What You Need to Know About A Product Liability Case in California

What is a product liability case?

In California, an individual or entity that designs, manufactures or sells a defective product is strictly liable for injuries resulting from use of that product, even without the presence of negligence. The defects can be warning defects (lacked warning labels), manufacturing defects (manufactured in the wrong way) and design defects (injuries from the design of the product).

Definitions in a product liability case:

Negligence: The plaintiff must prove that the manufacturer had a duty to provide a safe product and that duty was breached (please see above with respect to California cases).

Strict liability: the plaintiff can bring a products liability claim concerning any unsafe and dangerous product regardless of whether the manufacturer or seller was negligent. The person that gave the user the product would be strictly liable even if they were not the person or entity who was responsible for causing the products defect.

Breach of warranty: When products have certain warranties provided by the manufacturer and those warranties fail and cause injury, the plaintiff can bring a breach of warranty lawsuit.

What is needed to prove a product liability case?

To prevail on a claim for products liability in California a plaintiff must prove four things:

  1. That the defendant designed, manufactured, distributed or sold a defective product;
  2. That the product contained the defect when it left the defendant’s possession;
  3. That the plaintiff used the product in a reasonably foreseeable manner; and
  4. That the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the defect

Do I need a lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer may be required if you believe you have been injured by a defective product.  Please contact the Santa Barbara County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service to determine if you have a case and if so, to find the right lawyer to help.