A product manufacturer can be sued when a defect causes harm. Such defects can include manufacturing defects, design defects and a failure to warn or properly instruct on the product’s safe use.
At John M. O'Brien & Associates, we represent individuals and families in the greater Sacramento and Elk Grove Area who are injured by defective products. We believe that manufacturing companies have a responsibility to consumers and when something goes wrong they should be held accountable. As product liability lawyers, we believe it is our duty to hold these companies accountable and to help injured persons and their families recover the maximum amount of compensation possible.
We are not afraid to challenge large corporations and their insurance companies. In fact, we believe it is our duty to do so. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a defective or unsafe product, we can help you. Whether you were in an auto accident caused by a defective tire or faulty brakes, or if you suffered injuries from a medical device or medication, our attorneys and staff will evaluate every piece of evidence and will not rest until you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
Any commercial product can be defective, mislabeled, or unreasonably dangerous. The most common product liability cases are motor vehicle defects that result in traffic accidents, including the following:
Many pharmaceutical drugs have serious side effects, some leading to fatal outcomes, such as:
The defective product claims usually fall into three categories:
There are several entities that might be held responsible in a product liability case including all individuals and companies in the chain of distribution. Defendants in product liability lawsuits are most often:
There are also some other details you need to be aware of:
If the defendant is a corporation, you should know that corporations can change over time due to mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations or re-naming. It’s important to know that each of the successor companies "inherits" liability, so in your claim, you should also name the successor companies as defendants.
Product liability is a strict liability claim, meaning the degree of care taken by the defendant is irrelevant. Victims injured by a dangerous or defective product might be eligible for monetary compensation covering both economic and non-economic losses, such as:
These damages are intended to reestablish the victim's financial estate prior to the injury. In order to receive compensation for these damages, plaintiffs should follow these recommendations:
In a non-contract case, the plaintiff may recover amounts for any damages related to the accident that caused the injury, but in a breach-of-warranty claim the damages can be much more limited.
Damages must be foreseeable in order to be recoverable. Foreseeable damages include financial losses, such as those for medical bills, repairs to damaged property and lost wages.
In rare cases, punitive damages apply. They are intended to punish the defendant's conduct. They are not allowed in breach-of-contract (warranty) claims. The amount of punitive damages is based on the wealth of the defendant and the reprehensibility of the conduct. Whereas compensatory damages are not taxable to the plaintiff, punitive damages that he or she receives are subject to federal income tax.
A person injured by a product may base the recovery of damages on one (or more) of these grounds:
Components of a California strict liability action:
California allows liability to be assessed against a supplier or a manufacturer when a defective product harms innocent bystanders. This policy of courts increase bystanders protection since they, unlike the users and sellers/manufacturers, they have no chance to inspect for defects.
Statute Of Limitations in California. Generally, a two-year deadline prescribed by California Code of Civil Procedure applies to personal injury actions in products liability.
To begin a lawsuit, a plaintiff typically files three forms:
The Summons and Civil Case Cover Sheet are mandatory Judicial Council forms, and have to be used in all cases.
Each lawsuit must state facts that would allow the court to award a judgment to the plaintiff under at least one theory recognized by the court. Each of the theories is named a "cause of action."
It is possible for the Complaint to have more than one cause of action. If it’s drafted on a Judicial Council form, the Judicial Council has already created several forms for common causes of action that can be attached.
The forms are available here:
To start the legal process, you have to file the lawsuit with the court.
After filling and signing the forms/pleadings, make two copies of your documents, and assemble everything as it follows:
The court keeps the original documents, and will stamp the copies with a case number and an endorsement, then return the copies to you, along with several other documents the court provides.
At John M. O'Brien & Associates, we have handled a wide variety of complex injury cases involving defective products. For example, we represented a man who was given a cryotherapy unit following routine ankle surgery. He was told that the unit would reduce pain and swelling and would accelerate the healing process. Our client was instructed to leave it on 24 hours a day for 5 days straight; his wife was instructed to add ice to the machine every 8 hours. Our client and his wife simply did what they were instructed to do. As a result, he suffered severe injuries similar to frostbite and had two of his toes amputated. After the surgery, he acquired a resistant infection known as MRSA and his leg was amputated below the knee. What started out as a routine surgery ended up as a two year battle for our client who will have disfiguring and debilitating injuries for the rest of his life. Our attorneys took on the case and challenged the product manufacturer and the retailer. The case settled for $4.5 million.
The law office of John M. O'Brien & Associates has a proven record of success in a wide range of product liability claims. Our attorneys recently resolved a case against a major automobile manufacturer on behalf of the heirs of a 52 year old woman who was killed in a broadside collision when her side airbags failed to deploy. Mr. O'Brien challenged the auto manufacturer, contending that if the airbags weren't defective and deployed as designed and warranted, the woman would still be alive. The case was resolved before a trial for a confidential sum.
Our attorneys and staff are equipped with the knowledge, the skills and the resources to take on the most complicated product liability cases involving:
A: Product liability falls under civil law and claims and lawsuits provide monetary compensation to individuals who sustained personal injuries or property damage due to a dangerous, defective or malfunctioning product.
A: A failure to warn claim is based on the theory that the manufacturer of a product failed to provide information about how the product should be used or failed to warn customers about potential risks related to its use.
A: Many product liability lawsuits are filed due to dangerous drugs. If you were prescribed with a medication, you followed the instructions and you developed severe side effects, you are eligible for monetary compensation. However if the risk of side effects is properly listed and your doctor warned you about these side effects, yet you decided to take the drug, you won’t have a legal claim.
A: Manufacturers are required to foresee the ways their products will be used. Therefore they are responsible for injuries arising from foreseeable misuses. Manufacturers are also required to list dangers arising from the product’s misuse, so if you sustained injuries in similar circumstances you might still be able to recover damages.
A: Product liability claims like all civil actions must be filed within a certain amount of time following the injury, within their legal statute of limitation. Time limitations differ from one state to another but if they are exceeded, the victim loses his/her right to file a claim. In California product liability claims have to be filed within two years following the injury.
At John M. O’Brien & Associates we have extensive experience in handling different types of product liability claims and we will take your case to a jury if negotiations fail. We aggressively fight large manufacturing companies on your behalf so you can receive the full compensation you deserve. Don’t delay in contacting our firm as soon as possible in order to receive maximum compensation.
Product LiabilityResult: $4,500,000 Read more