Manufacturers are required to make their products safe for consumers to use, regardless if they are vehicles, toys, tools or pharmaceuticals. When a manufacturer breaches this duty, it can be held accountable for any injuries or deaths suffered wherein the victims and/or their families are eligible to receive compensation for their losses. California personal injury attorneys routinely represent individuals and families who are victims of defective consumer products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent agency of the U.S. government that was created in 1972 through the Consumer Product Safety Act. This agency is responsible for regulating the sale and manufacturing of more than 15,000 different consumer products from baby cribs to sporting goods equipment. The CPSC bans dangerous consumer products, issues recalls of products already on the market and researches potential hazards associated with consumer products of all types. Consumers can report products they believe are unsafe or which have caused injuries directly to the CPSC on its website and via a hot line.
Defective Product Liability Claims
People who are injured or who’ve suffered other damages due to a product they have used, may be able to file lawsuits to compensate them for their injuries and damages. This type of lawsuit is called a defective product liability claim. While there are multiple types of injury-causing products on the market, defective product liability lawsuits generally fall into three categories and they are:
Products that have been defectively manufactured – These are products which in some manner where made incorrectly either at the factory or at another point between the factory and where the product was purchased to result in a faulty product.
Products that have been defectively designed – These are products which pose a danger in some manner in spite of the fact that they were manufactured correctly. These cases do not pertain to single faulty products but rather to entire lines of products that are claimed to be dangerous.
Products which do not come with adequate warnings or instructions – These are products deemed unsafe and dangerous due to them being released to the market without adequate warnings or instructions regarding the proper use of the products.
Who Can be Held Responsible for a Defective Product That Causes an Injury
If you or a loved one has been injured by a consumer product, you should seek legal assistance. An experienced consumer products will be needed to help you identify any and all parties who may be responsible for the injuries you suffered. When preparing a product liability claim, it is necessary to identify all parties involved with making and distributing the product which may include the manufacturer, supplier, wholesaler or retailer as one or more of these entities may be responsible for making the product dangerous.
Your attorney may find that one or more of these entities may be held liable for your injuries. For instance, your attorney may determine that the product manufacturer is at fault for what happened to you if it’s found that the manufacturer knew about a flaw or defect in the design of the product but went ahead and manufactured it anyway. Manufacturing defect cases are often the easiest to prove because the manufacturer’s own design or marketing standards can be used to demonstrate the product in question was defective.
A wholesaler or supplier may be held responsible for what happened if it can be proved that one of these entities improperly labeled the product or failed to warn consumers of its hidden dangers. A retailer that makes changes to a product or that does something like remove warning labels from a product before selling it, can also found to be at fault for what you’ve endured.
Child Injury Statistics and Defective Products
Nothing is more tragic than an accident in which a child is seriously injured or killed. Children are injured daily in all types of accidents and mishaps but when the negligence of someone else plays a lead role in a child’s injuries or death, the situation becomes more devastating as well as more maddening. Many product-related injuries and deaths suffered by children could have been avoided if appropriate safety measures had been taken.
When parents buy products for their young children be them toys, cribs or car seats, they expect the products to be safe. Unfortunately, thousands of young children are injured each year in the United States due to children’s nursery products. In late 2013, the USPC issued a report titled “Injuries and Deaths Associated with Nursery Products Among Children Younger Than Age Five”. The report summarizes emergency room-treated injuries and fatalities from 2012. The agency reported that nearly 78,000 young children were treated in 2012 for injuries associated with nursery products which includes car carriers, strollers and high chairs.
Statute of Limitations in Cases Involving Children’s Injuries
When a child suffers a serious injury, it can have long-lasting emotional and physical effects even though these effects may not be apparent immediately following the accident. In California, an injured individual typically has two years after the date of the injury to file a legal claim. However, what many parents do not know is that under section 352a of the California Code of Civil Procedure, when the injured person is under the age of 18, they have until they turn 18 plus two more years to file suit. This means that if your young child say of age five, sustained an injury that has continued to cause him/her problems years later, you can still bring a claim so that you can recover damages associated with the injuries your child suffered.
Damages You Could Recover
If you’ve suffered injuries due to a faulty product you used, you may be able to recover damages to compensate you for:
- All related current and future medical expenses
- Income lost due to the accident
- Expenses related to a permanent physical disability or disfigurement you may have suffered
- Emotional damages suffered such as stress, depression or strained family relationships
- Damaged property
Generally speaking, the more serious the injury is, the higher the potential damages are that you may recover. And, the more invasive and long-lasting your medical treatment consists of, the higher the potential damages are that you may recover. However, you must be able to prove without a doubt that your injuries were directly related to the dangerous product you used.
Surviving family members of a deceased loved one who was killed by a faulty consumer product may be able to seek compensation to cover their losses. A wrongful death claim may be brought against the responsible party or parties wherein the surviving family members can obtain compensation for their loss. Even though no amount of money can fill the void when a loved one is gone, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide the survivors with justice, the money they need to carry on and with the assurance of knowing that what happened to their loved one won’t happen to anyone else.