The Three Main Theories of a Product Liability Claim in California
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The Three Main Theories of a Product Liability Claim in California

Wednesday, September 27, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us have been affected by product liability issues in our lives. Most of us, however, are clueless about what rights we have when products become dangerous to us or our property. What happens if your baby is injured by a badly designed crib, or if you fall ill because a pharmaceutical company didn’t place an adequate warning label on the packaging for natural supplements?

If you live in California, there are three main theories that apply to a product liability claim that you might want to familiarize yourself with. In the event that a product causes you or your property injury, this knowledge might help you get fair compensation for your injury.

Defective Design

Defective design cases make use of two tests in determining liability. First, the risk/benefit test is used where a court considers technical issues regarding the feasibility of a design. In this test, practicality, cost risk, and other factors will be taken into account. If the risks of the design are deemed to outweigh its benefits, the product fails this test.

Second, the consumer expectations test is used when expert opinions are not deemed to be necessary to determine whether an ordinary consumer would deem it safe for use. This test assesses whether an ordinary person would deem a product unsafe when it is used as intended.

Manufacturing Defect

This theory bases manufacturer liability on the fact that the product has a defect, whether or not it is obvious. The issue is that the defect caused the injury. This defect will ordinarily be one that exists despite care being taken during the production process by a manufacturer.

Lack of Adequate Warning or Instructions

Liability is based on the failure of a manufacturer to warn you of any material dangers your product might pose to you. In these instances, perhaps a cup of coffee that isn’t marked as “hot” might injure you if spilled in your lap. If this happens, your attorney might use this theory to base liability against the coffee outlet.

Possible Defenses

Even with all these claim theories available to you, manufacturers will vigorously avoid liability. In California, there are two main defenses available to manufacturers facing product liability claims. First, they can claim that you modified or misused the product, and that your misuse or modification led to your injury.

Manufacturers may also claim that the injured party was a “sophisticated user”. This means that with one’s skill or knowledge it would have been known that the product was a risk.

The Alexander Law Group, LLP has years of experience at holding manufacturers accountable for injuries to consumers. If you or a family member has been injured by a faulty product, Call us at 888-777-1776, or contact us online, for a free and confidential consultation.

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