Products liability law covers the liability of those who supply goods and products for losses suffered by consumers resulting from defects in the products. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California is two years. A plaintiff may proceed on three possible theories in a products liability case: defective design, manufacturing defect, and inadequate warnings or instruction.
In a defective design case, California courts use two tests in order to determine liability. Under a risk-benefit test, a court will look to whether a reasonable and feasible alternative would have reduced the foreseeable risk of harm prosed by the product. Alternatively, under a consumer expectation test, a product is deemed to be defective if it fails to perform, as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect.
If a plaintiff claims that the injury suffered was a result of defective manufacturing, despite the manufacturer using the utmost care during the manufacturing process, then a plaintiff may file a claim for a manufacturing defect. In California, a product contains a manufacturing defect if: the product differs from the manufacturer’s design, or the product differs from the typical design of the same product line. Products may still present a danger for injury even though they were designed and manufactured safely, and a manufacturer of such a product must warn consumers of all potential risks and danger. If a manufacturer fails to provide adequate warning, then a consumer may have a claim for product liability under an inadequate warning or instruction theory.
Consider the mantra buyer beware and remember as a consumer you have rights. If you are in a situation that deserves review because of a product’s potential liability, then seek the appropriate legal counsel.
Authored by Scott D. McDonald, Esq.
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