Did you ever wonder what you can do if you are harmed by a defective product? Somebody may be held liable for your injuries if this is the case. There are generally three different categories of product liability, which you will now be able to understand. Understanding each of these categories can give you a better understanding as to if you have a claim or not.
- Defectively Manufactured Products: This is when a product is defectively manufactured after an injury occurs. It could be defective due to an error in making it. If you injured yourself and it wasn’t any fault of the manufacturing, then you will not have a claim.
- Defectively Designed Products: A product’s design is inherently dangerous or defective. These don’t come from manufacturing, but instead from a line of products inherently being dangerous even though the product was made to manufacturing specifications. Again, the injury must have been caused by the defective design.
- Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions: This involves a failure to provide warnings or instructions about the product’s proper usage. These usually involve a product that is dangerous in some way and not obvious to the user. The injury must have resulted from the failure to warn or properly instruct.
As far as defendants go (those who you can find liable for your injury) you will want to include those who were involved with the chain of distribution. This is the path that the product takes from manufacture to distribution to the customers. Here are some entities that may be involved in this chain of distribution:
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer may be as small as an individual working out of a garage to as large as an entire multinational company. Either way, hopefully they have a good insurance policy. You should always include both the manufacturer of the defective part and the manufacturer of the whole product that contains the defective part.
- Retailer: The retailer might be responsible for selling you a defective product even if the retail store where you bought the product may not have manufactured it. You don’t have to be the buyer just to recover, you don’t have to be the product user, and you might even be able to recover for used products.
- Wholesaler or Distributor: These are seen as the “middlemen.” They are all part of the chain of distribution of the defective product. This makes them potentially liable.
So What Happens When the Defendant is a Corporation?
Corporations may be a manufacturer, retailer, or any middleman that is part of the chain of distribution. Corporations are considered to be the equivalent of people and can be held liable as a result! However, they can also change shape, form, and owners frequently. Successor companies may “inherit” liability for its predecessor’s participation in the chain of distribution of a defective product. You should always try to name a successor company in your claim.
California Statute of Limitations
One thing to also remember is that California actually has a statute of limitations when it comes to product liability cases. Each state has a varying statute of limitations that says if there is a specific designated time limit in which you must file your claim. In California, an action must be brought within two years from the time when the injury is or should have been discovered.
If you have been injured by a defective product, then you might have a case. Product liability laws can be very complex, so it is in your best nature to contact an experienced attorney. Call WTW located in California to find out where you stand in your claim.