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3 things to know about proving your product liability case

You bought your 10-year-old son the hottest gift on the market for Christmas. He was so excited and played with it constantly for the first few days. It seemed to be working fine until the battery overheated and the toy began to heat up enough to cause your son's hands to severely burn.

The toy was defective and caused a serious injury to your child. Now, you are facing extensive medical bills and physical therapy once the burns have healed. While only time will heal your son, you may have options for getting the medical expenses paid. Since a defective product caused his injuries, you may be able receive compensation from the manufacturer.

Product liability law has special rules and theories that allow an injured person to recover damages. There are three theories that a person can use to sue a manufacturer or seller. In California, the three main categories of product liability are defective design, manufacturing defect, and lack of adequate warnings or instructions.

A product liability lawsuit can be a complicated procedure. It is important that you understand the state laws that govern this kind of civil action. A Valencia personal injury attorney can advise you on pursuing a successful case.

Read below for three things you should know to prove fault in a product liability case.

Strict liability doctrine

Usually, you have to prove that the person that caused the injury was careless or negligent. This is extremely hard to do when a product sold to the general public causes an injury. The strict liability doctrine allows a person to receive compensation caused by a defective product without proving that the manufacturer or seller was negligent.

Rules of the doctrine

In order to make a strict liability claim, three conditions must exist. First, the product must have a defect that the court considers "unreasonably dangerous." The defect must have caused the injury and it had to come into existence during the design, manufacture, or handling or shipping of the product.

Second, your son must have received the injury while using the product as the manufacturer intended. Third, at the time of the injury, the product had to be substantially unaltered from its original condition at the time you purchased it.


Manufacturers and sellers do have a defense against a liability claim. If you knew about the defect and still allowed your son to play with the product, you may have to give up your right to claim damages. In order to determine this, the manufacturer's or seller's insurance company will probably examine your statements regarding the toy to determine if you knew about the defect before your son was injured.

Before you pursue a product liability claim, be sure that you understand your rights and options in California.

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