Florida consumers are injured by a product every day. These may be prescription drugs, household appliances, construction equipment, or automobile components. These injuries may be severe or result in death. Florida law may provide a legal remedy for those injured by a defective product in certain circumstances.
Research From The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Indicates That Defective Or Unsafe Products Cause 29.4 Million Injuries And 21,400 Deaths Each Year.
Negligence V Strict Liability
In most personal injury cases the injured party must prove the product manufacturer or distributor was negligent, and that the negligence caused the injury. Negligence is failure to act reasonably. When concerning a product, this may include failure to reasonably design, manufacture, or warn about a product. The breach of duty may be a failure to design a safe product, negligently manufacturing the product, failure to inspect a product for a dangerous condition, failure to adequately test the product or product design, and failure to warn of the dangers of the product.
Also, and more broadly, a manufacturer or distributor, or retailer of a product may be liable under the theory of “Strict Liability.” In such situations, the defendants may be liable for injuries even if they exercised reasonable care. It must be proven that a defect was present in the product at the time the defendant parted possession and that the defect caused the injury.
To recover under a strict liability claim, the plaintiff does not have to prove improper design, manufacture, testing, or warning. The plaintiff must prove only that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous. Often all the injured party has to prove is that the product did not perform as expected and caused an injury. This puts the focus on the product, as opposed to the manufacturer or seller.
Though The Range Of Defective Product Cases Is Broad, The Claims Typically Fall Into Three Categories Of Product Liability:
(1) Defective manufacture
(2) Defective design
(3) Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.
Who Can Be Sued For A Defective Product?
Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, suppliers and any other entity involved in the chain of distribution of a product may be liable for injuries caused by the product. This is important because manufacturers may be foreign companies and unavailable to sue or judgment proof. Since retailers are in the chain or product distribution, they are an important part of the overall production and marketing enterprise. Thus, they may bear the cost of injuries resulting from defective products they sell.
Similarly, wholesalers and distributors may also be liable for such injuries. A franchisor or licensor of a product may also be liable. This liability results from the intent of the courts to provide a remedy to an innocent person injured by a product.
A manufacturer of a component part of a defective product may also be sued for injuries.
Defenses And Statute Of Limitations
There are numerous legal defenses to a product liability case. These can include comparative negligence or the injured party, and modification or abuse of the product. There are various statutes of limitations or statutes of repose that may bar a claim if too much time passes between the manufacture, sale, and the lawsuit. These are very complex areas of the law and may be governed by different laws in different states. It is necessary that these issues be reviewed by an experienced trial lawyer who has handled these issues with success.
Proving A Product Was Defective
It is often not enough to show that an injury resulted from the use of a product. These cases require stringent proof and often require numerous experts to evaluate the product and later testify if necessary. Again, this requires the expertise of an experienced and qualified trial lawyer.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident due to a defective product, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.