. After factoring in pain and suffering compensation, it could significantly increase your case award, and the right Los Angeles product liability attorney is the ideal asset to have on your side for securing as much compensation as possible for your damages.
Q: What Are Attorneys’ Fees for a Los Angeles Product Liability Attorney?
A: The team at Easton & Easton can take your product liability claim on a contingency fee basis, only collecting a fee for our services if and when we secure compensation on your behalf. With a contingency fee agreement, the client only pays their attorney after they win their case, and they pay nothing if they lose. The contingency fee is a percentage of the client’s total case award, so the attorney’s fee hinges on their ability to maximize their client’s compensation. This billing policy allows you to approach your product liability case with peace of mind.
The right attorney can provide the comprehensive support and reassurance you need for any difficult civil claim in Los Angeles. Time is a critical factor in any product liability claim, and the more time your attorney has to work on your case, the more likely you are to maximize your recovery. If you are ready to explore your options for legal recourse with the help of an attorney you can trust, contact Easton & Easton today and schedule your consultation with a Los Angeles product liability attorney.