Los Angeles Product Liability Lawyers
Aggressive representation for California clients injured by defective and dangerous products
We all use a variety of products every day. Whether it’s for health, food, transportation or personal care, many of these products can put us in significant danger if they are defective, such as a faulty airbag or a flawed children’s product. These potentially harmful products could cause fires, severe injury, illnesses and even death. With the help of experienced product liability lawyers, you could recover compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and future treatment.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our Los Angeles product liability attorneys have represented clients throughout the state in claims against manufacturers, retailers and distributors who put profits ahead of people. We have secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including:
Types of product liability claims
Defective products are classified under three categories, based on how the product is harmful to the consumer. They are:
- Design defects. Defectively designed products can be any type of product a consumer purchases or uses, such as poorly designed vehicles, flawed child products, inadequately designed safety equipment, etc. These claims involve products where the design itself is flawed, as is often the case with medical devices or shoddy lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes.
- Manufacturing defects. A manufacturing defect is an error that occurred when the product was being made, and can make the product dangerous for use, such as a faulty airbag or smoke detector. Manufacturing defects differ from design defects in that there is nothing wrong with the product’s design; rather, there is an error in manufacturing and that makes the product dangerous to consumers.
- Failure to warn. A product that is not properly labeled or that is missing important instructions about how to use the product may result in the manufacturer being held liable. Failure to warn the consumer about potential hazards or include recommendations for correct usage of a product can lead to serious or catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. This can include failure to warn against foreseeable misuse. These types of claims are why you often see tags stating “do not put in water” on electrical devices.
Generally, the company that manufactured the product can be held liable for an injury caused by a product it made. The company that created the product is in the best position to understand the uses of its product and any potential dangers that could result. Notably, in California, everyone in the chain of distribution is also liable. That includes, for example, the retailer of the product and the distributor. This becomes increasingly important when the product at issue is made overseas.
How do I know if I have purchased or used a defective product?
Not every product that breaks or fails with use is defective, and telling the difference can be difficult if you don’t have experience in this area of law. A good rule of thumb is if you were using the product as it was intended, and you sustained a loss or injury that was not related to normal wear and tear or improper use, then you could have a product liability claim.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers a list of recalled products, news releases and safety education materials to keep consumers well informed about various products that are found to be defective and cause safety hazards. It may not have every faulty or defective product on the site, but it is a good place to start your research.
Consumers should be aware of all the resources available to help them if they are seriously injured or lose someone to a wrongful death due to a defective product. However, such recalls do not replace California’s product liability and safety laws. Such laws are often more expansive than recall lists.
California’s product liability laws
California has many product liability laws that are designed to protect consumers. Our attorneys are well versed in all of them, but here is a brief overview of what you should know if you are considering a claim:
- Generally, you have two years to bring a claim against a company after your injury occurred.
- You must have a basis for liability, meaning the defect has to fall into one of the three categories listed above.
- In order to recover compensation under a product liability claim, you must show the company was liable for at least a portion of your damages.
Comparative negligence in product liability claims in California
California follows a comparative negligence system when it comes to product defect claims. In short, it means if you are found partially at fault for your injuries, the amount of your personal injury award could be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
For example: If you are using a gas grill that ignites and you sustain burn injuries; you are awarded $10,000 in economic damages and $100,000 in pain and suffering. However, the jury finds that your own actions were partially to blame for the ignition of the grill, and holds you 50% responsible. Your award will be reduced by 50%, meaning you will only receive $5,000 for your economic losses, and $50,000 for your pain and suffering.
This example demonstrates why it’s important that you work with an experienced Los Angeles defective product lawyer. You could lose out on the maximum amount of compensation possible if you try to pursue legal action alone.
Should I join a class action or file an individual lawsuit?
Like many answers in law, it depends. If you or your attorney is aware of other similar injuries caused by the product, then it might be worth exploring a class action. If your injuries are unique, then a class action is not the right path to choose. Our class action attorneys can help you decide whether a class action is right for your lawsuit.
There are state and federal guidelines that set the standards these companies must follow, and when manufacturers and large industries don’t comply with product safety regulations, they need to be held accountable. The Los Angeles product liability lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have years of experience handling these types of complex claims. We have the resources to go up against large manufacturers and companies when they fail to protect consumers from faulty, defective or inadequate products.
Los Angeles attorneys standing up to defective product manufacturers
A consumer should never suffer for purchasing and using a product that was advertised to improve quality of life and, instead, caused serious injuries or even death. If any of these situations apply to you, contact the experienced team of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP today. Your case success depends on many different factors, including the team of lawyers you choose. Contact us or call 310.474.1582 today to discuss your product liability claim and get on the path to recovery.