When you purchase a product manufactured by a company, you expect the product to perform in a certain way. This expectation is usually based on the instructions provided on the product label and on the advertisements related to the product. When a product fails to act in the expected way resulting in a fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed with the help of an Orange County wrongful death attorney.
A wrongful death lawsuit in such a case will be based on the product liability law. It is important to understand how the law works and when such a lawsuit will be filed under this law.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
As per California laws, it is typically possible to file three different types of product liability lawsuits, depending on the nature of the product’s defects. Here is a look at these.
When a mistake in the manufacturing of a product results in a fatal injury, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the manufacturer. For instance, the brakes of a car are meant to bring the vehicle to a stop when needed. If the brakes malfunction due to a manufacturing fault, this can cause a fatal accident. In such an event, the manufacturer of the vehicle can be held liable.
When bringing a wrongful death lawsuit based on manufacturing defects, it must be shown that the defect directly caused the incident or injury which resulted in the fatality. This can be complicated as it must be shown that no other factors contributed or that the other contributing factors were not as significant as the defect itself.
When basing a product liability lawsuit on design defects, you are required to show that a product was designed in a faulty manner so that its design had an inherent risk. If this inherent risk results in a fatal injury, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against the company that produced the product.
It is possible to bring a lawsuit based on design defects even if the defect didn’t directly affect the person filing the lawsuit. As a plaintiff, you will only need to show that the defect is serious enough to pose a real risk to the safety and wellbeing of consumers.
Real-life examples of design defects include:
- Faulty Airbags: An airbag is meant to protect a vehicle’s occupants in the event of a collision. If an airbag injures the occupants instead of protecting them, it has an obvious design defect.
- Weapon Design Defects: Weapons like handguns typically come with safety measures. If a gun goes off on its own, it has a design defect that can lead to injuries and fatalities. Such weapon defects, which have historically existed in the products of leading weapons manufacturers, can prompt product liability lawsuits.
Label Warning Issues
California law requires businesses to explicitly mention any dangerous components in a consumer product. When a company fails to clearly warn consumers about any adverse components, this can become the basis for a product liability lawsuit.
For instance, if a product contains chemicals or by-products that have carcinogens, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act requires a company to clearly mention this on the product’s label. Failure to do so can open a company to product liability lawsuits. If a misleading product label directly contributes to the fatality of someone who used the product, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against the company.
Punitive Damages in Product Liability Lawsuits
If a manufacturer or business becomes aware of a dangerous defect in a product, yet continues to sell that product, it can also be held liable for punitive damages. These damages are sought on top of the personal injury or wrongful death damages that may be sought for the harm caused by the product. It is best to consult a reliable wrongful death lawyer and see if punitive damages are relevant in your product liability lawsuit.
Hiring a Reliable Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death lawsuit that is prompted by product liability issues can be legally complicated. If you have lost a dear one due to a defective product, it is important to hire the services of a qualified lawyer at the earliest.
Here at the Crockett Law Group, we help you bring together the relevant evidence to back up your product liability claims. We also work with you to ensure that the liable company pays up the full extent of damages for your tragic loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case with our attorneys.