Defective Products and Strict Product Liability
By Michael Verna on August 28, 2019
When consumers purchase a product, they usually expect it to work as advertised. Even if they have doubts about the claims a product is making, they have a right to expect that the product will work safely. Unfortunately, many injuries occur every year as a result of defective products.
Product liability laws hold distributors, manufacturers, or sellers responsible for injuries or damages related to defective products. Strict product liability laws mean that our Walnut Creek, CA, clients at Bowles & Verna, LLP may be due financial compensation for damages stemming from injuries, even if the defendant took reasonable actions to ensure the product was safe for use.
Proving Strict Liability
In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff needs to prove not only that they were harmed, but that they were injured as a result of another person or party’s negligent or reckless actions. Strict liability cases are different, because the intent of the defendant is really not important. Even if a seller, distributor, or manufacturer of a product took all the right steps to ensure product safety, they can be held liable in a strict product liability case as long as three things are proven:
- The product was unreasonably unsafe or dangerous when it was manufactured, created, or sold
- The product was expected to reach consumers without any changes to its design (i.e. “as is”)
- The plaintiff was injured by the defective product
Types of Strict Liability
There are many different products that can be defective for any number of reasons. However, cases of strict liability at our Walnut Creek law firm fall under one of three categories:
- Warning defect: A manufacturer has to put ample warning labels on products to prevent risks or injuries associated with misuse. If a product does not have adequate warning labels or complete instructions for use, the manufacturer can be held liable for injuries.
- Design defect: A design defect means that there is something inherently wrong with the initial design of a product. A design defect would make a product unsafe even if it was used exactly as intended.
- Manufacturing defect: A manufacturing defect means that a product was designed safely, but an error in the manufacturing process led it to be unsafe. Manufacturing defects typically only affect a small batch of a product, rather than the entire line of the product.
Potential Compensation in Product Liability Cases
When one of our Walnut Creek clients is injured by a defective product, there are many potential avenues of compensation.
First and foremost, injury victims have a right to seek financial compensation for the cost of all medical expenses related to their injuries. Second, they can seek compensation for any pain and suffering that they have or will continue to endure. Finally, if the injury victim had to take time off of work or will be unable to return to work, he or she can seek compensation for lost wages, as well as the loss of wage-earning potential.
Our attorneys will closely examine the details of each case to be sure we are seeking the maximum compensation that our clients may be due.
If you have been injured by a defective product and would like to learn more about your legal options, we encourage you to contact the legal team at Bowles & Verna, LLP at your earliest convenience. You can schedule a personal consultation with one of our product liability attorneys by calling (925) 935-3300.