Understanding California’s Strict Product Liability Laws

Posted on March 12, 2019

Understanding product liability in California

As a customer purchasing a product, you place your trust in the manufacturer. You believe the product will satisfy your needs and not cause you harm.

California’s strict consumer protection laws seek to ensure that manufacturers, retailers, and designers are held accountable for any injury their products might cause to the public. However, these laws are bound by a statute of limitations that determines how long your claim remains valid in the eyes of the court. It’s helpful to think of a statute of limitations as a clock counting down how much time you have to pursue legal action.

What Is the Difference Between Product Liability and Negligence?

Negligence claims must prove that the injuries or damages were caused by careless acts or breached the required duties owed to others. Strict liability makes no judgment based on good-faith intentions or no-fault responsibility; it pertains only to the fact that an injury or damage occurred.

Fault can lie with the manufacturer, designer, retailer, wholesaler, or others. Product liability laws seek to protect consumers from dangers, defects, or malfunctions that cause physical pain and suffering.

In California, a product liability attorney seeks to prove that their client’s injury was a direct result of how the product was manufactured or designed, or the result of improper warnings.

How to Determine if You Have Been Injured by a Defective Product

If you believe you were injured by a defective product, here are three questions to consider:

1. Was the product designed with a flaw?

A design flaw isn’t the result of a single mistake, but refers to the design itself being dangerous. In the case of a design flaw, every single product would feature the same flaw. An example would be a child’s toy with small detachable parts that could be a choking hazard.

2. Was the product manufactured with an error?

A manufacturer defect is unplanned and happens during the manufacturing process. This is where the product manufactured fails to meet the design.

3. Did the product feature poor instructions or was it missing warning labels?

A company must also protect the consumer with adequate warning labels and proper instructions. The proper way to use a product may not be obvious to the user. An example would be failing to warn of dangers the manufacturer knows occur frequently with use (proper or improper).

How to Prove a Strict Product Liability Case

Although you are not required to show evidence of negligence with a strict product liability lawsuit, an attorney must prove that the defect was in the manufacturing, design, or warnings.

California’s Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Lawsuits

California requires all product liability lawsuits be filed within two years of the injury; however, this small window of time may change depending on the situation. While most injuries may be obvious, others may not be readily apparent.

Los Angeles Product Liability Attorneys

Unfortunately, faulty products still cause a large number of personal injuries. With a strict statute of limitations in place, it’s crucial to bring forward claims as soon as possible.

The product liability attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP hold manufacturers, retailers, and other parties accountable for their harm to innocent consumers. Contact us today at 310.474.1582 if you have been injured by a product.

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