Injured using home appliance. What are my options?

Asked over 1 year ago - Dublin, CA

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?

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Malosack Berjis

    Contributor Level 20

    13

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    Answered . Without more information/facts, no one in this forum can really tell you how good (or bad) of a chance you have of prevailing against this manufacturer. You should consider consulting with a local personal injury attorney to further discuss the details of your case.

    Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and... more
  2. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . 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.

  3. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Maybe. However, you may need to have an expert testify that it was a malfunction and it is going to be next to impossible unless there is a manufacturing recall for the item. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  4. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . 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?

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  5. David Ian Schoen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Probably not without some expert testimony or evidence that is acceptable to the court.

  6. Frederick J. Moore III

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . 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.

  7. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

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    Answered . An expert would be helpful to make your case

  8. John Noah Kitta

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . 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.

    If you have found this information helpful, please let the attorney know by marking best answer. Thank you.... more
  9. Bruce M Squire

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . It is a sad but true fact that the cost to prove a defective product case will often exceed the value of the case. That fact makes these cases difficult to win, especially for people trying to do it on their own. Many potentially valid claims never get pursued

    This answer is for general education purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor is it... more

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