Can You Sue A Company For Putting You In Danger?
Yes, you can sue a company for putting you in danger. You might think that you can only sue individuals for putting you in danger, but you can sue companies as well.
There are many situations in which you can sue a company for putting you in danger, and these situations can lead to lawsuits claiming multiple causes of action. You can sue a company if you’re injured by a dangerous condition the company knew or should have known about but failed to fix or warn about. You can sue a company if it negligently hires an employee who injures you. You can sue a company if you are injured by a defective product that it manufactured, distributed or sold. You can sue a company if your property was damaged by a fire it started.
There are many different circumstances under which you can sue a company. However, if a company has caused you to be injured, you are unlikely to win in a lawsuit against them if you don’t have strong, experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen on your side. Without battle-tested personal injury attorneys on your side, your case is likely to go to court, where you’re likely to lose. With an aggressive, seasoned personal injury law firm like Nadrich & Cohen with a reputation for winning in court on your side, companies are likely to settle out of court with you to avoid wasting time and money in court.
Best of all, personal injury lawyers typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning no fee is charged until and unless they obtain financial compensation for you. This means that anyone can afford a personal injury lawyer if they’ve been injured by a company.
There are numerous reasons one can sue a company in California, including:
One of the most common reasons that companies are sued is because they manufactured, sold or distributed a defective product. Drugs, medical devices and foods are products which commonly lead to product defect lawsuits.
Most personal injury lawsuits in California center on the question of if the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff to be injured. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care in order to prevent harm from occurring. Acting and failing to act can both be negligent, depending on the circumstances. California juries are asked to consider what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation when determining if a defendant was negligent.
Negligence can be difficult and complex to prove in court. However, when defective products are involved in California, lawsuits do not need to prove negligence in order to obtain damages from a defendant. Companies in California are strictly liable for any injuries caused by defective products they make, sell or distribute. Plaintiffs must only prove that a product was defective and that the defect caused their injuries to successfully obtain damages in a lawsuit.
Products with manufacturing defects are defective because something went wrong during the manufacturing process which made them unreasonably dangerous when used correctly or in a reasonably foreseeable way. An ingredient that was supposed to be in a product may have been left out of the product accidentally. An ingredient that wasn’t supposed to be in a product may have been introduced to a product accidentally. Inadequate manufacturing practices may cause a medical implant to fail prematurely. Improperly maintained assembly robots may cause brakes to fail, causing a serious car accident.
An example of a product which might cause injury due to a manufacturing defect would be a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers have been known to cause serious burn injuries when they explode, sending scalding hot food flying in all directions. These explosions can occur when gaskets, seals, lids, vents or locks are defective. These parts can be defective due to something going wrong during the manufacturing process.
A product has a manufacturing defect if it is different from the design or specifications intended by the manufacturer. A product has a manufacturing defect if it is different from the typical unit in the same line of products.
Experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen can help you prove that a product which injured you contains a manufacturing defect. Lawyers prove manufacturing defects by proving that:
- A product was made, distributed or sold by a defendant
- The product had a manufacturing defect when it left the possession of the defendant
- A plaintiff was hurt
- The manufacturing defect was a substantial factor in hurting the plaintiff
Evidence is necessary to prove anything in court, and manufacturing defects are no exception. The company who made, sold or distributed the product which injured you may be in possession of evidence you need to prove your case, such as quality assurance reports, witness testimony, product samples or product design plans.
Companies obviously won’t voluntarily give you this evidence if they know you’re going to use it to sue them. An experienced products liability law firm like Nadrich & Cohen can help you obtain this evidence by using the discovery process to legally force companies to hand over evidence which can boost your case. Lawyers who understand the discovery process can force companies to give depositions, give interrogatories, produce documents and more, and all of this evidence can help increase the chances of you successfully obtaining a recovery for your injuries.
Products with design defects can be defective despite nothing going wrong while they were being made. These products can be made and used properly, yet still be unreasonably dangerous as they are defective by design.
Products with design defects find their way onto the marketplace for many reasons. They may simply not be tested enough before being put into the marketplace. Companies may fail to consider safer alternatives to the products. Sometimes, unfortunately, companies know about design defects but choose to sell their products anyways in the name of profit.
Peloton Tread and Peloton Tread+ treadmills are examples of products with design defects. These treadmills can easily trap children and pets underneath the machine and pull them toward their rear rollers. Reported burns, scrapes, fractures and even deaths have been linked to these treadmills. This problem exists even in treadmills in these product lines which are manufactured and used properly.
