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Overview of Product Liability Cases

Product liability cases work a bit differently than normal personal injury claims in that the plaintiff (injured party) does not have only one option to prove negligence; but, he or she may show that the product harmed him or her in some way and that the product was, in fact, defective. Bearing that in mind, product liability cases are no less complex than a standard personal injury case, and may actually prove to be more difficult to win or receive a favorable outcome. Although a product liability case can quickly go from straight-forward to convoluted, let us examine the elements of a standard product liability claim.

Burden of Proof – In most personal injury cases in California, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, who must prove how the other party was at fault and how said fault led to the injuries. In a product liability case, the defendant, which can be the manufacturer, retailer, distributor, or everyone in the chain of distribution, will want to prove that the product was not defective, and possibly that the plaintiff was simply using the product incorrectly.

Strict Liability – Strict liability cases are generally grouped into three categories:

  • Design Defects: Design defects refer to inherent product defects and flaws that are built into the product.
  • Manufacturing Defects: These defects occur in the manufacturing phase of product development and can occur despite a flawless design.
  • Marketing Defects: When a product is inherently flawless in design and manufacturing but a person still gets injured using it, it may be because of a “failure to warn,” failing to provide the end user with enough information to use the product safely, or misstating a product’s use, benefits, and dangers.

When the Manufacturer May Have a Case

Even if the plaintiff can generally prove liability, damages, and injuries, if a defendant can prove any of the following, the case may be at risk:

  • Everything about the product—from the design to the marketing—was flawless;
  • The plaintiff misused the product and was therefore responsible for his or her own injuries;
  • The plaintiff was aware that the product was damaged but used it anyway; or
  • The plaintiff blatantly ignored warnings or instructions.

Product liability cases arise in a great variety of areas and can often involve very serious injuries and death: toys; cribs; windows coverings; automobiles; sports equipment; safety equipment; drugs and pharmaceuticals; tools, household appliances; and a great variey of others.

Retain the Help of a Knowledgeable Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured or killed during the use of any type of product, your best chances of obtaining a successful outcome begin with hiring a skilled Riverside personal injury lawyer. At Heiting & Irwin, we understand the ins and outs of product liability law and are prepared to use our knowledge to ensure that your case is treated fairly and with the diligence it deserves. To schedule a free consultation today, contact our associates online. In addition to serving residents of the city of Riverside, our team also serves San Bernardino & Riverside Counties and all of Southern California.

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