Fighting for Victims of Dangerous Product Defects
When a product is defective, it often takes a catastrophic injury for the company to discover that the product is not safe for consumers to use. Any product can be defective, but those products intended for daily use – like cars, tires, prescription drugs, heating systems, and appliances – pose particular risks because these defects are often unexpected.
Even if it’s obvious that a product failed and injured someone, the nature of the defect isn’t always clear. When victims of a defective product seek justice and compensation for their injuries, they need to retain an attorney with the resources and experience to pick apart the facts of the product defect, identify the party responsible for the defect, bring that party to the table, and make sure the party pays its fair share.
At McKAY Law, our product liability lawyers understand that seriously injured people must focus on healing. We represent clients whose lives were permanently altered by an injury caused by defective products. Our team has investigated and analyzed countless accidents that were related to product defects, using our vast resources to investigate products and uncover evidence proving that defects caused our clients’ injuries.
Who Is Liable for Defective Products?
Under most state and federal law, there can be multiple parties responsible for defective products. Manufacturers, designers, distributors, and sales outlets are all strictly liable for the defective products they market and any injuries those defects cause.
These are the three main types of defective product cases:
- Design defect:Occurs when a product is produced according to design specifications but doesn’t meet a consumer’s expectations for safety, or the risks of harm are greater than the benefits.
- Manufacturing defect:Occurs when the manufactured product does not match safe design specifications.
- Inadequate warning defects:Occurs when the manufacturer failed to provide clear instructions for safe product use and failed to adequately warn about hidden dangers.
Consumers interact with products every day, so safety is a critical issue. National product defect laws recognize this fact. While in some cases an injured party must prove negligence, any entities in the chain of creation, distribution, and marketing are strictly liable when their defective products cause injuries.
Types of Product Defects
Here are a few of the most common product defect categories:
- Vehicle injuries:Defective autos, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, and other vehicles can cause brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and other catastrophic injuries. The NHTSA reports that auto and truck defects contribute to accidents, but they don’t track the numbers, except for high-profile defect cases such as those involving Takata airbags.
- Consumer product injuries:The Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks all reported consumer product defect complaints. These product-related injury lists include toys, appliances, electronic devices, recreation equipment, nursery furnishings, detergent packs, playground fixtures, blinds, curtains, and many others.
- Scaffolding injuries:Scaffolding contributes to thousands of construction fall injuries each year. Metal units are a factor in construction and window washer electrical contact injuries as well. Scaffolding incidents cause falls from significant heights, so they often result in catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Scaffold-related electrical injuries often cause severe burns and fatalities.
- Manufacturing equipment injuries:Despite decades of safety campaigns, annual OSHA statistics regularly document catastrophic manufacturing injuries. Power presses, meat cutters, saws, and other machines common to manufacturing and meat processing operations can crush and amputate limbs.
- Drug and medical device injuries: Drugs and devices produce a wide variety of expected and unexpected side effects and fatalities. Liability is often contingent on whether or not a patient received adequate warnings.
At McKay Law, our attorneys are currently accepting the following product liability cases:
- Seat back failure
- Roof crush
- Auto defects
- Car fires
- Defective child car seats
- Gas wall heaters
- Defective airbags
- Seat belt failures
- Tire failures
- DePuy hip replacements
- Sudden acceleration
- Defective door latches
What Damages Can I Recover for Product Defect Injuries?
Defective products can injure both users and bystanders. Victims recovering from serious product-related injuries must manage costly medical treatments, lengthy disabilities, and lost income. Their families must endure the difficulty of caring for their loved ones. Those with the most catastrophic injuries spend their lifetimes enduring costly treatment regimens, surgeries, rehabilitation, permanent disabilities, and reduced earning capacities.
Damages in a product liability lawsuit can include:
- Economic damages:An injured person’s economic damages are calculated based on out-of-pocket expenses. They may include lost wages, future lost wages, medical treatment, physical therapy, surgeries, psychological therapy, medication, orthopedic devices, mobility devices, transportation costs, and costs to replace household services.
- General damages:Although general damages are difficult to measure, they are a crucial element of any damage claim. They’re based on the emotional and personal impact of a person’s injuries on their lives. A general damage settlement assigns a value to pain, suffering, disabilities, changes to spousal and family relationships, and other considerations.
- Punitive damages:In appropriate cases, judges and juries may award punitive damages to punish a product manufacturer when evidence shows their actions amounted to fraud.
Investigating a Product Defect Case
As with all complex cases, product defect investigations require intense focus, diligence, and attention to detail. Our in-house investigator and outside labs and experts have provided the support we needed to uncover evidence and maintain our professional investigative standards.
Here are some of the key elements in a product liability case:
- Product retrieval: The defective product is the key evidence in a product defect case. Our investigator has proven effective at retrieving products for expert non-destructive testing. We have stored defective products in a designated evidence warehouse. When appropriate, our facility also accommodates judges, juries, and defense counsel for demonstrations that show how defective products injured our clients.
