There is a foundational sense of safety that allows most of us to function in our daily lives. If we were constantly afraid that we could be electrocuted by our toasters or injured by flying shrapnel from an airbag firing without any provocation, we wouldn’t be able to complete most of the simple, unconscious tasks that allow us to move from one moment to the next. We’d be paralyzed with fear at all times, always second-guessing whether the inanimate objects that surround us all could – for lack of a better phrase – “turn on us” at any time.
One of the reasons why American society functions at this foundational level of safety in most instances is that there are countless safety regulations in place that dictate how consumer products, industrial equipment, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and even food are processed and marketed. Because of these regulations, for the most part, Americans can trust that the inanimate objects in American homes, workplaces, public spaces, and virtually every other location imaginable are safe. Additionally, for the most part, these regulations ensure that when a consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, or industrial resource poses a significant risk of harm, it is labeled accordingly so that consumers can make informed decisions about whether to use that object or not.
Unfortunately, all too often, Americans are caught off-guard when they suffer injury or are made ill by an object that should have been safe to use had it not been defective. Additionally, Americans regularly suffer harm when seemingly safe products cause harm because they haven’t been properly labeled and/or contain some sort of inherently dangerous feature that isn’t obvious. When defective and/or dangerous products cause unreasonable harm, the consequences can be minor, moderate, severe, or catastrophic. Thankfully, even though no amount of reporting, public education, and compensation can make up for what injury victims of defective and dangerous products have suffered, there are options for legal recourse that these victims can avail themselves of with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
When Products Cause Harm, We Are Here to Help
Our firm takes great pride in advocating on behalf of individuals who have been injured or made ill by defective and dangerous products, dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as defective and dangerous industrial resources.
Not every personal injury attorney in Southern California handles these kinds of claims, as they tend to be complex and time-intensive to file and represent. Our firm chooses to handle these cases because we believe that everyone deserves to have a reasonable, foundational sense of security that the products they interact with won’t cause them harm. When defective and dangerous products do damage, the consequences can last a lifetime. Not only can these situations cause injury and illness, but they can also cause very real fear that may affect a victim’s quality of life.
When you entrust your case to our experienced legal team, we will do our utmost to see that justice is done on your behalf and that your experience is properly reported so that – hopefully – no one else will ever again be harmed by the same product in ways that could be prevented. There is nothing we take more seriously than advocating on behalf of our clients’ legal needs to the best of our ability. If you haven’t yet scheduled a risk-free, confidential consultation with our firm – available to you at no cost, at any time – please connect with us today so that we can start clarifying your legal options and protecting your rights as an injury victim.
Why Acting Quickly to Explore Your Legal Options Is Key
If you or a loved one has been injured or made ill because a product or machine of any kind caused you harm, it’s important to explore your legal options as soon as you can. Acting quickly can help to ensure that a number of positive consequences result from the unacceptable suffering you have endured. First, exploring your legal options with our experienced personal injury team will help to preserve your legal options, as California and federal law only allow you so long to file a claim before you’ll be barred from seeking compensation for your injuries.
Second, acting quickly will allow our team to protect your rights as an accident victim to the best of our ability. Evidence related to your case may become compromised as hours and days pass. Once we’re informed about your situation, we’ll be able to act on your behalf to ensure that any legal case you may eventually choose to file is as strong as it can possibly be.
Additionally, exploring your legal options right away may allow you to protect others from suffering the same kinds of injury or illness that you’re currently navigating. Recalls are rarely initiated because a company has discovered on its own that one of its products is potentially harmful. Instead, recalls are generally inspired by the reports filed on behalf of injury victims to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and relevant state agencies. Our team can help you report what has happened to you in a timely, low-stress manner. Once you have alerted authorities to your experience, you may help to inspire a recall of the product that caused you harm. Reporting and recalls regularly influence the evolution of manufacturing safety standards, product marketing standards, public awareness of product safety issues, widespread expectations for various industries, and on and on. Also, reporting and recalls often inspire the initiation of class action suits on behalf of victims who have been injured by the same product. Not to be hyperbolic in any way, but acting quickly to explore your legal options and report your experience could help to effect real change.
