Products Liability

CALIFORNIA LAW

Under California law, a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may be held liable for a dangerous or defective product that causes injury to a consumer.  This is what is commonly known as “products liability”, and if you have been injured by a consumer product in Orange County you should know your rights.

Among the legal theories available to injured consumers is the doctrine of strict liability.  Under California law, a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer is liable in tort if a defect in the manufacture or design of its product causes injury while the product is being used in a reasonably foreseeable way.  Strict liability may be found against a company when at least one of three defects is present:  manufacturing defects (where the product is not made as intended), design defects (where the design itself is the cause of injury), and warning defects (i.e., where there is an inadequate or complete failure to warn of a potential danger).  This theory of liability is often the easiest to prove in court and is the preferred claim in most cases.  The defect in the product itself establishes the case for the injured party with not much room for the defense to argue.  Even where the product is not used in a particularly safe way by the consumer a valid case may be established, so long as the use could be anticipated.

In fact, the law requires a manufacturer to foresee some degree of misuse and abuse of his product, and they must take reasonable precautions to minimize the harm that may result from that misuse and abuse by the consumer.  Manufacturers and sellers of defective products must prove that the consumer’s misuse or abuse of a product was “highly extraordinary” before they may be able to avoid responsibility for the injuries and damages a product causes.

NEGLIGENCE THEORY

Also available in California are negligence theories and those based on a breach of an express or implied warranty. Under a negligence theory, a manufacturer who fails to exercise reasonable care in the manufacture of a product which, unless carefully made, he should recognize as involving an unreasonable risk of causing physical harm to those who use it for a purpose for which the manufacturer should expect it to be used and to those whom he should expect to be endangered by its probable use, may be held liable.

In general, these types of claims arise commonly where the seller of a dangerous product has failed to warn the consumer of the potential for harm. For example, a large number of lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging that Skechers Shape-ups shoes are defective in as much as there was little or no warning regarding the potential for falls with these unstable, “rocker-bottom” shoes.

DEFECTIVE PRODUCT LAWYER

If you have been injured or a loved one killed by what you believe was a dangerous product, contacting an Orange County products liability attorney may be the best first step toward recovering compensation for the injuries and damages suffered.  Mr. Ralph has more than 22 years handling products cases, and he is available for a free consultation.