Injuries from defective products can be devastating. From vape pens to dangerous drugs and medical devices, you deserve compensation for the losses you suffered as a result of the product — and you can claim these damages through a product liability lawsuit.
Most defective product lawsuits rely on the concept of strict liability to establish a plaintiff’s right to damages. Whether your injury is the result of a manufacturing defect, a dangerous design, or a lack of adequate safety instructions, you will need to establish a series of elements to prove your claim.
Element #1: You Suffered Damages
First, you must establish that you suffered damages during the accident involving the defective product. California laws allow you to claim both economic and non-economic damages in product liability lawsuits, such as medical expenses and property damage.
You cannot claim compensation in this type of lawsuit if you did not suffer actual physical injuries or financial losses as a result of the defective product. If the product almost injured you, but did not actually cause an injury, you will not have grounds for a claim.
Element #2: The Product Was Defective
Next, you will need to prove that the product had a defect. The process of proving this element will depend on the type of defect involved in your claim.
- Manufacturing defects: You may need to examine the product or bring it to an expert to search for issues.
- Design defects: The design must be unreasonably dangerous from concept to production. For example, if you use a knife and suffer injuries when you drop it, this is not unreasonably dangerous because this is a reasonable risk. If you use a tea kettle with a design that leads to pressure build-up and explosion, you may have a claim on your hands.
- Failure to warn: You will need to prove that the product’s dangerous qualities are not obvious to the average person, and the manufacturer failed to include adequate warnings to inform the consumer of the danger.
Your attorney will connect you with the resources necessary to identify the defect and validate your claim. For example, he or she may hire a manufacturing expert to analyze the product for damage.
Element #3: The Defect Caused Your Injuries
To successfully claim compensation, you must prove that the defect directly caused your injuries. You can prove this fact through a number of means, such as testimony from medical experts, your medical documentation, and witness statements.
Element #4: You Were Using the Product as Intended
Finally, you must prove that you were using the product as the manufacturer intended you to use it or could have reasonably expected its consumers to use it. For example, say you suffer electrocution injuries from a hair dryer. The court finds that you were using the device in a pool when the manufacturer clearly states that you should not use the product near water.
In this situation, you will likely not win your claim since you were not using the product as intended. However, if you were using the product in your bathroom away from water and suffered an electric shock, you may have a claim.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Defective Product Lawsuit?
While these elements may seem straightforward, investigating and proving a defective product lawsuit is difficult without an attorney on your side. When pursuing a product liability claim, you will likely need to face large corporate legal counsel equipped with resources you may not have access to.
When you hire a product liability attorney to represent your best interests, you will receive a number of benefits, including the following,
- Your lawyer will have access to manufacturing experts, medical professionals, and other expert witnesses who can provide testimony in your claim.
- You may not know the full value of your claim, and your attorney will have the ability to calculate an estimated settlement amount, so you do not accept insufficient offers.
- Negotiating with the at-fault party can be difficult without the right experience, and your lawyer will have the skills necessary to advocate for your best interests.
Hiring a defective product lawyer is an important investment in your future recovery. If you have not done so already, contact your Bakersfield defective product attorney as soon as possible to begin investigating your claim