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Understanding Product Liability in California

Understanding Product Liability in California

Understanding Product Liability in California

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Elk Grove. Consumers purchase products expecting them to be safe and serve the purpose for which they were intended. However, sometimes products, when they are defective, can cause serious injuries or even death. Let’s take a look at what is meant by product liability.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability generally falls into one or three categories: product design, manufacturing and inadequate instructions or warnings. An illustration of a defect in product design, for example, may be a piece of furniture that falls over if more than one drawer is opened at the same time. This could cause a serious injury if it lands on someone, especially a child. An example of a defect in manufacturing could be using the wrong screws to hold together a piece of furniture. Inadequate instructions or warnings might be failing to put a warning on a food product that it contains eggs or soy, which might cause an allergic reaction.

Hazardous Products

When products are found to be hazardous, recalls are issued either by the company that produces the product or by the appropriate government agency. In some cases, such as recalls for motor vehicles, the owner is frequently notified by mail in addition to the public notices. All of the recall sites can be accessed through just by clicking on the appropriate category.

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission handles recalls on different types of consumer products from toys to lawn mowers.
  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issues motor vehicle-related recalls such as car seats, tires, vehicle equipment and in other areas.
  • The Food and Drug Administration handles recalls in many areas, including cosmetics, drugs, foods, medical devices and veterinary medicines.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration handles alerts and notices to aircraft manufacturers and operators.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency issues recall notices for pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture issues recalls on poultry, meat and egg products.

1972 Consumer Product Safety Act

Product liability claims are not handled under federal law but under state law. In California, manufacturers can be held responsible for injuries or deaths caused by defective products because of faulty designs, manufacturing or through inaccurate labeling, instructions or warnings. The following may be held responsible for the injury or death in some cases:

  • The manufacturer of the product
  • The wholesaler
  • The parts manufacturer of the product
  • The assembler or company that does the product installation
  • The store that sells the product

Statute of Limitations in California

The statute of limitations can be different, depending on which state you live in. In California, an individual injured by a defective product has two years in which to file a claim. This is from either when the injury was discovered or when it should have been discovered. If an injured person tries to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the judge will probably dismiss the case. This is one of the reasons enlisting the aid of a seasoned personal injury attorney helps. The attorney will not only gather evidence in the case and help the injured person compile the information needed for remuneration but will ensure the claim is filed within the time limit.

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Personal Injury Lawyers in Elk Grove

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Elk Grove. Knowing who to contact if you or a loved one is injured by a defective product is important to obtain fair compensation. I have the experience you need. For friendly advice that is free, phone (916) 694-0002 in the area or (800) 404-5400 from outside. At my site,, I also provide a contact me form.

Find case results at Settlements and Verdicts, along with reviews at Google, Yelp or Avvo.

Million Dollar Advocates welcomes as its members injury lawyers with a record of trial verdicts of case settlements of one million dollars. I am a California forum member.

In my over 35 years of practice as a personal injury lawyer, I have helped many people in Elk Grove and Northern California to obtain compensation, including in areas such as wrongful death or brain injuries.

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