What Does “Product Liability” Mean?
The term “product liability” is a legal phrase used to describe the process of holding a manufacturer, distributor, or seller accountable for allowing a defective product or otherwise unlawfully dangerous product or substance to cause harm. Essentially, any case involving injury caused by a defective or unlawfully dangerous is categorized as a product liability case beneath the broader “umbrella” of personal injury matters. Just like virtually any other personal injury matter, such as a car accident or a medical malpractice concern, product liability cases generally need to prove that three fundamental things took place:
- A legal entity owed the injury victim a duty of care under the law;
- That legal entity breached that duty of care through negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous actions or inactions; and
- The injury victim was harmed as a direct result of the responsible entity’s breach of duty.
The notable exception to this general rule is product liability cases involving “strict liability” matters. In scenarios governed by strict liability, manufacturers and other responsible legal entities may be held accountable even if the injury victim can’t prove that these parties were negligent. Our firm will clarify whether your case involves any strict liability issues.
Does It Matter if the Product that Harmed Me Was Already Recalled?
All too often, consumers only learn that a product has been recalled after the product in question has caused them harm. It’s important to understand that you may still have legal options available to you, even if you were harmed by a product that was recalled prior to the occurrence of that harm. Being harmed by a product that has previously been recalled will limit your ability to hold a manufacturer liable for negligence. However, if you were sold a previously recalled product, you may be able to hold the seller liable for negligence, as the product should have been pulled from shelves as soon as it was recalled.
Additionally, you may be able to hold any party in the chain of distribution accountable for their contribution to your harm, depending on the circumstances of your case, regardless of whether the product in question was previously recalled. For example, in a strict liability scenario, evidence that a manufacturer initiated a recall won’t serve as a reasonable defense to any conduct that caused you harm, providing that our firm can prove that the manufacturer was, indeed, strictly liable for the harm you’ve suffered.
Special Considerations if You Were Injured at Work
If you were injured by industrial equipment, a toxic substance, or another kind of hazardous inanimate object while on the job, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim, or possibly both kinds of claims related to the harm you’ve suffered. Essentially, if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer enjoys a limited liability shield that means it is unlikely that you’ll be able to sue your employer for the harm you’ve suffered. However, unless you harmed yourself intentionally or were drunk/high at the time your injury occurred, you should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim successfully with our assistance.
Most of the time, the only workers who can file a personal injury claim related to harm that occurred while those workers were engaged in work-related activities are independent contractors and others who are ineligible to file for workers’ compensation.
However, product defect claims are among the exceptional circumstances that may form a loophole to this run under certain circumstances. If you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits but a third party (such as a manufacturer of industrial equipment parts or auto parts) contributed to your injuries, you may be able to hold that third-party accountable through a personal injury claim. Unlike employers, third-parties are not extended a limited liability shield through the operation of the workers’ compensation system.
If you’re unsure of whether you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim, or both kinds of claims, that’s okay. Once we learn about your employment situation and the accident that caused your injuries or illness, we’ll be able to advise you of your unique legal options accordingly.
If you’ve been hurt by a product or toxic substance, you don’t need to know for sure whether you have grounds to file a personal injury case before you meet with our firm’s experienced legal team to explore your options. Too often, injury victims fail to seek legal guidance because they are unsure of whether they can hold anyone accountable for the harm that a consumer product, pharmaceutical, piece of machinery, etc. has caused.
Once we learn about what injured you and what injuries you’ve sustained, we’ll be able to conduct an objective, personalized assessment of your legal options. Once we’ve advised you of these options, you can choose to move forward in whatever informed way you choose. Should you choose to file legal action, we’ll work efficiently and effectively to build a case that is as strong as it can possibly be on your behalf.
If you have yet to schedule a no-cost, no-pressure consultation with our Irvine personal injury team, please do so as soon as possible so that we can start protecting your rights and preserving your legal options. We look forward to speaking with you.