Failure to Warn in a California Defective Product Case
Those who design, manufacture, distribute, or sell products, but fail to adequately warn consumers of the dangers associated with using those products, can be held liable for the injuries a person sustains when using one of their products. This is referred to as “a failure to warn”, and can form the basis of a defective product lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.
Strict Liability in a California Defective Product Case
In California, those who design, manufacture, distribute, and sell products have a duty to provide consumers with adequate instructions for using a product and to adequately warn consumers of potential dangers associated with the use of that product. Under California’s strict liability rules, if you were injured because of a failure to warn, you may be entitled to recover compensatory damages, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages and income;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Damage to personal property
Also, the court may award you punitive damages if it finds that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional.
Elements of a Failure to Warn Case in California
To succeed in a California product liability lawsuit based on a failure to warn, you and your attorney will need to prove the following:
1. That defendant manufactured/distributed/sold the [product];
2. That the [product] had potential risks that were [known/ [or] knowable in light of the [scientific/ [and] medical] knowledge that was generally accepted in the scientific community] at the time of [manufacture/distribution/sale];
3. That the potential risks presented a substantial danger when the [product] is used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way;
4. That ordinary consumers would not have recognized the potential risks;
5. That defendant failed to adequately warn [or instruct] of the potential risks;
6. That plaintiff was harmed; and
7. That the lack of sufficient [instructions] [or] [warnings] was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.
Negligent Liability in a California Defective Product Case
1. That defendant [manufactured/distributed/sold] the [product];
2. That defendant knew or should have reasonably known that the [product] was dangerous or was likely to be dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner;
3. That defendant knew or should reasonably have known that users would not realize the danger;
4. That defendant failed to adequately warn of the danger [or instruct on the safe use of] the [product];
5. That a reasonable [manufacturer/distributor/seller] under the same or similar circumstances have warned of the danger [or instructed on the safe use of] the [product];
6. That defendant’s failure to warn a substantial factor in causing harm to [name of plaintiff]; and
7. That plaintiff was injured.
What “reasonably foreseeable” means in a California Failure to Warn Case
In California, those who design, manufacture, distribute, or sell a product must foresee and take into account how a reasonable and ordinary consumer might misuse the product and warn against that misuse.
The Statute of Limitations in a California Failure to Warn Lawsuit
To file a failure to warn lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for your injuries, you must file a complaint with the appropriate court before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations is the limited period given by the law within which you may file a lawsuit to recover compensation from the defendant.
The statutes of limitations for a failure to warn lawsuit against a non-government entity in California is as follows:
- Two years from the date you were injured
Exceptions may exist if you were under the age of 18, legally incompetent, or in a state other than California when you were injured by the defective product.
If you fail to file a failure to warn lawsuit before the applicable statute of limitations passes, you will be forever barred from doing so. Therefore, if you or a loved one was injured as a result of a failure to warn in California, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
We encourage you to contact our law office to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced California personal attorney. Contact us today at (562) 901-4664! We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.