Product Liability Law: Protecting the Public

We should be able to trust the products we buy. Our San Francisco products liability attorney believes that properly filed civil suits play an important role in helping hold companies responsible for their products and their production decisions.

Negligently designed or manufactured products are dangerous to all of our residents. Recognizing the danger of defective products and the evidentiary difficulties of these cases, courts use a strict liability theory in Northern California products liability cases. This means the plaintiff does not have to prove that the manufacturer or seller acted negligently, an evidentiary standard that would be tough to meet. Instead, a plaintiff only needs to show three things: 1) That the product was not safe; 2) That the plaintiff was injured; and 3) That the product caused of that injury. For example, a plaintiff burned by an electric device that got overly hot would only need to prove the product posed a danger and caused an injury. The plaintiff would not need to show that the manufacturer was aware of the danger or was otherwise negligent in releasing the product for sale.

Plaintiffs will still generally present a theory of the case to the court in a San Francisco product liability lawsuit. Common theories include:

• Design Defect – In defective design cases, the product has been manufactured according to design but that plan carries inherent dangers. For example, an iron that was a fire hazard because it didn’t turn off if the user left it unattended might be considered a case of defective design. The plaintiff in these cases must show that another design was possible but does not need to specifically prove that the maker was negligent in choosing the defective design plan.
• Manufacturing Defect – In manufacturing defect cases, the planned design may have been safe but a manufacturing defect meant the product did not meet the manufacturer’s own design specifications and this difference resulted in a dangerous product. The plaintiff does not need to prove the manufacturer was negligent in the error, a requirement that would be difficult to meet. Instead, the plaintiff only needs to show that the product was the result of a manufacturing error and that the defect caused an injury.
• Warning/Instructional Defect: Manufacturers are required to provide warnings about know product dangers. The warning must be clear and placed in a visible location. Failure to provide a warning can be the subject of a product liability lawsuit.

Of course, there are products that are unavoidably dangerous, such as a hot stovetop. The law does understand this and products are not considered unreasonably dangerous where the danger is inherently necessary for the product to perform as intended. The manufacturer does not usually have to provide warning about inherent and obvious dangers.

If you have been injured by a defective product, please reach out to our San Francisco personal injury attorney to discuss your unique case and your legal rights. Filing a lawsuit not only provides you with the compensation you deserve but also helps protect the public from dangerous products by holding companies responsible for releasing dangerous items.

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