- Witness statements: Witnesses often provide information to corroborate our clients’ version of events. Witnesses are often aware of details our clients missed because of their injuries. We’ve relied on our investigators to obtain statements promptly, before witnesses relocate or forgot what they saw.
- Site investigation: Our investigator has taken photographs, created diagrams, and documented the details used to create courtroom exhibits. They’ve completed incident site investigations at residential, commercial, and construction sites, public transportation venues, street intersections, and other incident sites.
- Machine/equipment maintenance records: When industrial machines cause employee injuries, our investigator has photographed the equipment and reviewed its maintenance and repair logs.
- Formal reports: Our investigator has obtained fire reports, police accident reports, and other formal records. These documents sometimes pinpoint a defective product as the initiating cause.
- Government data and reports: Government agencies such as OSHA, CDC, NHSTA, and CPSC compile injury and causation statistics. CPSC also documents individual consumer complaints. OSHA investigates serious work-related injuries. Its employer citations and investigative reports document equipment defects and related workplace safety injuries. Our investigators have researched appropriate government data sources for relevant information. Where applicable or necessary, they have obtained OSHA investigative reports under the Freedom of Information Act.
Case Study: Investigating Toyota Vehicle Defects
In 2010, defects were causing several Toyota vehicle models to suddenly accelerate on their own. Toyota recalled about eight-million vehicles for repairs, but not before at least 89 died in crashes and 57 suffered injuries. McKay Law participated in litigation that ultimately resulted in a $1.2 billion settlement, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied a record $17.35 million fine against the company. Our firm partner Christine Spagnoli also recovered $4.9 billion from General Motors for a defective fuel system that burned four children and two adults—one of the largest product liability verdicts in American judicial history.
Millions Recovered in Past Product Defect Injury Cases
At McKay Law, we believe that manufacturers and others involved in the manufacture and sale of a product should pay for the damages their defective products cause. Product defect cases are complex, and proving that a specific defect caused a specific injury can pose extraordinary difficulties. Our Los Angeles product liability attorneys, however, understand the legal and medical issues and the evidence required to prove a product defect case.
Through hard work and determination, our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments in complex product defect cases. While our past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, we are proud to share some of our recent case successes.
Some past successes in product liability law:
- $7.8 million settlement: A defectively designed and manufactured floating rock grinding machine amputated a worker’s leg.
- $5.5 million settlement: A morphine pump malfunctioned, causing brain damage when it pumped its entire contents into the plaintiff.
- $4.9 million binding arbitration: A plaintiff was injured on a Ferris wheel at Kingdom Amusement Park.
- $4.1 million verdict: A defective playground swing caused a 12-year-old child’s head injury. The court awarded damages against a San Diego School.
- $3.4 million settlement: A plaintiff couple sustained serious injuries while jumping onto a moving trolley. The case settled after our firm filed a suit for damages due to a design defect that forced riders to jump through trolley cars.
Why Other Law Firms Refer Cases to Us
Product defect cases require a keen ability to analyze an injury and prove a causal connection to a defective product. Manufacturers often have prior knowledge of design, manufacturing, and warning defects, and even when they do, there’s often a time delay between this initial awareness and public notification about the problem. When a manufacturer doesn’t acknowledge a defect, it may prove difficult, at first, to make this defect apparent to the court. That’s just one of the challenges of handling a complex product defect case—but one at which McKay Law, has proved adept.
In other words, our legal and investigative teams have done what was necessary to prove defects and implement winning strategies for our injured clients:
- We have a track record of multi-million-dollar settlements.
- Our skilled in-house investigator has uncovered evidence, witnesses, and retrieved critical information.
- Our litigators have resolved cases in the courtroom when negotiation proved ineffective.
- We’ve won complex product defect cases in the courtroom against corporate defendants and their insurance companies, including against large auto manufacturers.
- Our successes with product defects, catastrophic injuries, truck accidents, and other serious cases affirm our standing as a trusted National law firm.
- We represent plaintiffs only. Our focus on severely injured people and their families allows us to direct our time, energy, and resources toward resolving the most catastrophic injury cases.
How Much Does Representation Cost?
When you decide to file a product liability claim, we meet with you for a free initial consultation and determine if our law firm can help you. Our attorneys have often handled product defect cases on a contingency basis, meaning that we do not charge a fee unless we settle a case or win in court. When we represent a client, we agree in advance upon how we will be paid for our services.
Contact McKay Law
Our national personal injury law firm has helped many seriously injured people recover damages for brain trauma, burn injuries, amputations, asphyxiations, and other catastrophic injuries caused by defective products. We have also represented families in wrongful death actions against responsible manufacturers. We’ve worked hard to produce the best outcomes for our clients – and we will seek to do the same for you and your loved ones.
Why McKay Law?
Millions in recoveries for our clients.
More than 13 years of combined experience in the law industry.