By Marcus Fernandez
Have you ever purchased a product to find it doesn’t work as advertised or, worse yet, causes an injury? Whether it’s a defective appliance, a family car, or a medication, defective products can be frustrating. They also can be dangerous. Like many other states, Florida has laws protecting consumers from defective products by holding manufacturers and retailers accountable. Product liability is the area of law that gives you, the consumer, a remedy.
This short guide to product liability law explains the rights you have under the law to seek compensation when injured by a defective product. You’ll also learn how to use the legal process to recover compensation from manufacturers and retailers responsible for producing or selling products that cause harm to users.
What is product liability in Florida?
A product liability claim under Florida law is a civil action you can bring when harmed by a defective product. The manufacturer may be held responsible when a product it made causes injuries when used by a consumer as the manufacturer of the product intended.
Someone injured by a defective product may rely on strict liability to prove a claim for damages. Strict liability allows an injured person to recover damages without proving negligence or even knowledge of the defect on the part of the manufacturer or seller of a product that fails to perform as intended.
For example, a person injured when a coffee maker explodes can recover damages without proving the manufacturer or seller knew of the potential defect or was negligent in producing or selling it. The theory behind strict liability is that a consumer can rely on products performing as expected. For instance, a coffee maker should not explode as you brew a pot of coffee.
Types of Product Liability Claims
There are three types of defects a person may rely upon to file a product liability claim:
- Design defects: These types of defects trace to the design of a product before the manufacturing stage. Regardless of how the product is manufactured, it will be defective when built because of the way it was designed. A child’s toy with small parts that can break off and cause a child to choke is an example of a product with a design defect.
- Manufacturing defect: The manufacturer of a product works from a safe design, but it produces an unsafe product. Manufacturing defects may be caused by the choice of materials or something else occurring during production or assembly.
- Marketing or warning defects: The labeling, written instructions, or advertising of a product needs to adequately explain to users how to safely use a product and warn of potential hazards. For example, a medication that may cause a person to become drowsy should have a package label warning users of the hazard.
The personal injury lawyer representing a person injured by a defective product in Florida must present evidence proving negligence or strict liability.
Proving a product liability claim
Florida law lets a person injured by a defective product receive compensation. They do this by proving a manufacturer, designer, or seller provided the following:
- A defect in a product caused it to be unsafe and dangerous when used as intended.
- The defect caused harm to the person using the product.
- The person making the claim sustains physical injuries.
An alteration of the product by a consumer or using it other than as intended may be raised as an affirmative defense. This can show that something other than a defect caused the harm claimed by an injured person.
Compensation available to a person injured by a defective product includes the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished enjoyment of life
Depending upon the facts in a particular case, a court may award punitive damages where the evidence proves intentional misconduct or gross negligence by the party being sued.
How to file a product liability claim
If you suffer injuries from a medication, device, or other product type, contact KFB Law. Preserve the device, medication, or other kind of product as evidence, and contact KFB Law for a free consultation. We can help you get compensation from those responsible for injuring you.