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What About Products That Cause Injuries?

Just think of the myriad of products which you use every day which have the potential, if improperly designed or manufactured, to cause serious bodily harm. The tools and electrical appliances we use, the cars which we drive, and the food which we eat all have the potential to create serious injury.

With product liability claims we are concerned with injuries which have occurred or are caused by products as opposed to injuries that are caused by other people.

When an injury has occurred by or through the use of a product, one of the most important steps is to preserve the product which caused the injury and the evidence which surrounds the way in which the injury was caused. For example: The ladder which gave way and caused the fall to occur must be preserved so that the specific product can be identified, and then analyzed by a trained professional to determine the cause of the failure. It may also be necessary to show that the product was not altered after the time it was manufactured.

The product and the scene of the accident should be photographed just as soon as possible after the accident, and it may, depending upon the case, be appropriate to take statements from certain witnesses.

Product liability cases generally fall into three categories. The first are products which are defectively designed. For example: The child's toy soldier which, when its head is removed, exposes a sharp nail, becoming a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child. Another example might be a saw which is dangerous enough when used normally, but which could have been guarded to prevent the injury which occurred.

The second type of product liability claim arises from the defective manufacture of products. These are products which, through some flaw in the manufacturing process, are defective and thereby create injury. As an example, the jar of instant coffee, which during the manufacturing process created glass spikes inside the jar which were then swallowed by the purchaser. In these types of cases, preservation of the evidence becomes even more critical because we are often dealing with a product which is not like the products which the company normally manufacturers.

The third category involves cases where the manufacturer had a duty to warn the consumer of a known hazard or necessary precaution, but failed to do so.

In most product liability cases the manufacturer and other parties in the chain of distribution may be held responsible for the injuries suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability or disfigurement, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. If it can be established that the company knew of the defect in the product and had an ample opportunity to correct it but failed to do so, then the company may additionally be held responsible for punitive damages. These are damages which are designed to deter the company and others from knowingly making or selling products which are unreasonably dangerous to the consuming public.

Product liability claims are generally not easy to settle for a very simple reason. In most cases the company has its' reputation at stake. The company will be concerned about establishing a pattern of paying damages for injuries which are caused by their products. For this reason you will find that companies take these claims seriously, investigate the cases thoroughly, and generally will not enter into a monetary settlement unless it has been demonstrated that the claim is valid, that the evidence has been properly preserved, and the case thoroughly prepared.

In any case involving a defective or dangerous product, we urge you to have the case reviewed and investigated just as soon as possible by an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law.

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Disclaimer: The Laguna Niguel personal injury, wrongful death, automobile accident, slip and fall, train accident, aviation accident, construction accident, big rig accident, uninsured motorists, products liability, premises liability, civil rights, swimming pool accident, insurance bad faith, pedestrian accident, boating accident, motorcycle accident or other legal personal injury information set forth in this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a personal injury attorney or insurance claim attorney at our Laguna Niguel law firm office in Orange County. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.