Manufacturers have a duty of care to release products that are safe for consumers and operate as expected. The last thing you would expect is for a product to malfunction and cause a loved one’s death.
Moving forward from product liability accidents resulting in wrongful death can be excruciating. While nothing can replace your lost family member or friend, holding the product manufacturer accountable may provide a small amount of peace in the aftermath of your loved one’s death. You can use the funds from your settlement to cover time off work, funeral expenses, and other related costs.
Types of Product Liability Accidents That Can Lead to Wrongful Death
When you purchase a new product, you have no choice but to trust that the item is safe for use and will operate according to the instructions. When manufacturers release defective products, consumers are at risk of injury and even death.
Below are the primary types of product liability accidents that lead to wrongful death:
Design flaws sometimes impact products that are brand new to the market. When a manufacturer fails to design a product that operates safely or fails to recognize potential side effects and hazards within the product design, it is liable for accidents that occur.
Examples of design defects that can lead to wrongful death may include:
- Large pieces of furniture that are structurally unstable
- Poorly designed safeguards on power tools
- Infant cribs with widely spaced bars that allow babies to fit their heads through
- Electric lawnmowers with power buttons that are easy to press accidentally
Manufacturers have an obligation to conduct thorough testing and research to ensure that a new product design is safe and accounts for any potential hazards while using the product. Design defects may be obvious or only come about under specific circumstances, but in either case, the manufacturer’s duty to consumers was to predict such accidents and account for them in the design.
Manufacturing defects happen when a company designs a product safely yet fails to meet all of the necessary safety standards during production. These defects may occur due to a lack of employee training, malfunctioning machinery, or a lack of quality control measures in the assembly process. As a consequence, the product does not operate as a consumer expects it to, increasing the risk of accidents.
Common examples of manufacturing defects include:
- Missing components
- Incorrect assembly
- Poor material quality
Warning and Instruction Defects
Product manufacturers are also responsible for warning customers of the potential risks of using their equipment correctly or misusing it. All products must contain “legally adequate” warning labels that inform consumers of potential risks of incorrect use, the severity of those risks, and the potential effects.
When manufacturers fail to warn of risks altogether, fail to provide adequate warnings, or fail to provide thorough instructions that mitigate the risk, they are often liable for accidents that occur.
When Is a Manufacturer Responsible for Wrongful Death?
If a product defect led to your loved one’s death, you may be able to hold the manufacturer financially liable. You’ll need to prove strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
If your loved one used the product as intended but an accident occurred, you may be able to claim strict liability against the product manufacturer. Showing that the product was defective in some way is enough to file a product liability claim, even if negligence was not at play.
If the product manufacturer failed to execute reasonable care when designing or manufacturing the product, causing an accident, it may be negligent. While you don’t need to prove negligence in product liability lawsuits, doing so could assist your claim and provide further evidence of the manufacturer’s liability.
Breach of Warranty
You can also claim a breach of warranty as part of your product liability claim. Manufacturers have a duty to uphold the claims and promises they make about their products. Failing to adhere to these promises may be a legal breach of warranty or breach of contract, and you may be able to claim damages.
Filing a Product Liability Claim or Lawsuit in California
In California, a surviving family member can file a claim for product liability accidents resulting in wrongful death. This family member may be the victim’s:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving child
If you have one of these relationships to the victim, you can proceed with filing a product liability claim. Follow these steps:
- Understand the statute of limitations: You must follow product liability claims for wrongful death within two years of the victim’s date of death.
- Hire an attorney: Successful wrongful death claims can lead to thousands of dollars in compensation, so you shouldn’t approach yours lightly. Hire a wrongful death attorney to ensure that you navigate this process strategically.
- Report the defective product: Reach out to the product manufacturer to report the wrongful death accident and the product defect that caused the injury. Your attorney can help you avoid saying the wrong thing when speaking with the manufacturer.
- File an insurance claim: Manufacturers should have liability insurance to cover accidents. Filing a claim is your first method of seeking compensation, but depending on the coverage, a claim may not sufficiently cover expenses associated with the accident.
- File a product liability lawsuit: Taking legal action can help you increase your compensation and cover non-economic losses like loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Your attorney can walk you through the legal process and improve your chances of success.
Your compensation process may take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year, depending on your type of claim and the manufacturer’s cooperation.
Work with an Experienced Product Liability Attorney in Newport Beach, CA
Product liability accidents resulting in wrongful death can be tragic, stressful, and overwhelming. You need a committed wrongful death attorney to walk you through the compensation process while you take time to grieve your loved one’s death.
Contact Khalil Law Group today at 714-617-7870 today to schedule a free consultation.