One of the biggest misconceptions about product liability law in California and elsewhere in the United States is that you cannot sue a manufacturer, seller, distributor, or any other liable party if you have not suffered a physical injury.
But our California product liability attorney has something to tell you: While it is true that some form of injury is required to bring a product liability claim, a legally compensable injury is not necessarily a physical injury.
In other words, if you want to sue a manufacturer for a defective or dangerous product, you do not necessarily have to prove that you suffered physical harm. A financial injury could suffice as well.
So answering your question, “Can I sue a product manufacturer for product liability if I wasn’t injured?” Yes, you can. Let our experienced product liability lawyer in California from Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation explain how you may be eligible to bring a product liability lawsuit even if the product did not cause you any physical injury.
How You Can Sue For Product Liability Even If You Weren’t Injured
Unlike most personal injury cases, which are based on the negligence standard, product liability cases are based on the legal doctrine of “strict liability.” Regardless of whether you encountered a product with a manufacturing defect, design defect, or no adequate warning for danger, you can bring a product liability lawsuit as long as your case meets the following criteria:
- The product contains a defect (manufacturing, design, or warning) that makes the product unreasonably dangerous to a reasonable consumer who used the product in a foreseeable manner
- The defect caused injury or loss to a reasonably foreseeable user.
So here’s where it gets tricky. Can you actually sue a manufacturer, seller, distributor – and/or any other party in the chain of distribution – if you were not injured by the product? “Contrary to the popular belief, yes, you can,” says our California product liability lawyer.
But how can it be so if California’s product liability law says that a plaintiff can sue the defendant only if the defect “causes injury to a reasonably foreseeable user of the product”? The reason why so many people (wrongly) believe that you can sue for product liability only if you were injured is rooted in their interpretation of California’s product liability law.
Although the law says you can sue for product liability only if the defect causes “injury,” that legally compensable injury is not necessarily a physical injury. “It could also be a financial injury, or emotional injury, for that matter,” says our product liability attorney in California.
Filing A Product Liability Claim If You Didn’t Sustain Physical Injury
Let’s review an example. You purchased an iPhone charger that turned out to be defective. You brought it home and plugged it into your iPhone. The second you did it, the charger caught fire and exploded, causing irreparable damage to your iPhone X and burning a sizeable area of the table where it was placed. On top of that, it destroyed the outlet for the charger.
Although you were not harmed, you have incurred financial losses because of that defective iPhone charger. So does it mean that you will not be able to seek compensation for property damage just because you have not sustained a physical injury?
Our California product liability lawyer explains that you can file a product liability claim as long as you can prove that the charger was defective or unreasonably dangerous and that it was defective or unreasonably dangerous before it left the manufacturer’s or seller’s possession.
Calculating Damages If Your Product Liability Case Doesn’t Involve Injury
Since the defective charger did cause financial damage to you, you do have the right to sue the manufacturer and other liable parties in the chain of distribution. Let’s calculate the losses. So if the iPhone X cost $900, the outlet cost $3, and the table cost $200, your damages caused by the defective charger amount to $1,103, which means you have a legitimate product liability claim even though you were not injured.
Needless to say, had you been injured by the defective product the value of your product liability claim would rise considerably. Besides compensating for the medical expenses associated with the medical treatment of your injury, your product liability attorney in California could also help you recover pain and suffering damages and other non-economic damages.
Let our lawyers from Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation evaluate your particular case and determine whether or not you can sue for product liability if you were not injured by the defective product. Schedule a free consultation by calling 818-783-5757 today.