Product Liability Attorney in Fresno, California

Each day, millions of Californians rely on numerous consumer products as part of their employment and daily life. When we buy products, we do not expect them to end up causing harm. Unfortunately, that can happen when a product is defective. When a product has a defect and causes injury, the injured consumer can pursue a product liability claim to recover damages from the liable parties.

At the Winter Law Group, we have represented clients in Fresno, California, and throughout the Golden State in claims against unscrupulous manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who put profits ahead of the health and safety of their consumers. We provide legal counsel to injured consumers and their families in Clovis, Madera, Visalia, as well as throughout Merced and Madera counties.

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Understanding Product Liability

The legal theory of “product liability” deals with defective products. Consumers can file product liability lawsuits against manufacturers and other liable parties in the chain of distribution to hold them accountable for injuries and losses that arise from using products that contain defects. The laws governing product liability are quite complex, which is why injured consumers might need to seek legal counsel when fighting for compensation.

California law recognizes two legal theories for product liability claims: negligence and strict liability. Some claims are based on negligence, which refers to the liable party’s failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care.  

In order to hold a manufacturer and other responsible parties liable through a negligence-based product liability claim, the injured party must prove four elements of negligence. However, the consumer may not need to prove anything if they can hold the manufacturer strictly liable for their injuries.

Under California law, strict liability applies to cases when the product is more dangerous than consumers reasonably expect it to be. However, to hold someone strictly liable for a defective product, the consumer must prove that they used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way.

Types of Defects

It is vital to identify the type of defect that caused you harm in order to determine liable parties in your case. California law recognizes three types of product defects:

  1. Design defects. When there is a flaw in the design of a product that makes it unsafe, the manufacturer, designer, and other parties can be held liable for the resulting injuries.
  2. Manufacturing defects. Even if a product has a safe design, a defect may occur when manufacturing the product.
  3. Failure to warn. Manufacturers have a legal obligation to provide clear instructions and warn consumers of dangers associated with using the product.

Filing a Product Liability Claim

If you or your loved one was hurt while using a defective product, it is imperative to take legal action as soon as possible because there is a limited time to bring a product liability claim. In California, the statute of limitations for product liability claims is a year from the date of the injury. If a consumer attempts to file a claim after the deadline has expired, the court will dismiss their claim.

As a plaintiff in a product liability case, you also need to understand the defenses the defendant may use to avoid liability. The circumstances in which a manufacturer and other parties may not be liable include:

  • The product is not defective.
  • The injured party did not use the product in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  • The product was not defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession.
  • The injured party cannot prove the link between the product and their injuries.
  • The plaintiff or another party altered the product, making it unsafe.

California follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which means that an injured party’s compensation can be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault. However, the rule does not bar you from recovering damages even if you were mostly at fault for your injury.

Product Liability Attorney in Fresno, California

Consider working with an experienced product liability attorney in Fresno, California, to determine whether you have a product liability claim. At the Winter Law Group, we fight on behalf of injured consumers and their families to help them obtain the compensation they deserve for their damages and losses incurred as a result of using defective products. Schedule a case review to discuss your unique case and determine whether the manufacturer and other parties can be held liable for your injuries.