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Manufacturers are liable and may be sued for faulty products and personal injury that results from them. They need to ensure that their products are safe to use. These safety measures may vary depending on the nature of the product. Still, even if there is a small risk, the manufacturer’s responsibility is to ensure that there is a warning. Unfortunately, sometimes manufacturers act negligently, which can cause a consumer to be personally injured.

It is vital to have product liability laws because manufacturers and retailers are incentivized not to sell and distribute faulty products. To comply with product liability laws, a company can perform tests before releasing the product to the public.

Risks of Faulty Products

One should not understate the risks of faulty products. A manufacturer’s negligence can harm a consumer in many ways, and they can compensate for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Personal suffering
  • Loss of life
  • Damage or loss of home

What Faulty Products Cause Personal Injury?

Faulty product personal injury can include everyday products and complicated equipment. Examples include:

  • Electronics
  • Household appliances
  • Cars and trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Robotic machinery
  • Aviation devices
  • Bikes and scooters
  • Hoverboards
  • Construction equipment

Examples of Faulty Products Include:

  • Defective design
  • Defects in the manufacturing process
  • Failure to warn consumers of potential risks
  • Common malfunctioning
  • Unapproved methods or processes
  • Failure to function correctly

In any of these instances, victims can file a product liability suit to try and collect damages.

For the claim to have standing, there needs to be a type of personal injury, which may be physical or emotional suffering. Just because a product is defective does not mean it caused injury, an important distinguishing factor.

Faulty Products and Product Liability Lawsuits: Steps to Take

When considering whether to file a suit, it is essential to consider many factors outlined in this section.

Consider whether the product caused an injury-

Whether or not the product caused an injury is crucial because there needs to be an injury for the judge to award damages. What is the extent of the injuries? Were there any severe costs incurred?

If you decide the product has caused injury, then, if possible, keep the product-

It is in your interest to keep the product, or at the very least parts of it, to show what the defect was. Do not repair or replace the product in question. The court will then need to determine if the defect that led to the injury was severe enough.

If the product comes with directions or a manual, try to keep it-

If there are any uncertainties in the language for the manual, then this may help prove their injury claim. Also, consider whether you used the product correctly and if there were any warnings on the packaging.

Keep the receipt-

The receipt is vital to prove that you purchased the product that caused the injury.

Take photos or videos-

Photos and videos are helpful evidence as they may show a close-up of what is wrong with the product. It can also be helpful to take pictures of any injuries sustained.

If there were any medical costs, save the bill-

The bill or proof of medical cost will help show the extent of the injuries and how much one may recover in damages.

After one takes these steps, it may be in your interest to take legal action-

To take legal action, one will need to file a civil lawsuit. This is best done with an attorney that practices personal injury law. Retaining the right legal counsel will help by allowing the lawyer to best represent one’s personal injury case due to a faulty product.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Faulty Products?

It is essential to file your product’s liability claim within the two-year statute of limitations. Complaints of any personal injury, including products liability cases, must be filed within two years of the initial injury. If one fails to do so, likely, the court will not hear the case, and the plaintiff will not be able to recover damages. However, certain exceptions may extend this two-year deadline. For instance, if the plaintiff did not discover the injury immediately, the statute of limitations is a year from when they discovered it.

Can a Retailer be Held Liable for Defective Products?

A retailer can be liable if a product they are selling causes injury to a consumer in a foreseeable way. Product liability is especially applicable if the retailer advertises the product because that implies they endorse it and ensure it is safe to use. While they may not be the ones who made or designed the product, they still failed to warn consumers of the potential risks involved.

When is the Manufacturer Not Liable for Faulty Products and Personal Injury?

Under California Civil Code 1714.45, there are certain instances where a manufacturer cannot be held liable in a products liability case. It includes the following:

  • A product is inherently unsafe, and any reasonable person knows this fact
  • The product in question is a standard consumer product intended for personal consumption (including alcohol, castor oil, and sugar).

However, this statute explicitly states that this law does not grant immunity to the tobacco industry.

The defendant is not liable because the plaintiff has a comparative fault in some instances.

Comparative Fault of the Plaintiff

If the plaintiff contributed to the injury they received relative to the incident described in their complaint, they might bear responsibility. This fault may have contributed to the damages in the initial complaint. Plaintiffs who the court finds partially liable may have their settlement reduced in proportion to the contribution to damages they cause.

Damages Recoverable from Faulty Products and Personal Injury Suits

If one can succeed in a personal injury products liability suit, they will be able to receive compensatory damages.

Compensatory damages:

Compensatory damages compensate someone for suffering and losses. Some examples may include covering medical bills, lost wages, or property damage. These damages compensate one for what they endured because of the injury.

One may split compensatory damages into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages:

Economic damages refer to the plaintiff’s economic burden because of the injury. Some examples may include medical bills, prescription medication, property repair, therapy, or lost wages (from either forced missed work or the potential future earnings you missed out on).

Non-economic damages:

Non-economic damages are damages that do not have a specific dollar value. Damages without a specific value can include personal sufferings such as emotional distress, humiliation, or grief. You can claim personal suffering for most personal injuries, but it is more difficult to calculate.

While rare for personal injury product liability suits, it may be possible to recover punitive damages.

Punitive damages:

Punitive damages punish the person or party that acted negligently by exceeding the simple compensation. Payment of punitive damage generally occurs when the defendant has a past of negligence, or the amount of negligence they displayed was egregious. So, for instance, if the manufacturer or retailer has caused injury to many people because of their faulty products, then there may be grounds to recover punitive damages.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one has been involved in a personal injury accident involving faulty products, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.

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