Orange County Product Liability Attorney
These are cases involving injuries from a defective product. It’s a special area of the law that requires a great deal of expertise. It’s important to hire an attorney with a lot of experience handling these types of cases.
When you have been harmed by a defective product, you have legal rights that could include financial compensation for your damages. We represent individuals in product liability lawsuits as you seek to recover from the company that was responsible for your injuries.
The products that you use in your everyday life could be defective. In addition, many of the medications that you are prescribed can also be dangerous. Product liability law touches practically everything that you use every day of your life. Whether you have been sickened by bad food or your child was injured by a toy, you are entitled to financial compensation, and you should speak with a trusted Orange County personal injury lawyer.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability cases involve injuries from a defective product that you purchased.
The three most common types of product defects are:
- a defective design of the product,
- a defective manufacture of the product, or
- defective marketing of the product.
In the case of a design defect, the product design is dangerous. Meaning, a person was injured while using the product in its intended way. An example of a design defect might be a baby toy with small parts. This creates a choking hazard for a baby. That product could have been safer if the design included larger parts. But it wasn’t. This is a design defect case.
With a design defect case, you must prove that the safer alternative wouldn’t have changed the product in a way that defeats the purpose of the product. You must prove that you were injured as a result of the defect.
The next type of product liability case is a manufacturing defect. This isn’t so much the design of the product, but how it was assembled or manufactured. It can be a single product that involves human error in manufacturing. Or it could be a whole batch of products because the whole manufacturing process caused the defect.
In a manufacturing defect case, you must prove that the product would have been safe if it was manufactured according to specifications. You also must prove that the manufacturing defect caused your injury.
For example, a piece of furniture that didn’t have the appropriate screws or bolts in it. This furniture wouldn’t hold the weight of somebody sitting in or laying on it. When somebody sits down in a chair with weak screws, the chair collapses. If the person was injured, it could be a manufacturing defect case.
The last of the product liability cases involving defective marketing. Meaning, in the marketing of the product, they fail to warn.
This type of case is common in pharmaceutical marketing. When a drug is on the market that is known to cause certain types of injuries. The manufacturer is aware of the probability of injury. Yet they don’t include any warning in their marketing. They would be liable for the failure to warn about the defect of the drug.
In such a case, you must prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known of the danger. The danger caused a substantial risk to the consumer. The consumer would not find that defect on their own. Then that defect caused actual injuries. You would also have to prove that there were no adequate warnings of those defects.
How You Can Recover for Product Liability
If you or a loved one have been injured, there are several different legal theories that you could use to recover financially. Plaintiffs will usually argue all of them in each case. Here is what plaintiffs typically argue in their case:
- Strict Liability - This is the most common legal theory. If you can show that the product was defective and you were injured by it, you would generally win your case unless one of a limited number of defenses apply. The product must have been sold in an unreasonably dangerous condition, or the plaintiff was not adequately warned of possible dangers. Strict liability would include a manufacturing defect, design defect, or failure to warn.
- Negligence - If you cannot prove strict liability, you could show that the defendant did not reasonable care in designing or manufacturing the product. This would use the same negligence analysis as you would find in any personal injury case.
- Breach of Warranty - Here, the plaintiff must show that the seller made an express or implied warranty, and the product failed to live up to the terms of the warranty.
Who Can Bring a Product Liability Case?
The person who was injured can bring a product liability case. If the product caused someone’s death, then the case would be a wrongful death case. You would bring that wrongful death case against the product manufacturer.
It’s important to remember that the number one thing in a product liability case is you must prove that you were actually harmed. This can be difficult.
Settlements and Jury Awards Can Be High in Product Liability Cases
Product liability cases are usually worth more than the average personal injury case. While they are difficult to win in court, if the jury rules in your favor, the damages can be high. We are all familiar with some of the jaw-dropping multimillion-dollar verdicts that juries issue. Of course, the value of your claim will depend on your circumstances, the severity of your injuries, and your specific damages.
Oftentimes, defendants will choose to settle these cases, either individually or in mass global settlements. They see these numbers too and know when the risk is too much for them to bear. While these settlement amounts are lower than jury awards, it often makes sense for plaintiffs to accept them to get compensation without the risks of a trial.
Damages in a Product Liability Case
When you see these numbers, you may be wondering how much your product liability case is worth. The answer is that it depends on several factors. Your settlement or jury award would include:
- Cost of medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages if someone died
- Lost wages
- Cost of rehabilitation and home care
- Possible punitive damages
Usually, the cases with the steepest damage awards include punitive damages against the product maker for very bad behavior. For example, in the Roundup settlement listed above, Monsanto was hit with massive punitive damages in several jury verdicts because corporate emails obtained as evidence showed that the company knew about the potential danger and kept on selling the product anyway, trying to influence public opinion to show that it was safe.
Defendants in a Product Liability Lawsuit
What makes these cases easier for plaintiffs is that they do not need to prove who was responsible for the defect. You can sue anyone within the “stream of commerce” that led to you buying the product. This could include:
While people most often sue the manufacturers, you do not have to worry about where the problem occurred, and which company bears which part of the blame. All you need to do is prove your case, and they will figure it out amongst themselves.
Proving Your Product Liability Case
Product liability cases can be very complex. There is a gap that you need to bridge from speculating that your injury came from a product and proving it. Not any attorney can handle one of these cases. You need one who can work with expert witnesses and scientists to make the argument that a product was defective.
Here is some evidence that you would use to prove your case:
- The actual product itself
- Expert testimony that could describe a design or manufacturing flaw
- Testing results on the product
- Medical records
- Evidence of how you used the product
In the end, product liability cases require a tenacious and skilled lawyer because companies do not willingly write a check with what could be billions of dollars on the line. These are “bet-the-company” lawsuits for many businesses, and they will stop at nothing to defend themselves.
Our lawyers will go to work for you as soon as you agree to hire us. We will investigate the facts and will advise you whether we believe that you have a legal case.
Recent Product Liability Settlements and Jury Awards
Here are some of the larger recent product liability settlements and jury verdicts:
- Transvaginal Mesh - $1.5 billion to settle over 100,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits claiming damage when the mesh frayed and migrated in the body
- Roundup - $10.9 billion to settle 95,000 cases that claimed that the weedkiller caused them to develop lymphoma
- Talc Powder - Over $4 billion awarded to 23 women in a Missouri lawsuit arguing that the product was tainted with asbestos and caused ovarian cancer.
- Airbags - A jury verdict over $1 billion to compensate car owners who were injured by defective airbags that deployed with too much force.
Experienced Orange County Product Liability Lawyers
Contact the Orange County product liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Brent W. Caldwell today to learn more about how you can file a product liability lawsuit. Call us today at (714) 625-8914 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. Not only do we get results. But we understand that legal service means being responsive to our clients.