We live in a consumer society that relies, in large part, on businesses providing high quality products that live up to the promises made by the manufacturer and are safe to use. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of regulatory agencies and consumer advocacy groups, products end up in consumers hands in conditions that are either unsafe or defective. In situations like this it is important for consumers who are injured in some way by a defective or unsafe product to know their rights under the law. Products Liability cases can be different than other types of cases since an injured person may proceed under a Strict Liability theory. Basically, Strict Liability means the imposition of liability without a finding of negligence or fault.
If a plaintiff can prove that a product was defective and that as a result of that defect he or she was injured the case may be won. Importantly, an injured person may also at the same time proceed under negligence theories as well. At The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood we have extensive experience in products liability cases and working with clients to help them understand their rights and to ensure their case has the best possible outcome.
To prevail in court on a person injured by a defective product must prove the product was defective in one of three ways. In California, these defects are:
Under the Consumer Expectation Test a person must show that the defendant manufactured, distributed or sold the product and that the product “did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform”.
Under the Risk Benefit Test a person must show that the defendant manufactured, distributed or sold the product and that the product’s design was a substantial factor in causing harm.
Many people assume that in order to hold a business liable for a defective product that causes an injury, they must have purchased the product themselves. The truth is that any person injured by a defective product may bring suit against the business or individual responsible for bringing the product to market. Their attorney must then show that they were using the product in a foreseeable manner and that their injuries were caused by the defective condition of the product.
Importantly it is not just the manufacturer of a product that can be held responsible for a defect that causes injury. In fact any business or individual in the “stream of commerce” may be a proper defendant. Essentially this means any manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller of the product may be named in your case. As a result, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney in Oxnard & Ventura who knows how to analyze each phase of a products journey to market. At the Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood we conduct comprehensive investigations in product liability cases to determine who is legally responsible for our clients’ injuries and how to hold them accountable. During these investigations we often find that more than one party is legally responsible for our client’s injuries and will pursue a claim against all of the responsible parties.
We understand that paying for an attorney is the last thing you have money for after a serious injury and as a result we handle product liability cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we advance all costs necessary to successfully prosecute your case and all fees are taken as a percentage on any recovery through settlement or trial.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, we encourage you call us so we can answer your questions and help you discover how strong your case is. A free consultation may answer all your most important questions about your case and will help you decide how to move forward.