Sacramento Product Defect Trial Lawyers
Our daily lives are teeming with consumer products: cars, computers, cell phones, baby cribs, pharmaceuticals, toys, foods, health and exercise equipment, to name a few. Because so many of these items operate as intended, and because most of us are so far removed from the manufacturing and design process, it’s easy to assume that any product we purchase will just be safe.
Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Every year, product recalls, and media reports about defective products serve to remind us that just because we purchase things in a large store, doesn’t mean the product won’t injure us.
Sometimes there’s an issue on the assembly line, other times there is a design flaw. In some situations, the company knows it is unleashing a dangerous product on the community but is more concerned with the bottom line.
This article was written to discuss Sacramento defective product injuries and how a person who’s sustained injury might seek fair compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, or if a loved one has been killed as the result of a defective product, consider calling trial lawyer Lawrance Bohm to schedule a consultation.
What California Law Says About Product Defects
In California, there are three main categories of product liability:
- Defective Design
- Manufacturing Defect
- Inadequate Warnings
Your attorney will strategize and plan your case depending the cause of the defect in the product that injured you.
A defective design is something that occurs before a product is warehoused, sold in a store, or even enters an assembly line. In some cases, a defective design occurs because the manufacturers of the product are looking to save money and boost the company’s bottom line.
In the personal injury case Barker vs. Lull, which was considered by the State Supreme Court back in 1978, the court offered two alternative tests for juries to use when an injured person claims a product has a defective design:
The inured party must establish that the product failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner.
The injured party must establish that the product’s design caused the injury, while the defendant fails to establish that the benefits of the challenged design outweigh the risk of the danger posed by the design.
If this two-pronged test is a little difficult to fully understand, take heart, personal injury law is complicated. This is why you should consult an attorney if you’ve been injured by a poorly designed product.
This type of defect refers to issues that occur while the product is being built and assembled. Your lawyer will want to establish whether the manufacturer of the product that injured you used the utmost care during all stages of the manufacturing process.
Lack of Adequate Warning or Instructions
Sometimes products are inherently dangerous. Such products should always include warnings about these dangers, as well as instructions on the safest way to operate them. If a person is injured because a company failed to warn consumers about the dangers of a product, as well as the safest way to use the product, an injured person might be able to file a claim against the company.
Types of Injuries That Can Occur as a Result of Defective Products
There are a number of injuries that can be caused by defective products, many of which can affect a person’s work and family life. These include:
- Third Degree Burns
- Broken Bones
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Head Trauma
- Severed Appendages
- Food Poisoning
- Ocular Damage
High Profile Defective Product Case
It’s interesting to note that if a person researches high profile defective product cases in California, there aren’t many recent court cases to mull over. This is because companies have learned to avoid a public trial in which their negligence can be aired for the world to see. When a company settles with an injured person, the terms of the settlement are often confidential. However, some defective products are too notorious to hide from history.
One of these cases involved Toyota vehicles back in 2009. During this time, reports started to come out about cars that unexpectedly accelerated and became impossible to control. In one tragic instance, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer named Mark Saylor was driving a Lexus ES 350 lent to him by a San Diego car dealership. On August 28, 2009, someone inside the automobile Saylor was driving called 911 on a cellular phone and reported the vehicle’s accelerator was stuck. The San Diego Union Tribune, siting witness accounts, reported the vehicle could be seen barreling down the highway at more than 100 miles per hour. The vehicle only came to a stop after slamming into the rear end of another vehicle, plowing through a fence and rolling down a ravine in flames. Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law were all killed. Toyota blamed the accident on faulty floor mats.
Saylor’s parents filed a lawsuit against the company as well as the dealership. Toyota settled with the family to the tune of $10 million. The parents also settled with the dealership right before the trial was set to begin. The terms of that settlement are unknown.
Sadly, the Saylor family weren’t the only victims of the acceleration problems, and Toyota was forced to pay out billions to others involved in similar crashes.
A Word About the Famous McDonald’s Coffee Case
When casually discussing personal injury law, many folks will recall the woman who sued McDonald’s after spilling coffee in her lap. It’s become somewhat of a punchline, and many people consider that case a classic frivolous lawsuit. However, those who have studied the case more closely know that the injured woman, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck, suffered severe injuries including third degree burns. Contrary to popular belief, Liebeck was not driving when the injury occurred. In fact, she was in the passenger seat of a stationary vehicle. While attempting to add cream and sugar to her beverage, she spilled the coffee in her lap, sustaining serious burns to her groin, thigh and buttocks.
At trial, it was discovered that McDonald’s required its franchisees to heat their coffee to an extremely hot 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Other restaurants heated their coffee to a safer 160 degrees. It was also discovered that Liebeck wasn’t the first person to be injured by the coffee, and that McDonald’s knew of the dangers of serving coffee at that temperature.
The purpose of sharing this story is to let you know that if you’re injured, it’s ok to seek justice. You’re not being frivolous, or litigious by demanding fair compensation. Lobbyists and other groups known as tort reformers often distort the facts of personal injury cases in order to protect big businesses.
Sometimes it’s necessary to sue a company in order to wake them up and get them to change their dangerous practices. The injury may only be the beginning for of a long and painful road for a person. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help with medical bills, and other expenses, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt by a defective product and want to know how a personal injury attorney can help you, contact one of our office. By seeking justice for yourself, you hold companies accountable, and might even help others in the process.