One of the most common types of product liability claims in California is the “failure to warn” case. According to the law, a manufacturer, distributor, and other parties involved in the distribution chain of distribution are required to provide adequate warnings on a product.
What Elements Must the Plaintiff Prove to Establish the a Caim for a Defective Warning?
The plaintiff must prove the following element to establish the failure to warn claim in California
- Defendant manufactured, sold or distributed a product
- The product had possible risks that the defendant knew or should have reasonably known
- The product’s risks presented an extensive danger when it was used in a reasonably foreseeable way
- Defendant didn’t adequately warn consumers of the product’s defects and potential risks
- The plaintiff was harmed as a result of the absence of adequate warnings or instructions or warnings
How to Use the Product in a Reasonably Foreseeable Way?
The plaintiff must be able to prove that he used the product was something the manufacturer could have predicted but failed to warn about the potential harm of using the product in such a way. In addition to that, it is important to prove that the risks of this particular use were not obvious to you as a consumer.
Warnings on a Product Must Be Visible and Clear
Under California product liability laws, the warning of harm or risk of injury must be:
- written in English
- understandable to the regular consumer
- must be in a visible place
Manufacturers and Other Parties Involved in the Chain of Distribution Must Be Informed and Discover Product’s Risks
The manufacturer/distributor is under a duty to stay informed about its product and he can’t escape legal liability for a failure to warn just because he was uninformed of the risk. In case the manufacturer/distributor could have discovered the risk through investigation, research, or testing he will be liable for failing to warn the consumer about a risk he should have reasonably known about. Furthermore, if any new information is discovered, it is also the manufacturer’s responsibility to warn consumers that have already purchased a product about the new risks.
What is the Statute of Limitations to Bring the Claim Against the Manufacturer/Distributor?
Under California’s statute of limitations, the plaintiff generally has two years from the date of the injury to bring the claim against the manufacturer/distributor.
This period can be extended in case:
- the plaintiff was less than eighteen years old
- the defendant was out-of-state
- the plaintiff was legally incompetent at the time of the injury
What Types of Damages Can the Plaintiff Recover?
The plaintiff can be able to recover the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering