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Do I need a lawyer to pursue a products liability case, such as with e-cigarettes, in California?

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Laurel L. Simes - Personal Injury - Products - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Laurel L. Simes

Located in San Francisco, CALevin Simes Abrams LLP

Phone: 800-501-2206
Fax: 415-981-1270

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The short answer is, yes. It is rarely, if ever, a good idea to try to represent yourself in court, and that is especially true in a products liability case, where a person has been harmed or injured by a defective product, whether it be an exploding e-cig or another defective product, or drug. 

1. Success in a product liability case requires an attorney with experience in litigating against companies who have put a harmful or defective product on the market.

Product liability law is, at the root, a commonsense issue: Companies that put out defective products should be held responsible for the damages those products cause. There have been thousands of trials across the country involving defective products, devices and drugs, which require an attorney with extensive experience in fighting these cases.  For that reason you need to have an experienced products liability attorney on your side to navigate the complicated legal and public policy issues presented in these cases. 

2. Lawyers take products liability cases on contingency basis, which means there is no fee unless there is a recovery to you.

Sometimes, people are reluctant to hire a lawyer because they worry that a lawyer will just run up a bill regardless of whether the case has actual merit, potentially leaving them without a financial recovery from the company and stuck with a large bill for the lawyer’s services.   This will not happen in products liability cases taken on contingency,  meaning that you will not be responsible for paying any fees until there is a recovery.   The benefit of this is that you know that a lawyer will not take on your case unless they believe that you have a legitimate chance of prevailing.

3. A lawyer knows what you need to craft a successful case.

When you have been suffering because of a defective product, you probably feel that your case is ironclad: all you will have to do in court is tell the judge and jury what has been happening and they will rule in your favor. However, this is unfortunately not the case with a products liability matter. For example in an exploding e-cig case you should preserve the device and any credit card, or other sales, photographs, information you have on video, etc. In addition to dealing with legal issues, it is important to produce every piece of evidence possible. With medication, you want to have the pill bottle, or prescription record. It might not seem essential to hold on to these items but they can prove critical in identifying a particular product or defendant.

In closing, even lawyers do not represent themselves in court. It is just not a good idea. When you have suffered harm or injury from a malfunctioning or defective product, you should always call an attorney to help you.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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