I was grinding boiled spinach and my food processor malfunctioned. The content came out of air valve and splattered on my face and neck. Because of that I had some burns and had to take 1 week leave from office ( Technically I was injured for 2 weeks, but I was in the process of switcing job and for 1 week I was not employed). I reported it to the manufacturer, they took my unit to inspect and came with a conclusion that I did not close the lid properly. Nevertheless they agreed to pay me $500. I asked them for $5000(approx) for my medical expenses and loss of pay which I have given all the receipts for and $5000 for Pain and suffering. I am planing to sue them in Small claims court. Do I have a chance of winning the case?
Always a chance, but if you do win, they can appeal it. You would either have to prove that there was a defect in the actual mfg of this specific unit, or a defect in the design that allowed this event to occur. You will need expert evidence to prove either of those.
You can also claim they provided inadequate instructions, or didn't warn of potential dangers. Look at the papers/manual that came with the machine, especially those that talk about the lid which the mfr claims you used improperly. You should ask them to send back your unit before suing them.
If you can prove that the product didn't perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform when used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way, and that the failure to perform was a substantial factor in harming you, you could win even without expert testimony. If you misused used the product, it still could help to have an expert that could say the misuse was reasonably foreseeable. Look at the California jury instructions CACI 1200 et seq.
Looks like you are playing against a stacked deck - you gave them the appliance to inspect (your first mistake) without first having it tested yourself. Do they still possess the unit? You will need expert testimony - however, consult a local product liability attorney to advise you - many offer free consultations, so take advantage - what have you got to lose?
It really depends if you can prove that the food processor was defective. This will likely require an expert witness which could cost a significant amount of money. It seems as though your injuries were minimal according to your description. This may lead to you spending more than what you would be awarded. I suggest you consult a personal injury attorney so they can understand your legal issue better and give a more in depth answer.
In small claims court nearly everybody has a chance of winning. You have a whole lot of case here that is not particularly amenable to simple answers. In California retailers have strict liability for products they sell. They also have the retailers as a potential defendant and hopefully the manufacturer. You might check out the product on the Internet and see if there have been any class actions involving this particular unit. On your own if the manufacturer plays hard ball with you it may be a tough go because they’ll probably have some $10,000 expert report to be submitted in a small claims hearing. Between the retailer and the manufacturer you should be able to squeeze some funds out of these companies for settlement. God luck.
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