The children of an Anaheim man who was killed in a tragic workplace accident were recently awarded $30 million in damages for the loss of their father. The award was handed down by a jury after deliberations concluded in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the children’s’ mother. The lawsuit alleged that the man’s death was a result of a defect in a rock crushing machine he used at work. The company responsible for manufacturing the machine was found guilty in the jury trial and ordered to compensate the man’s young children for his untimely death.
Any company that puts a product on the market for consumer use has an obligation to make sure that it is safe. California’s product liability laws allow victims who are injured by defective products to file personal injury lawsuits against responsible companies. Companies may be held liable for injuries caused by dangerous or defective products if they design, manufacture, distribute, or sell those products.
California’s product liability laws explain that personal injury lawsuits can be based on strict liability or negligence.
Strict Liability: Companies can be strictly liable for any defects in their products that harm consumers. Strict liability means that victims do not have to prove that a company was negligent or misbehaved in any way. If the company knew or should have known about the defect or dangerousness of the product, but failed to warn or protect its consumers, it can be held financially responsible. Strict liability encourages companies to put quality products on the market.
Negligence: Companies can also be held responsible for injuries caused by its own negligence. If a company breaches the duty of care it owes to its consumers, it can be required to pay damages for harms that result.
The Anaheim family was awarded $30 million in damages because the machine their father used at work was defective. California’s product liability laws explain that there are three primary types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.
Design Defect: Design defects exist when a product is dangerous because of its blueprint and design. Products containing design defects will be dangerous even if they are manufactured with the utmost care. Design defects may include calling for faulty or inadequate materials or failing to calculate measurements properly.
Manufacturing Defect: Manufacturing defects exist when a product is designed properly, but something goes wrong when the item is being built. For example, a product may be considered to have a manufacturing defect if the wrong materials are used in its construction or the item is not put together firmly.
Failure to Warn: Companies have an obligation to disclose potentially dangerous aspects of their products. If a consumer would not be likely to discover the defect or danger on their own, a company must provide a warning. Failure to warn about a danger can result in financial liability.
Absolutely. In fact, many accidents have more than one contributing factor. In California, any person who contributes to the cause of an accident can be held responsible for resulting harm. Each at-fault party is simply held responsible to the degree they caused the accident.
For example, the company responsible for manufacturing the defective machine was found to be 70 percent responsible for the Anaheim man’s death. The man’s employer was determined to be responsible for the remaining 30 percent of fault. As a result, the manufacturer will be responsible for 70 percent of the $30 million award, while the employer will be required to foot 30 percent of that bill.
Have you been injured because of a defective product in Anaheim? Call the experienced Anaheim personal injury attorneys at Glotzer & Leib, LLP for help filing a personal injury claim. We understand how serious an unexpected injury can be and will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated. You only have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim, so do not hesitate to call us today.
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