Each year, Americans spend roughly $13 trillion on consumer goods. Regardless of economic trends, which can fluctuate from year-to-year, we have to consistently buy products for use in our daily lives. We buy products for work, for leisure, for our homes, to live, etc.
Americans expect that the goods they purchase will be free of defect or danger and perform as intended by the seller and manufacturer. When buying a product, we expect to not be harmed as a result. Unfortunately, your safety isn’t guaranteed when using any number of goods (as has been proven by a number of product recalls and class-action lawsuits).
The United States has established product liability laws in order to protect consumers against faulty or counterfeit products. A product can harm a consumer in many different ways, including defective design or manufacturing. The seller or manufacturer of a product may also cause harm to consumers by failing to warn them of any possible risks associated with the use of that item.
When you’re injured by a product as a result of negligence – which can include a number of scenarios that we’ll cover in greater detail below – you may be eligible for a large cash settlement that can help pay for things like medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Can I sue for a product liability or defect injury?
Bringing a successful product liability claim typically means proving that your injury and resulting losses were due to a product defect or malfunction. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate under the law that the defect or malfunction violated a duty of care owed to you, the consumer.
- You may have the right to sue if a defective steering column in your car causes you to be involved in a car crash and suffer an injury.
- You may have the right to sue if an electric saw or another type of power tool malfunctions and causes you to cut yourself.
- You may have the right to sue if a tire is defective and causes you to be injured in a car accident.
- You may have the right to sue if a prescription or over-the-counter medicine causes you to suffer a serious injury despite taking it exactly as indicated.
The product liability law does not limit itself to a particular type of item or good. It can cover anything from coffee makers and e-cigarettes to cars, drones, semi-trucks, and even airplanes. There are no restrictions on price or size when it comes to a product liability or defect lawsuit. Furthermore, a faulty, defective, or mislabeled product could be something that folks use every day, something used by professionals in an industrial setting, or even something a professional would use when performing a specific service (like an IUD device implanted by an OBGYN).
What types of product liability claims do we handle?
At Martinian & Associates, we handle virtually every type of product liability or defect claim. Some of the most common product liability lawsuits we are available 24/7 to help with include:
- Defective cars, trucks, motorcycles
- Defective drones
- Defective electronics or appliances
- Defective machinery/equipment
- Defective tools
- Defective medical devices
- Defective drugs
- Defective tires
- Defective e-cigarettes
- Defective fire extinguishers
- Defective child products
- Defective furniture
- Defective eye drops or household items
If you’ve been injured by a product that was defective or malfunctioned, contact the experienced California product liability attorneys at Martinian & Associates today via 323-850-1900 to discuss your claim.
Do I have a valid product liability claim for financial compensation?
You can sue in civil court if you have been injured by a product you bought or one that was used when someone else provided a service to you. In product liability suits, defendants can include manufacturers and others who created or sold the product. They are responsible for any harm caused by the product to the plaintiff. In product liability suits, defendants may be ordered to pay damages for the harm that has been (or will be) suffered by the plaintiff, such as medical costs, lost wages in both the past and future, pain and suffering, and more.
Product liability laws not only help compensate victims but also hold product retailers, manufacturers, and designers accountable.
On a case-by-case basis, product liability suits can differ greatly in terms of the type of injury, accident circumstances, and severity of damage. A simple lawsuit could involve a recall of a defective product. However, a complex case might involve a product that injured many people but the manufacturer denied any wrongdoing.
There are typically three types of product liability lawsuits:
- Failure to warn: The manufacturer may be held responsible for a product that does not have the correct labeling or instructions on how to use it. Warning consumers about possible hazards and providing instructions for correct product usage can result in serious or fatal injuries or even wrongful deaths. It can also include failing to warn of foreseeable misuse. For example, electronics or electrical appliances will often carry labels that read “Do NOT put in water.”
- Manufacturing defects: Manufacturing defects are errors that occur during the production of a product. These can be extremely dangerous, like a defective airbag, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, or smoke alarm. Design defects are different from manufacturing defects because there is no problem with the design of the product. Instead, the error is in the manufacturing process that can make the product dangerous for consumers. Manufacturing defects are often caused by using substandard parts in order to reduce costs.
- Design flaws or defects: These claims can involve any product that a consumer buys or uses. For example, poorly designed vehicles, child products with flaws, safety equipment designed incorrectly, etc. These claims are made for products that have a flawed design, such as medical devices and counterfeit batteries used in electronic cigarettes.
Injured victims often have a right to receive large sums of cash to compensate them for their injuries, regardless of how complex the lawsuit is or what type of product was involved.
What should I do after being injured by a defective product?
The most important step to take after any injury is receiving medical care. Do not wait – go to the emergency room or an urgent care center immediately after you suffer an injury. This incredibly important step can help ensure that you recover a maximum financial damages award for your product liability injury.
Once your health has been attended to, you should try to take as many of the following steps as possible:
- Take photos and videos of your injuries – doctors and nurses might take photos during your exam, but it’s important for you to also capture your own images and videos of any injury suffered as a result of a defective product.
- Gather all product warranty or purchase information (receipts, order forms, etc.)
- Gather contact information from any witnesses who were present when the product liability injury occurred – this includes driver’s licenses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
- Gather written statements from those witnesses – any information that can help corroborate how you were injured can be useful.
