When we purchase products for our families – especially young children – we expect that those products will be safe to use. Defective products can be incredibly dangerous and even threaten the lives of customers. A Los Angeles family is considering taking legal action against Target following an incident with a defective product that was sold by the store. The incident involved a toddler and a toilet training seat. Reports indicate that the boy’s genitals got stuck to the potty training device. When this happened, the genitals were “lacerated and nearly dismembered.”
Liability for Defective Products
When a person is injured because of a defective product they may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their injuries. In California, any of the following parties can potentially be held financially responsible by a defective product injury lawsuit:
- The party that designed the defective product;
- The party that manufactured the defective product;
- The party that distributed the defective product; or
- The party that sold the defective product.
In reality, the Los Angeles family could name multiple parties as defendants in a product liability claim. Prince Lionheart is responsible for both designing and manufacturing the potty training device. If the family can prove that there is a defect in the product’s design, the company may be liable for damages. The Los Angeles family purchased the allegedly defective potty training seat at a Target store. Target is responsible for ensuring that the products it sells are safe. If the store did, in fact, sell a defective product that caused the boy’s injuries, they may also be liable for his injuries.
Grounds for Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits in California can be based on either negligence or strict liability. When a consumer is injured because of a defect in a product, the grounds for a lawsuit will generally be based on strict liability. In cases of strict liability, consumers do not have to prove that a company was negligent. Instead, the consumer will only have to prove that a product is defective. This means that a company that exercises care can be still be held legally responsible if their products are defective and cause injuries.
There are three primary ways that a company can be held strictly liable for harms caused by the products they sell: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn.
Design Defect: A product has a defective design when that product, when used as intended, does not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect. Design defects are inherent in the product itself, and not a result of the manufacturing process. Examples of a design defect could include miscalculating measurements or using inadequate materials.
Manufacturing Defect: A product has a manufacturing defect when it is not produced as designed. This could mean that the product differs from other items produced at the same time. Or, it could mean that the manufacturing process deviated from the design itself. Examples of a manufacturing defect could include using the wrong materials or failing to secure components together.
Failure to Warn: Some products contain dangerous components or pose a threat of harm if they are not used correctly. When companies are aware that their products could be dangerous to consumers they are required to issue a warning. Failure to issue a warning could result in liability for injuries that result.
Damages in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Defective products can result in serious and even life-threatening injuries. The Los Angeles family is lucky that the boy’s genitals remained intact and that he did not suffer a life-changing injury. Had the boy lost his genitals as a result of the defective product, the company (or companies) responsible for that training seat would likely have been faced with a million-dollar lawsuit. The family would have probably sought millions in non-economic damages to compensate the boy for the loss of his penis. This injury would likely cause him to endure unthinkable pain and suffering, emotional and social trauma, and extreme embarrassment. In California, these are all harms that can be compensated by an award of non-economic damages.
Even though the boy did not lose his genitals in the accident, he may still have serious pain and even difficulty using the organ. His family may still be able to recover a substantial amount of non-economic damages. In addition to these non-economic damages, they may also be entitled to economic damages. These are awarded to compensate victims for the financial losses they experience because of an injury. These can include medical bills, rehabilitation, corrective surgery, prosthetics, and nursing care. If an injury also forces a victim to miss time at work, economic damages can also be awarded to make up for lost wages.
Experienced Los Angeles Product Liability Attorneys
Product liability cases are complex and best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have been injured because of a defective product in Los Angeles do not hesitate to contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP for help. Over the past 17 years, we have helped thousands of clients just like you recover millions in compensation for their injuries. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn about how we may be able to help you, too.