Another example would be the Boppy Lounger Pillow which was found to pose a substantial suffocation risk to children. there is a recall and lawsuit that our product liability lawyers are assisting families with.
You need strong product liability lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen on your side to prove that a product with a design defect caused you to be injured. We can prove this by proving that:
- A product was manufactured, distributed or sold by a defendant
- This product didn’t perform as safely as an ordinary user would expect it to when it was used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable way
- You were harmed
- The product not performing as safely as an ordinary user would expect was a substantial reason you were harmed
Once we prove all of the above, juries are instructed to consider other factors when determining if a product has a design defect. We can prove:
- How severely someone can be injured by the product
- How likely injuries are to be caused by the product
- That safer, alternative designs were feasible when the product was made
- That these alternative designs were affordable
- That the advantages of these alternatives outweighed their disadvantages
Evidence is necessary to prove a design defect. Product liability attorneys like Nadrich & Cohen can help you obtain evidence like medical records, product testing/design documentation, and documents that companies provided regulatory agencies while their products were being approved. The evidence collection stage of a lawsuit can be long, complex and work-intensive, and you shouldn’t have to go it alone while you’re recovering from your injuries. You should call a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt by a product with a design defect so they can collect all the evidence necessary for you.
Failure To Warn Defects
A product contains a failure to warn defect if it is dangerous to consumers, no warning about this danger is present in the product’s labeling, advertising or marketing, and companies who made, sold or distributed the product know or should know about the danger.
Companies sometimes fail to warn about dangers their products pose because they simply don’t test them enough to discover the dangers. In this case, if it can be proven that the company should have known about the danger but didn’t because their product testing was inadequate, then the product has a failure to warn defect.
Unfortunately, sometimes products have failure to warn defects for a more sinister reason. Companies sometimes know their products are dangerous but intentionally fail to warn about it because they want to sell the product. Companies sometimes even calculate that doing so will make them more money than they’ll lose in lawsuits once the defect is discovered.
An example of a product with a failure to warn defect is the herbicide paraquat. Paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, and it is thought that it causes Parkinson’s disease via its reduction-oxidation properties. These reduction-oxidation properties have been known since at least 1933. It has been known since at least the 1960’s that these properties make paraquat toxic. Studies going back over a decade now have demonstrated a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that paraquat exposure while spraying, loading, mixing or being near paraquat may lead to Parkinson’s disease.
Despite all of this, paraquat’s labeling does not contain a warning that it can cause Parkinson’s disease, and it does not contain adequate instructions as to how users can protect themselves from it while spraying, loading, mixing or being near it.
You must prove the following in California to prove that a product contains a failure to warn defect:
- A product was manufactured, distributed or sold by a defendant
- The product had dangers that were known or should have been known about when the product was sold
- These dangers were substantial dangers when the product was used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable way
- Ordinary people wouldn’t recognize the dangers without proper warning
- A defendant didn’t instruct or warn about the dangers
- A plaintiff was hurt
- The lack of instructions or warnings was a substantial factor in the plaintiff being hurt
Seasoned products liability attorneys like Nadrich & Cohen can help you obtain the evidence you need to prove that a company failed to warn or instruct you about the risks associated with their product which injured you.
Those who own, lease, occupy or control property in California are legally obligated to keep their properties safe for anyone else who legally occupies the property. This applies to both individuals and companies who own, lease, occupy or control property.
This means that companies must exercise due diligence in discovering and fixing or warning about dangerous conditions on their property.
Those who are injured in California due to a dangerous condition on a company’s property can sue under premises liability law if the company knew or should have known about the dangerous condition yet failed to fix, protect others from or warn about the condition.
A common example of a dangerous condition which often leads to injuries is spilled liquid. When liquid is spilled on a property and a company fails to clean up the spill, protect others from the spill or warn about the spill, it can lead to someone slipping on the liquid and falling, injuring themselves.
