Consumer products are generally safe to use, thanks to a myriad of federal and state regulations. In the U.S., the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with using consumer products. Despite the agency’s efforts, the cost of injuries, death, and property damage from defective products is estimated to be more than $1 trillion per year.
In multiple lawsuits against Monsanto Corporation, plaintiffs claimed that a key ingredient in the company’s Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Defects in Takata airbags have caused multiple injuries and fatalities. One of the most well-known products liability cases involved a 79-year-old woman who successfully sued McDonald’s for failing to provide adequate warning about its dangerously hot coffee, which spilled in her lap and caused third-degree burns, requiring skin grafts on her inner thighs.
What Does the Law Say About Defective Products?
The CSPC has the authority to gather information about potentially defective products and issues recalls. The CSPC recalls up to 400 products per year; most of these recalls are voluntary. However, persons harmed by defective products cannot seek compensation for their injuries from the CSPC. In fact, injured consumers generally seek redress through state courts.
Products Liability in California
In California, lawsuits involving defective products must be filed before the statute of limitations expires, which is two years for injuries and three years for property damage. For a claim to be successful, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defective product was a substantial factor in causing injury or death. Next, the product must be shown to be defective in one or more ways, including the following:
- Defective design
- Manufacturing defect
- Lack of adequate warning labels explaining how to use the product safely
There are also cases in which distributors and retailers have been held negligible. In general, defective design is more difficult to prove than manufacturing defects or lack of warning labels.
How Much Compensation can Plaintiffs Obtain for Products Liability Claims?
Every case is different, so it impossible to predict the size of a settlement or verdict in a products liability case. However, there are incidents in which damages have totaled in the millions, including the following:
- Nearly $3 million in the McDonald’s case
- More than $2.8 million in a wrongful death suit against a tire manufacturer
- Billions of dollars collectively awarded by jurors to multiple plaintiffs pursuing claims against Monsanto
In products liability cases, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof across the board. It can be quite difficult to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused a plaintiff’s injury. Products liability cases typically call for the testimony of many experts, including medical doctors, engineers, and others.
LA Products Liability Lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP Help Victims Injured Due to Defective Products
If you or a family member suffered harm as a result of using a defective product, you may have many questions about whether it is worthwhile to pursue a claim. The experienced LA products liability lawyers at Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo, LLP can advise you on the value of your claim and walk you through the legal process. We have dedicated our careers to obtaining maximum compensation for our clients. To arrange a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 833-ACTS-LAW. Located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout southern California.