If you have ever purchased a product from the store that ended up not working or, even worse, injured you because it was not working properly, then you have experience with a product liability case. There are several different types of product liability, and the one least talked about is failure to warn. In California, if a consumer purchases a product with a warning defect and is injured by the product as a result, the consumer may have recourse against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller for both compensatory and punitive damages. If you have been injured by a product as a result of a warning defect, call Brod Law Firm at (800) 427-7020 to speak with an experienced product liability attorney today.
Three Things You Should Know About California’s Strict Warning Defect Laws
- There are seven elements that need to be met in a warning defect claim.
In order to prevail on a warning defect claim in California, the plaintiff must show the following things:
- The defendant manufactured, distributed, or sold the product,
- The product had potential risks, side effects, or allergic reactions that were known or should have been known in light of the scientific and medical knowledge that was generally accepted in the scientific community at the time the product was manufactured, distributed, or sold,
- The potential risks, side effects, or allergic reactions presented a substantial danger when the product is used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way,
- Ordinary consumers would not have recognized the potential risks, side effects, or allergic reactions,
- The defendant failed to adequately warn or instruct consumers of the potential risks, side effects, or allergic reactions,
- The plaintiff was harmed, and
- The lack of sufficient instructions or warnings was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries.
Since California applies strict liability to warning defects, a manufacturer, distributor, or seller can be held liable for defective warnings even in the absence of negligence. It is important to note, however, that a plaintiff’s misuse of the product is a complete defense to strict liability. That means that if a defendant included adequate warnings on its product, and the plaintiff was injured by the product due to the plaintiff’s own negligence or intentional misuse of the product, then the defendant will not be responsible for the resulting injuries.
It is also important to remember that California is a comparative fault state. This means any fault you are determined to have that contributed to your injuries will be deducted from your final award by the percentage that you are found to be at fault.
- Compensatory and punitive damages may be available.
Compensatory damages are always available in a warning defect case, and punitive damages may be available, as well. Compensatory damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not designed to make the plaintiff whole but rather to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are only available when the defendant is found to have engaged in gross negligence or recklessness, or when the defendant is found to have intentionally caused the warning defect.
- You have two years to file your claim.
As is true with most personal injury claims in California, there is a two-year statute of limitations on product liability cases. That means you have two years from the date you were injured by the warning defect to file a claim against the manufacturer, distributor, and/or seller of the product for your injuries.
What to do if You Have Been Injured as a Result of a Warning Defect
If you have been injured as a result of a warning defect on a product, make sure to call the attorneys at Brod Law Firm immediately. Our lawyers have helped victims of warning defect cases obtain full recovery for their injuries. Contact us online or at (800) 427-7020 today to schedule your consultation.
(image courtesy of Bernard Hermant)