How to Prove a Products Liability Case in California
Every day, we use countless products to make our lives easier and solve problems. From the coffee machine to the laptop and the personal car, these products should work as advertised by the producer and be safe to use. In some instances, products have manufacturing or design defects that cause injury to the persons using them. In this case, according to personal injury California law, the producer has a strict liability towards consumers for any economic losses caused by their products.
This is a different approach from other personal injury cases, where the plaintiff must prove the breach of a duty of care by the defendant. This may make building a case easier for the plaintiff, but it also leaves the defendant with plenty of options to attack it.
Elements of a Product Liability Case
Under personal injury California law, a plaintiff must be able to prove four crucial elements:
- The defendant is the designer, manufacturer, distributor or seller of a defective product
- The product contained a defect when it left the defendant
- The plaintiff used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way
- The plaintiff suffered hard as a result of using the defective product.
The Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) defines a producer’s strict liability for three aspects:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- Warning defects – failure to warn or inadequate warning.
The Civil Code of California, on the other hand, excludes the producer’s liability if both of the following apply:
- The product is inherently unsafe and the ordinary consumer knows that it is unsafe
- The product is a common consumer product intended for personal consumption (foods or beverages).
What Defenses Producers Use in Product Liability Cases
Product manufacturers are not simply accepting liability and paying up damages. In each case, they will try to prove that you are not entitled to compensation as per the personal injury California law because:
- The product did not have a defect when it left their possession (it was damaged in transit to the customer)
- The product was not used as intended
- An unauthorized person made modifications or repairs to the product
- The plaintiff’s negligence in using the product caused their injuries.
In order to fight these defenses, you must be able to prove the direct connection between using the product and your injuries. In order to do so, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. The medical report will detail the cause and extent of your injuries. Thus, your personal injury lawyer will be able to establish direct causation and dismantle the producer’s defenses.
Do Not Forget that You Have a Time Limit to Take Action
When you want to get compensation under personal injury California law, you must comply with the statute of limitation for bringing legal action. This time period starts running from the date of the incident and is as follows:
- 2 years for personal injury
- 3 years for property damage.
You must remember that time runs very fast, especially as you are spending time in hospital, recovering after your injuries. And just a single day may make a difference between winning the compensation you deserve and having your case dismissed.
Your Best Ally Is a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
Don’t try to fight this battle on your own. Big companies have hundreds of lawyers working for them. You only need one – an experienced personal injury California law attorney, who will put up the best defense in your case and win your jury settlement.