Long Beach Product Liability Attorney
Manufacturers and their agents are obligated to provide consumers with products that are safe when used in a reasonable manner. If you have suffered injuries due to a defective product, such as a burn or broken bone, make sure you protect yourself and your family by following these important steps.
- Keep the product and anything related to it, such as packaging, instructions, receipts, etc.
- Take photographs of the product and the accident scene.
- Verify that you were using the defective product in accordance with the manufacturer's written instructions.
- Gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to be contacted by your Long Beach product liability attorney at a later date.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
Liability may apply to those who made the product (manufacturer), those who stock and supply the product (distributor), or those who sell the product to the end-user (retailer). Potential liability exists in tort for a product if there is a deficiency within the design or manufacture that leads to injury, during usage in a sensibly predictable manner.
This legal concept could be described as automatic or natural liability, not dependent upon the proving negligence. Three types of defects may apply:
- Defective manufacturing
- Defective design
- Failure or insufficiency in warning
Liability in tort may apply after a product is in marketplace, with knowledge that the user will likely not inspect it, and a deficiency causes injury.
A defectively manufactured product may have been done in a condition considered to be substandard. Defective products may be those which vary from the manufacturer’s intentions, or that are inconsistent to the other identical units. To prove a product defective, evidence must indicate that a malfunction led to the injury. A product may be determined as defective if there is a failure to equal the quality of comparable products, and may create liability for injuries.
Anyone that is significant along the marketing or production supply chain may be subject to liability. The necessary elements in proving such liability include:
- The entity derived financial gain from the product.
- Their role was a significant aspect in delivering the product to its initial consumers.
- The entity had some degree of influence in producing or selling the product.
A doctrine protects the maker of specific components from liability, unless determined that the individual component had some defect that led to the injury.
- The product failed to perform as safely as reasonable user may have initially expected
- The injury occurred when the amid product usage in accordance with the intended or reasonably anticipated manner
- An injury did occur
- The product’s failure in safe performance was a leading factor in plaintiff’s injury
A product may be determined to have a defect when measured with the consumer expectation test despite that the benefits outweigh the risks. Likewise, the product may be deemed defective if it meets user expectation but is found to have likelihood for danger in that the risks of product design overshadow its benefits.
A means for a plaintiff to establish the defectiveness of a product by proving the design was what caused the injury and measures the balance by comparing the benefits versus the risks. The risk-benefit test is not designed as a means to defend against the consumer expectations test.
A Plaintiff must provide evidence indicating the injury resulted while the product was being used in either its intended or in a reasonably predictable way. Misuse is an affirmative means of defense if it is proven that after leaving the manufacturer’s control; the product was subjected to abuse or modified in manner that contributed to the injury. If the misuse or altered state of the product was only a partial cause of harm, it may be subject to comparative fault.
Manufacturers are also obligated to market their product responsibly. This means that, although a product may be safe if used for a specific purpose, it could be hazardous if used under different circumstances. In that case, the product must include clear, visible and concise warnings outlining the danger and its consequence.
A manufacturer may be subject to liability associated with failing to warn if generally accepted knowledge determined either scientifically or medically indicates the presence of risk. These risks were below the standard of acceptability for care, that a reasonable entity should have been aware of and taken action to warn about. A manufacturer is considered to have knowledge and expertise within the realm of their industry. This standard is a presumption that the party is actively aware of the latest developments within their market. In cases where the manufacturer has provided sufficient warnings or guidelines to effectively make users aware of potential dangers; they are shielded from liability relative to a failure to warn.
The most common claim against a manufacturer is usually referred to as a "strict product liability" claim. If you file a strict product liability claim against a manufacturer, you may not have to prove that the manufacturer was "negligent" (necessary in most other injury claims) but you may have to establish the following:
- The product was, in fact, defective.
- The defect existed prior to the manufacturer releasing the product.
- The defect caused your damages.
Call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV for a free consultation with a Long Beach personal injury lawyer at (888) 454-5569 today and get the representation you deserve.
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