Fairfield or San Jose Area Product Liability Lawyer
Every three minutes, a child in the United States receives emergency room treatment for an injury caused by a defective toy. Adults and children alike suffer injury or death every day because of:
- Electrical shocks caused by defective consumer products
- Fires caused by defective products
- Drownings caused by defective drains in pools, whirlpools, and spas
- Strangulation or choking caused by defective baby products
- Lead, asbestos, and other toxins in children’s toys or furniture
- Dangerous recreational equipment, including ATVs
- Poorly designed sports equipment
- Toxic products that do not come in childproof containers
- Dangerous playground equipment
- Tools that lack safety guards
If you or your child were injured by a defective product, or if your close family member died because a product defect, a products liability lawyer at KKG Law can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our personal injury team represents accident victims in Oakland, San Jose, Fairfield, and all other Bay Area communities.
Product Liability Law in California
The area of law that governs lawsuits for injuries cause by defective products is called product liability. Some product liability cases are based on negligence. Just as the driver of a car must exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid harming other drivers or pedestrians, the manufacturer of a product must use reasonable care to manufacture a safe product.
California law also imposes strict liability upon manufacturers and sellers of most products. Strict liability holds a manufacturer or seller accountable for injuries even if negligence cannot be established. Strict liability usually applies when:
- The product was put to its intended use, or was used in a way that the manufacturer or seller should have foreseen.
- The product was in a defective condition when it left the possession of the manufacturer and/or seller.
- The defect in the product was the cause of the injury for which the lawsuit seeks compensation.
Product liability lawsuits are generally based on one of three potential failings:
- Defective design. A safer design would have eliminated or minimized the unsafe nature of the product.
- Defective manufacture. The use of different materials or a different process when manufacturing the product would have eliminated or minimized its unsafe nature.
- Failure to warn. If a danger that was or should have been known to the manufacturer could not be eliminated, and if the danger is not obvious, the manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers of the danger so that consumers can protect themselves.
A manufacturer might not be responsible, however, when an inherently dangerous product causes an injury because of the way it is used. For example, merchants will not usually be responsible for selling guns or alcohol, even though guns and alcohol can both be used in ways that lead to serious injuries. However, product liability law applies to dangerous products under some circumstances. For example, a manufacturer can be held liable when a gun explodes instead of firing ammunition, or when alcohol is contaminated by a poisonous additive.
Defective Products in California
Almost any product, if improperly designed or manufactured, can be unsafe. These are some of the most common product categories that lead to product liability lawsuits:
- Vehicles and vehicle parts. From exploding gas tanks to ignition switches that unexpectedly turn off a car’s engine, vehicles are among the most dangerous products when they are not designed with safety in mind. Defective airbags that explode when they inflate caused the recall of more than 37 million cars in the United States. Other components that fail because of defective design or manufacture include brakes, steering mechanisms, and tires.
- Children’s toys and nursery products. Plastic toys that break easily can injure children with their sharp edges. Toys that come apart can expose children to choking hazards. Toys that are painted or manufactured with toxic substances can poison infants who chew on them. Cribs that allow a child to strangle, child bedding that easily starts on fire, and bathing seats that contribute to drowning are among the poorly designed nursery products that harm babies and infants.
- Furniture and appliances. Children love to climb. Every two weeks, a child dies because a bookcase, a refrigerator, or some other furniture item or appliance tipped over while a child was climbing it. Furniture and appliances should come with anti-tipping anchors when they are in danger of falling on a child. Other appliances are dangerous because they start fires or expose consumers to shocks or electrocution.
- Generators, heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces. Products that generate carbon monoxide should be designed to vent poisonous gasses. Consumers die every year because carbon monoxide leaks into a home instead of being vented outside.
- Tools and machinery. Power tools, lawnmowers, ladders, scaffolding, and industrial equipment (including cranes that tip over in a high wind) can all cause injuries if they have not been designed to be safe.
- Household products. Cleaning products, cosmetics, pesticides, and other household products create risks for consumers when they are not accompanied by appropriate warnings. Lamps and electric blankets can start fires because of defective manufacturing techniques. A smoke detector that fails to operate exposes homeowners to burns or smoke inhalation when they are not alerted to a fire.
- Drugs and medical devices. Drug manufacturers have a long history of marketing drugs that turn out to be unsafe. Unnecessarily dangerous drugs that have been approved by the FDA are estimated to harm 2 million patients each year. For example, a recent lawsuit by Chuck Norris and his wife is based on evidence that contrast agents used to improve MRI images are causing gadolinium deposition disease. Medical devices, such as artificial knees and hernia mesh implants, cause serious injuries when they break apart or fail prematurely.
Many other kinds of products also cause injuries because of design or manufacturing defects. Whenever a defective product causes an injury, victims are entitled to pursue compensation. Injury victims may be entitled to recover their lost wages, the expense of corrective surgery and future health care, and compensation related to disabilities, pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
A products liability attorney at KKG Law can advise victims who were injured by defective products of the remedies to which they may be entitled. Our personal injury team represents defective product victims in Oakland, San Jose, Fairfield, and all other Bay Area communities.