Injured by a Product? Here’s What You Need to Know
People who live in California get to enjoy many protections under the law that residents of other states might not have. The California laws on who you can sue for injuries from a product focus on safeguarding the individual rather than insulating a corporation from liability when it makes dangerous products. If you were injured by a defective product, you may have a claim under San Francisco product liability law. These cases can be confusing and time consuming, you may also find it helpful to consult with a San Francisco product liability attorney.
California’s Strict Products Liability
California applies the doctrine of strict liability to product injury cases. Strict liability means that you do not have to prove the person or company you are suing (the defendant) was negligent or intentionally committed a wrongful act. All you must prove is that the defendant is a responsible party with regard to the product that injured you. The rationale behind California’s strict liability laws is to put the burden of paying for injuries from defective products on manufacturers rather than injured people.
The Elements of Strict Liability
The legal elements for bringing a strict liability lawsuit in California are:
- A defective product caused the plaintiff’s injuries, AND
- The product was defective when it passed from the defendant to the consumer or another component of the stream of commerce, such as from the manufacturer to a wholesaler, AND
- The person who used the product did so in the manner for which it was designed, or in a way that was reasonably foreseeable.
Note: If the defective product did not cause any injuries to a person or to any property other than the defective product, strict liability will not apply.
Kinds of Defects That Fall Under Strict Liability
You only have to prove one of these types of defects to satisfy the requirement of a defective product:
- The designer created a defective plan or design for the product, OR
- Even if designed correctly, the manufacturer made the product incorrectly, OR
- Even if designed and manufactured correctly, the product failed to include warnings or instructions that were sufficient to put the user of the product on notice of potential safety hazards.
The Two Tests for a Design Defect
California uses the Consumer Expectation Test and the Risk/Benefit Test to evaluate whether a product is defective in design. Anyone who makes, distributes, or sells a defective product can be liable to a person injured by the product.
Consumer Expectation Test: A product should work safely to the expectations of the ordinary consumer, or be safe to use in a way that the maker could reasonably foresee that someone would misuse it.
Risk/Benefit Test: When the design of a product is a substantial factor in causing the injury to the plaintiff, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product must prove that the benefits of the product’s design were greater than the risks of the design.
California Law Applies to All States
The law is not limited to California products. As long as the harm happened in California, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product that harmed you can be located in another state, and California’s strict product liability law will apply. If you have been injured by a product in California, contact the experienced San Francisco product liability attorneys at Deldar Legal today to discuss your legal options.
Posted in: Defective Products