The following must be proven to establish a successful premises liability claim in California:
- A defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled a property
- This defendant was negligent in their maintenance or use of the property
- A plaintiff was harmed
- The negligence of the defendant substantially caused the harm to the plaintiff
A defendant is negligent in the maintenance or use of a property when:
- A condition on the property made it unreasonably likely for harm to occur
- A defendant knew or should have known about the condition
- The defendant failed to repair the condition, protect against being hurt by the condition, or adequately warn about the condition
Those who own, lease, occupy or control property in California must use reasonable care to discover and repair, protect from or warn about unsafe conditions. Juries in California, when considering if reasonable care was used to discover and repair, protect from or warn about unsafe conditions, are asked to consider:
- The property location
- How likely it is someone would enter the property in the same way the plaintiff did
- How likely someone would be harmed
- How serious the harm would be likely to be
- If the defendant knew or should have known about the condition creating a harm risk
- How difficult it was to protect against the harm risk
- How much control the defendant had over the condition creating the risk of harm
Evidence like doctor’s notes, photographs, video, witness statements and accident reconstruction expert testimony is needed to prove premises liability cases. Experienced premises liability lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen can obtain this evidence for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
Negligent Hiring, Supervision Or Retention Of Employees
You can sue a company if you were injured by an employee who was negligently hired, supervised or retained by the company.
Companies who hire employees have a duty of care to exercise reasonable care when hiring, supervising and retaining employees. This means they must behave as a reasonably careful company would behave when hiring, supervising and retaining employees.
An unfortunately common example of negligent hiring, supervision and retention of employees we see as sexual abuse lawyers is when priests are employed and allowed to be around children despite churches knowing they have abused children in the past. This can occur when churches fail to adequately investigate a priest’s past before hiring them, but, unfortunately, it also sometimes occurs when churches actively cover up sexual abuse in order to protect the church’s image.
The following must be proven in California to successfully establish a negligent hiring, supervision or retention of employee case:
- A defendant hired an employee
- The employee was unfit or incompetent to perform the work they were hired for
- The defendant knew or should have known the employee was unfit or incompetent and this created a risk to others
- The employee’s unfitness or incompetence harmed a plaintiff
- The defendant’s negligence in hiring, supervising or retaining the employee substantially caused the harm to the plaintiff
Certain companies have more than an ordinary duty of care when it comes to hiring, supervising and retaining employees. Schools have an especially stringent duty of care when it comes to protecting students from their employees. Taxi and limo companies must conduct criminal background checks on their drivers, and cannot hire drivers who have committed certain crimes such as violent crimes.
You can sue a company if a fire that a utility company is at fault for damages your property. The California law which allows you to sue in this circumstance is known as inverse condemnation.
California’s constitution states that “private property may be taken or damaged for a public use and only when just compensation, ascertained by a jury unless waived, has first been paid to, or into the court for, the owner.” An 1885 California Supreme Court ruling established that this allows owners of property to obtain financial compensation when public improvements cause harm to their property.
Many California wildfires in recent years have been caused by power lines belonging to utility companies such as PG&E or Southern California Edison. These power lines are considered public improvements, so when these power lines cause fires, the owners of property damaged by these fires can obtain financial compensation for the property damage.
An example of a utility company’s power lines causing a wildfire is the Dixie fire. CAL FIRE, on January 4, 2022, concluded that the Dixie fire was caused by a tree contacting PG&E power lines west of Cresta Dam, California. This fire ended up burning 963,309 acres of land and destroying 1,329 structures.
Those who have had property damaged by the Dixie fire are eligible for financial compensation from PG&E through the concept of inverse condemnation.
California courts have ruled that inverse condemnation applies to both public and private utilities who are responsible for wildfires.
How Much Does It Cost To Sue A Company That Injured Me?
Most personal injury lawyers who you can hire to sue a company that injured you are contingency fee lawyers. This means that a fee is not charged if a recovery is not obtained, and any fee charged is only charged once the recovery is obtained. No upfront fee is charged by contingency fee lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen.
The only fee charged by a contingency fee lawyer is a percentage of any recovery obtained for you. This means that you will not owe a contingency fee lawyer any money out of your own pocket.
How Long Do I Have To Sue A Company That Injured Me?
There is a time limit to sue a company that injured you in California. This time limit is known as a statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California is two years from the date of the injury, or one year from the date the injury was discovered, whichever comes later.
Failure to sue within this time frame can prevent you from obtaining financial compensation for your injuries. Many personal injury claims can be settled out of court before going to trial, but the process of negotiating with the insurance companies who typically pay out these claims can be a long, time-consuming one, and insurance companies will often attempt to intentionally drag out this process until the statute of limitations expires. It is therefore vital that you contact experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen right away if you have been injured due to the negligence or defective product of a company.