Product Liability Attorneys in Florida
Product liability lawsuits are filed when a product is defective or dangerous, causing injury. Product liability claims can apply to any consumer product, including, but not limited to, defective drugs and medical devices, faulty automobiles, kitchen appliances, or recalled baby products. Consumer products are expected to be reasonably safe. When products are dangerous, manufacturers and others in the distribution chain can be held liable.
The Florida product liability lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience successfully representing clients in product liability lawsuits. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We work on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees if we win your case.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability means that individuals and/or entities such as manufacturers or sellers is responsible for introducing a dangerous or defective product. A product liability lawsuit may be filed against any party in the distribution chain, including:
- The manufacturer of the product
- The manufacturer of product components or parts
- The company who assembles the product
- The wholesaler
- The retail store who sold the final product to consumers
The law requires consumer products to meet ordinary expectations. If a product is dangerous and injures consumers, then it does not meet ordinary expectations.
Due to product liability rules, it may be easier to file a product liability injury claim compared to other types of injury claims. This is because many product liability lawsuits are filed under strict liability, which means that plaintiffs do not have to prove negligence.
Product liability claims operate under state laws. The federal government does not have product liability laws.
In Florida, plaintiffs in a product liability lawsuit must meet several criteria. They must demonstrate loss from a product, such as physical injuries and subsequent medical bills. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the product was defective, and that this defect proximately caused the injury. Additionally, the injury must have occurred when the product was being used as intended.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
Consumers can assert a product liability claim under three theories: strict liability, negligence and/or breach of warranty. Generally, most lawsuits filed over defective products assert strict liability.
When bringing most ordinary personal injury claims (such as a slip and fall lawsuit), plaintiffs are often required to show that the defendant was negligent and that this negligence caused harm. Everyone is expected to act with a certain level of care to not harm others; this is known as duty of care. Individuals who are careless and breach this duty can be considered negligent and subsequently liable for injuries.
A plaintiff is not, however, required to prove negligence when bringing an action under strict liability. In product defect claims, a lawsuit can be brought under strict liability if a plaintiff was injured by using a defective product. In Florida, you must establish a relationship between the defendant and the product to sue under strict liability.
With a product liability claim, strict liability is a common theory because negligence would be difficult to prove. Consumers usually cannot be expected to show how a manufacturer was negligent in making the product, or that a retailer was negligent in selling it.
In Florida, product liability lawsuits filed under negligence require plaintiffs to show that manufacturers owed consumers a duty of care, the manufacturer breached that duty, and that breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff must have suffered damages as a result of this injury.
Product liability claims may also be brought under breach of warranty, such as breach of express warranty or breach of implied warranty. An express warranty is a direct statement from the manufacturer assuring that their product will work a certain way for a given time period. The warranty may be verbal or written. Implied warranty means that a product is purchased under presumed conditions. For example, implied warranty of merchantability means that a product is guaranteed to work as claimed. This applies to virtually all products. Implied warranty of fitness means that a product was guaranteed for a specific purpose.
In Florida, filing a product liability claim under breach of warranty requires you to show privity of contract between the seller and injured consumer. Essentially, you must demonstrate that you were involved in a contractual relationship with the seller. Otherwise, Florida product liability lawsuits are limited to the theories of strict liability and negligence.
Types of Defects
When suing a manufacturer for a product that caused injury, the plaintiff must show that the product was defective. A consumer product can be defective due to design defects, manufacturing defects or marketing defects (failure to warn).
A design defect means that a product was inherently unsafe; it was dangerous prior to being manufactured or assembled.
A product may be safely designed but then becomes defective during production. This is known as a manufacturing defect, where the final product differed from the intended design.
Marketing defects include failure to warn, incorrect labeling or inadequate instructions. Under product liability, manufactures must warn consumers if their product is dangerous in any way. Additionally, the law requires that they provide instructions on how to use their product safely. Manufacturer warnings must generally be clear, specific and easy to find.
How to Sue for a Defective or Dangerous Product
You may be able to file a product liability lawsuit if you were injured by a defective or dangerous product. Filing a claim can obtain compensation for your injuries. Injuries from a defective product could be serious or even fatal. Plaintiffs can seek damages for financial loss or emotional distress.
For more information about filing a Florida product defect lawsuit, contact a product liability attorney at Parker Waichman today.
Product liability claims can obtain damages for medical bills, including emergency room visits, hospital fees, the cost of surgery, prescriptions, doctors’ visits, medical equipment and physical rehabilitation. You can also sue if your injury caused past or future loss of income, or pain and suffering. In cases where the product defect caused death, a wrongful death claim can be filed on behalf of the surviving family.
Florida statute of limitations requires injured plaintiffs to file a claim within four years. In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years. Additionally, Florida operates under the pure comparative negligence rule. This means that your awards will be proportionally reduced if you are partially at fault for your injury.
Filing a Florida Product Liability Lawsuit
If you or someone you know was injured due to a defective product, contact one of our Florida product liability attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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