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Moraga Defective Product Lawyers

Dangerous Product Claim

If a defective product causes physical injury to a consumer or user, the manufacturer and seller may be liable for product liability. If a manufacturer of a product creates a defective product either in designing, manufacturing, or labeling the product, the manufacturer is liable for any injuries the product causes, regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent. The Moraga dangerous product attorneys at Balamuth Law have extensive experience and success handling cases such as this.

The law of product liability is the area of law that deals with the liability of the manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer of a product for injuries resulting from that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts of the product, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, the retail store or other ultimate seller of the product, and any other party in the distributive chain.

Research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that defective or unsafe products cause 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths each year. You or your child may be injured by something seemingly harmless or something you use everyday, such as a hair dryer, toaster, baby chair, toy, iron, coffee maker, air conditioner, car, hand tool or even your clothing. Product liability law gives consumers the ability to sue for and recover damages from manufacturers, distributors and vendors for injuries resulting from accidents caused by products. Virtually all products are subject to product liability law, not just items on the store shelves. Products subject to the law run the spectrum from food, drugs, appliances, automobiles, medical devices, medical implants, blood, tobacco, gases, real estate, writing, maps, and even commercial jets.

Types of Product Liability Claims

Strict Liability

Strict liability means "liability without fault." Therefore, a person is liable whether or not they were negligent and whether or not they intended to do any harm.

Strict liability is also often imposed on manufactured products, under the law of product liability. Strict liability claims do not involve proof of whether or not someone acted reasonably or used appropriate care in manufacturing a certain product. A defendant in a product liability claim will be found liable for damages to a plaintiff if it is found that the product is defective, regardless of whether the manufacturer or supplier exercised great care when designing and manufacturing it. As such, a plaintiff does not have to demonstrate that the manufacturer or vendor was negligent or careless, only that:

  • a defect in the product caused the accident,
  • he or she was using the product in a manner consistent with the way it was meant to be used,
  • the product was not substantially changed between the time it left the seller or manufacturer's hands and the time it reached the plaintiff.

Even if you are not the original owner of the merchandise, you can sue for product liability. For example, if a friend lends you a power saw that turns out to be defective and injures you, you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, and/or vendor of the item. Even a company that doesn't actually make a product, but merely puts its label on it, is liable for any injuries the item causes.

Negligence

In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that a manufacturer, seller, wholesaler or other party involved in the distributive chain had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the process of manufacturing or selling a product and failed to fulfill that duty, resulting in injury to the plaintiff. Negligence consists of doing something that a reasonable person would not do under the same or similar circumstances; or failing to do something that a reasonable person would do under the same or similar circumstances. This can take the form of negligence in drawing up or reviewing plans for a product, negligence in maintaining the machines that make the component parts of the product, negligence in failure to anticipate probable uses of the product, negligence in failure to inspect or test the product adequately, negligence in issuing inadequate warnings or instructions regarding the use of the product, or any other aspect of the manufacturing or distribution process where due care is not used.

Breach of Warranty

A breach of warranty claim arises under the law of contracts where the law imposes certain "implied warranties" on the sale of goods. Such warranties include the warranty of merchantability (that the goods are in proper condition for use and free of defects), and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (e.g. the refrigerator must be able to keep food cold and fresh; the chair must be capable of supporting a person's weight). These warranties are called implied warranties because the law assumes that they apply even if they are not expressly stated. If a product does not meet these standards, the purchaser may have the right to return it and get back the purchase price, or sometimes to receive monetary damages.

In Moraga product liability cases, it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, document the chain of custody of the product in question, and to enable engineers or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate the product and your injuries.

Types of Product Defects

When making a claim for strict liability, it is necessary to prove that the product was defective by proving that it was "unreasonably dangerous for its intended use" as a result of a defect or defects. A product may be inherently dangerous but have substantial value, or "utility" such that the danger is one which would not be considered "unreasonable." For instance, gasoline is an inherently dangerous product, but its utility far outweighs any danger posed by it. Therefore, the law does not consider gasoline to be unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. If there were an alternative, less dangerous, and no more costly fuel available, the law would likely permit a product liability action to prove that gasoline is an unreasonably dangerous product and, therefore, defective. Similarly, a knife is a dangerous product, but the law wouldn't consider it "unreasonably" dangerous unless it were manufactured with a handle so fragile that it will snap during ordinary use.

Certain types of products, such as medical drugs, may be considered unavoidably unsafe. There are many drugs used in the treatment of serious and fatal diseases which themselves may cause serious injury and even death. Although these products may be clearly "dangerous," they may not be considered "unreasonably dangerous" if information and warning are given to users.

In general, there are three types of defects which could render a product unreasonably dangerous:

Dangerous Products Verdicts & Settlements:

Listed below are verdicts and settlements obtained by Balamuth Law on behalf of victims who have suffered injuries due to dangerous products:

Case Name: Benjamin Doe v. Department Store Chain
Recovery Range: $400,000 - $650,000

Case Name: Charlene Doe v. Medical Manufacturer, Inc.
Recovery Range: $250,000 - $400,000

Click here for more information about these dangerous product verdicts and settlements.

Dangerous Products

Additional Information

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

Balamuth Law has helped hundreds of people resolve their claims and obtain justice. Please look at some of our case results in our different practice areas to see how we have helped.

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Walnut Creek Dangerous Product Attorney Disclaimer: The legal information and materials contained on this web site do not constitute legal advice and are presented without any representation or warranty whatsoever, including as to accuracy or completeness. They are not intended to create, and receipt of them does not establish, an attorney-client relationship between you and Balamuth Law. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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