Product Liability and Wrongful Death: What Every Consumer Should Know

Posted on 22nd June, 2024

Product Liability and Wrongful Death: What Every Consumer Should Know

Consumers, for the most part, do their research to trust the products they decide to buy. Whether they visit websites that carefully unbox and compare products or allow trusted influencers to direct their decisions - nowadays, rarely is a product purchased without a Google search happening beforehand.

In truth, having this capability in our hands is something we have learned to appreciate and lean on. This is why when a defective product is discovered to have caused the wrongful death or injury of one or more persons - it causes all of us to give pause.

Even more distressing is when a company is aware of a defect yet takes minimal action to inform consumers. In such cases, it's not just a matter of consumer awareness but a question of justice that needs to be addressed.

Understanding consumer rights is crucial in situations like these. In the United States, consumers have the right to expect that a product, when used as intended, will not cause harm. This is the essence of product liability laws, a legal framework that has evolved to safeguard consumer interests over the years. A competent personal injury attorney should always be well-versed in these laws to provide the best possible representation.

Recent Statistics Involving Defect Products

In 2022, over 12,700,000 were treated in emergency rooms within the US due to defective products. This number includes only those who sought treatment at an ER; therefore, we can't account for the many injuries that were likely treated at home and never reported. A closer look at these injuries reveals that the majority of those injured are the elderly and youth, both groups who merit more protection. The most surprising is that defective products, causing injury or harm, are discovered to be products that are assumed to be safe, such as televisions, beds, and cleaning products.

Defective products are not just found in the home but are often discovered at workplaces such as construction sites. According to NSC Injury Facts:

  • Products in the "home, structures, and construction" category are associated with the most injuries.
  • Of the over 4 million injuries in this category, "stairs, ramps, landings, and floors accounted for 71% of the injuries, totaling" close to 3 million.

That being said, the term "defective product" does not only revolve around products sold on a store shelf. In January of this year, a judge allowed the lawsuit of the families of 60 deceased youths to move forward against Snap in California. The families claim Snap provided a defective product that facilitates the trade of illegal drugs. This is the first time a lawsuit has been brought forward within these parameters against a social media company.

Framework of Wrongful Death Claims

If someone has lost a loved one due to the use of a product, the first thing an attorney will do is try to determine if the incident falls within the terms of "wrongful death." They will carefully consider the federal and state laws that govern liability and wrongful death.

It is essential that they know how to gather the critical elements of a case and can express these plainly to the person seeking justice. They will look at the complete picture that takes into consideration the:

  • duty of care
  • breach of duty
  • causations
  • damages

They also aim to determine which type of liability the potential case falls under, whether that is:

  • strict liability
  • negligence
  • breach of warranty
  • a combination of these

Is it Worth it to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?

First, no one should feel pressured to hire an attorney, but when doing so will aid in a person's recovery while protecting their legal rights, it is worth considering the matter.

Often, the adjusters of insurance companies shock the grieving family members the most. With little sensitivity, they call right after the catastrophic accident, with their main focus on protecting the interests of the companies they represent.

Your attorney can intercede on your behalf and become a protective wall between you and these outside intruders.

Second, a seasoned and compassionate wrongful death attorney will be empathetic to your loss. The experience they have gained over the years in helping others who have faced similar hardships will be evident in how they treat and care for you from the first day you meet them and continuously as they handle your case. For our law firm, we have found it to be essential to take the time to listen attentively to our clients. Each case we have handled is unique, and a key part of constructing a solid case is when a client feels comfortable expressing themselves to us freely.

Always remember, you have the right to ask any attorney you are considering to give you examples of wrongful death cases they have successfully handled in the past.

We understand the stress you and your family are facing. We want you to have the time you need to cope and the justice your loved one deserves. As experts in California's wrongful death law, our legal team at the Elk Grove-based O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm has a long record of skillfully handling wrongful death cases. Let us help you today.