Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide safe products for consumers; however, when these companies decide to put profits over the health and safety of people, they should be held liable for their actions. These dangerous products could affect anyone resulting in a personal injury.

Consumers are protected from defective products or services by the product liability law. This means that the manufacturer or seller should be held liable once a defective product reaches consumers. A product that does not meet the expectations of the consumer and doesn’t deliver what was promised is a defective product.

While there is no federal liability law, there are state laws that encompass issues on breach of warranty, negligence, and liability.

One common example is defective devices in cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Many people have been severely injured and even killed when these auto parts cause accidents or explosions. Many defective medical devices have also been released on the market. From DePuy hip replacements to transvaginal mesh to knee replacements, you should not have to pay any medical costs if you were injured by one of these devices. In the most severe accident cases, the obvious sources of compensation will often prove inadequate to cover the full range of your losses.

At Shea & Shea – A Professional Law Corporation, our attorneys consider the prospects of a product liability claim as a matter of course in auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, industrial or construction site injuries, and many other negligence situations. To find out how we can help you with your product liability claim, call our firm’s San Jose office at (408) 292-2434.

What are the Types of Product Defects?

In any complaint, the plaintiff must prove that the defective products caused harm, and in serious cases, were unreasonably dangerous.

There are three types of product defects that qualify for a product liability lawsuit.

  • Design Defects – This goes deeper into the manufacturing process, all the way to actual design conceptualization. A design defect involves an inherent flaw in the product, as well as a foreseeable risk that could have been avoided with an alternative design; the product would still be economically feasible to make, and would still serve the same purpose as the original design. Let’s take for example a metal fan designed with a guard whose openings measure three-quarters of an inch wide. Unfortunately, the openings were wide enough that the consumer’s hand slipped inside and got caught on the blades. This causes him serious injuries and unnecessary medical bills. Your defective product attorney could argue that smaller openings could have been used. If the estimated cost of the smaller fan guards is cheaper than expected medical bills, then the alternative design is economically feasible.
  • Manufacturing Defects – This unintended defect can occur any time during assembly or manufacturing of the product. Even when all possible care and caution was exercised, the end product still departed from the intended design. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how careful the manufacturer was in designing the product, choosing the right materials, and creating quality assurance guidelines; the fact is, a poorly-made product still left the factory and reached the hands of the consumer. The principle of strict liability implies that the manufacturer is responsible for the consumer injured by a defective product.  These kinds of defects are relatively uncommon, thanks to regulatory and manufacturing controls set in production facilities. Manufacturing defects are also difficult to prove; take this example for instance – a plaintiff gets into a car accident and blames the car’s brake system. Can you prove that the product was defective, or could this have been from driver error? This is the job of product liability lawyers.
  • Marketing Defects – Even if a product was designed and made impeccably, something can still go wrong. Any manufacturer is expected to do the following: to warn users of any harm the product may cause, and to instruct users of how to properly use the product to avoid any harm. A warning should be clear, easy to understand, and placed in a conspicuous location. There is no specific format for warnings.

On the flip side, consumers have to abide by these warnings. If you don’t, there goes your product liability lawsuit down the drain. While not all products require warnings, many companies choose to include them anyway. Warnings are generally required in the following instances:

  • The product/s may present a danger
  • The manufacturer is aware of the possible danger
  • The danger may be present even when the product is used in its intended manner; and,
  • The danger may not be obvious to the consumer

Failure to warn the consumer constitutes a marketing defect and can be grounds for a lawsuit. A case evaluation will be made by your product liability lawyer.

Who are the responsible parties for defective products?

Liability exists anywhere in the production chain, including but not limited to the following:

  • Product manufacturer
  • Party responsible for assembly and installation
  • Wholesaler
  • Retailer

Liability only applies to consumer products transacted through the legal course of the suppliers’ business.

Many Types Of Defective Products Can Cause Serious Injury

Our ability to prove a design or manufacturing defect by showing the poor performance of a safety component or structural element can increase the likelihood that you will receive the money damages you will need to cover the expenses generated by a long-term or permanent disability. Examples of the kinds of product liability cases we can handle, with or without another negligence claim against another defendant, include:

  • Motorcycle helmets
  • SUV rollovers
  • Sporting goods
  • Children’s products
  • Defective auto parts
  • Household heaters and electrical appliances
  • Industrial tools such as nail guns
  • Consumer power tools such as circular saws


Product liability litigation can be complex, and the presentation of an effective claim will depend a great deal on the engagement and active participation of experts. Under California law, the plaintiff in a product liability case based on defective product design must show the reasonable availability of a safe design alternative. Essentially, we must therefore reinvent the defendant’s product, and to do so can be expensive. At Shea & Shea – A Professional Law Corporation, our past success in personal injury litigation allows us to commit substantial forensic resources at our own risk so that we can prove every essential element of your claim. That means that we recover the costs of expert technical and engineering support in your case only if we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers, email our firm or call us directly at (408) 292-2434.

Other Service Areas We Serve:

Catastrophic Injury
Brain Injury
Spinal Cord Injury
Loss of Hearing
Los of Vision
Back Injury
Wrongful Death
Birth Injury
Pediatric Injury
Amputation Injury
Burn Injury

Areas We Serve:

San Jose | San Francisco | San Mateo | Santa Clara | Contra Costa | Alameda | Solano | Sonoma | Napa | Marin

Shea & Shea - A Professional Law Corporation 2007 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95128

P.: 408-292-2434
Fax: 408-292-1264
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