- Gather information related to your damages/losses – medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are all likely after a product liability injury. Accordingly, it’s important to compile this information – whether through bills, receipts, etc. – so your personal injury attorney will be able to include them in your eventual civil claim.
- Contact the product liability attorneys at Martinian & Associates – never speak to an insurance adjuster or a representative of the company that sold, manufactured, or produced the defective product without having an experienced lawyer from M&A present. Additionally, never accept a cash settlement or agree to make a statement for any official record without having one of our dedicated Los Angeles product liability attorneys by your side.
Examples of major product liability lawsuits in the United States
Product liability lawsuits can lead to substantial settlements or verdicts – often worth millions and even billions of dollars. Some of the most high-profile product liability cases in U.S. history include:
- General Motors vehicle: The families of six victims filed a lawsuit against General Motors in August 1999. They claimed that a faulty fuel tank on GM's 1979 Chevrolet Malibu was responsible for explosions that killed the victims. The plaintiffs received $4.9 Billion as damages.
- Talc product: In the 2018 case Lanzo v. Imerys Talc America a New Jersey juror awarded plaintiff Mr. Lanzo $117 million in damages. In his lawsuit, Mr. Lanzo claimed that his cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos found in the talc products of the defendant.
- Johnson & Johnson baby powder: Martinez v. Johnson & Johnson, a Missouri jury award $4.6 Billion product liability victims. Johnson & Johnson was sued by 22 plaintiffs for the defective talcum powder that caused ovarian carcinoma in women who used it regularly. Each victim received $25 million. The case centered on the allegation that Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused the ovarian cancer of the women. Jurors calculated the $4.14bn punitive damages by multiplying $70m Johnson & Johnson made selling baby powder over a year by 43 years since the company said the powder didn't contain asbestos. Cecilia Martinez said that she hoped Johnson & Johnson "would make changes to protect mothers, babies, and children." Martinez was diagnosed in 2011 with cancer.
- Monsanto/Roundup: Johnson, v. Monsanto Co. A California jury awarded Dewayne Johnson 289 million in damages after the Roundup product caused him harm. Mr. Johnson's lawsuit was the first of the Roundup-cancer-lawsuits to make it to trial. He claimed that Roundup exposure caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The award included $39 million to compensate Mr. Johnson's injuries and other harms, while the remaining $250 was for punitive damages because the jury found Monsanto failed to warn consumers of Roundup's cancer-causing properties.
- Johnson & Johnson antipsychotic drug: In October 2019, a Philadelphia jury found that Johnson & Johnson had marketed its antipsychotic, Risperdal, in a misleading manner. The lawsuit was filed by male plaintiffs that developed gynecomastia after taking the drug. Risperdal is intended to treat Autism symptoms. The lawsuit centered on the fact that the company falsely advertised the drug, and failed to inform patients of its side effects. The lawsuit accused the company as well of falsely advertising the drug to children, and failing to inform doctors about the side effects. The jury awarded $8 billion to the plaintiffs.
- General Motors class action: In Anderson V. General Motors a California class action lawsuit from 1985, a jury awarded $4.9 billion to six burn victims. The jury determined that GM's defective fuel system was responsible for the injuries of six burn victims.
- AndroGel lawsuit: A jury in July 2017 rendered a 150 million verdict versus AbbVie. The producers of AndroGel testosterone gel. The jury determined that AbbVie misrepresented the risks of the gel. These included heart attacks and blood clots. The entire $150 million verdict was punitive damages. There were never any compensatory damages awarded.
Martinian & Associates: California’s leading product liability lawyers
The team of product liability and defect attorneys at Martinian & Associates has over 25 years of experience helping victims recover maximized settlements and verdicts. Our dedicated and top-rated product liability lawyers are available 24/7 for free and confidential consultations. Don’t wait to file your defective product claim – contact the experienced and proven team of personal injury attorneys at Martinian & Associates today to ensure that your case has the best chance of success.
In California, a victim of product liability has a limited window of time to file a claim and recover the financial compensation they deserve. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that you are injured by a defective product. In other words, from the day you suffer a product defect injury, the clock is ticking and you only have two years to file your civil lawsuit for damages.
However, the Martinian & Associates team strongly encourages all product liability victims to file claims as soon as possible. Rather than waiting, contact us immediately after you’ve received medical treatment for your injury. Doing so will help ensure you receive the medical care you need to address your condition and also support your case. Medical records can provide critical evidence which will allow our investigators to conduct a thorough and rigorous examination and determine the degree of liability that will be placed on the at-fault party (defendant) who either sold, manufactured, or produced the product that harmed you.
Contact a Martinian & Associates product liability lawyer for a free consultation today via 323-850-1900 to discuss your claim. Bringing a successful product liability case requires the knowledge, skill, and ability of a proven attorney from Martinian & Associates. Don’t settle for anything less than our seasoned team of personal injury and product liability lawyers. We will fight tirelessly to recover the largest possible cash settlement based on the harm you endured.
Martinian & Associates is a leading Los Angeles product liability and defect firm representing victims throughout California. Reach out to a member of the M&A team today to learn more. We’ve helped injured victims like you recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts, and we’ll fight aggressively to get you the maximum cash settlement you deserve for your product liability injury.