If a defective product has injured you or a loved one, a Florida product liability lawyer can help you make a claim to recover compensation for your damages.
We help victims of defective products get justice and the settlements they deserve. Virtually any product can cause an injury if it was designed improperly or malfunctions. These products range from burns caused by chemical products, to children’s toys, to medication, to even safety equipment that fails.
There is typically insurance coverage both from the manufacturer and from the store where you purchased the item. Thus, if we can prove the case, there is money available to recover.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is an area of personal injury law that allows victims injured by defective products to receive compensation for their injuries. If proven, the manufacturer, distributors, suppliers or retailers of the product may be held responsible for the injuries and resulting damages.
Can You Sue for Product Liability in Florida?
If you were injured as a result of a defectively designed product, defective product manufacturing, or a failure to warn about a dangerous product, you may be able to file a product liability injury claim and lawsuit. A product liability claim can allow you to receive compensation for your injuries and the related damages.
As a consumer, you have a right to be safe from and warned of any dangers when you buy and use a product.
In Florida, there is no need to prove negligence or fault if the injury can be proven to have been caused by a defective product. Generally, there is no need to prove negligence in a products liability case because most product liability claims are pursued through the theory of Strict Liability.
If you can answer yes to these questions, you may have a case and you should contact a Florida liability lawyer as soon as possible:
- Were you harmed while using a product by no fault of your own?
- Were you injured by a product that has been recalled?
- Did the product behave or fail in a way that triggered an accident?
- Were you injured by a product which did not have an adequate warning about hte dangers of using the product?
What Types of Product Liability Claims Can Be Made in Florida?
In Florida, there are three typical claims for a product liability case:
- Strict Liability
- Breach of Warranty (Express or Implied)
Strict liability claims argue that injuries were caused due to a defective product. In Florida, strict liability claims do not require negligence to be proved, just that the product was defective and caused the injury. Under the theory of Strict Liability, even if the manufacturer exercised caution in the manufacturing of the product, they can still be held liable for injuries the product caused.
- Strict Liability focuses on the product itself and how it caused the injury.
- The product subject to a Strict Liability claim must have been purchased via the intended course of distribution of that product. In other words, Strict Liability does not apply to a second hand sale of a product. .
A Negligence cause of action in a product liability claim relates to the negligent design or manufacture of the product that caused injury.
- Focuses on the manufacturer or designer’s actions.
- The injured party must show that the designer or manufacturer had a duty to either design or manufacture a safe product and that the designer or manufacturer breached that duty.
Breach of Warranty
When a product is purchased by a consumer, there are two types of warranties that apply to that product: Express Warranty and Implied Warranty. Breach of warranty lawsuits can be filed when someone is injured by a product while using it for its intended purpose.
- An Express Warranty relates to an affirmative representation about the product made by the manufacturer or the seller.
- An Implied Warranty is, as the name suggests, implied by the manufacturer that the product will be safe if used as intended.
- A Breach of Warranty claim focuses on how a product failed to be fit for its intended purpose. For example, a breach of express warranty would be an electrical product claiming it can be used when submerged in water but causes electrocution.
How Can a Product Be Defective?
Products are usually found to be defective in the three following ways:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- Failure to warn
A manufacturing defect occurs when a product causes an injury due to the way it was manufactured. A manufacturing defect could be grounds for a Product Liability Claim under both a Strict Liability theory and Negligence theory.
Manufacturing defects are caused by mistakes during manufacturing, such as machine errors, poor quality control, poor workmanship and broken parts. Even if there is not an overt defect during the manufacturing, the manufacturer may still be held liable for the injury the product causes by way of Strict Liability.
A design defect may be present when the product’s flaw is seen in every version of the same model. The design of the product is fundamentally flawed.
The design defect may have been overlooked or underestimated and therefore caused an injury. Many design defect cases are caused by a lack of safety features, dangerous mechanical parts, structural weaknesses, or dangerous materials or chemicals.
Failure to Warn
Any product that is potentially dangerous and could cause harm to the user must come with a clear and adequate warning. Failure to warn case may arise if there was no warning or adequate warning of the danger of the product. Failure to warn cases are often seen with prescription drugs, supplements, power tools and chemicals. It should be noted that any party in the intended distribution chain of the product could be held liable for a Failure to Warn claim.
Product safety warnings must meet the standards governed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
How Does Florida Handle Product Liability?
“Products liability action means a civil action based upon a theory of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, nuisance, or similar theories for damages caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formulation, installation, preparation, or assembly of a product.”
Simply put, the law holds manufacturers, designers, suppliers and retailers responsible for damages caused by the product.
This strict liability system is present even if there is no evidence of negligence in the design process. This law ensures products available to the public will be safer, as the bar for safety standards is very high.
Even though there is Strict Liability In Florida, there is also the legal theory of comparative negligence. Comparative Negligence is a concept which decreases your compensation in proportion to your percentage of fault.
For example, if you suffer $100,000 in damages due to a defective product, but are found to be 25% at fault for the accident, then your compensation would be reduced by 25% or $25,000.
A typical example of this is when a car seat belt fails and causes serious injury, but the accident was partly caused by the victim of the defective seat belt.
What is a Florida Product Liability Lawyer?
A Florida product liability lawyer helps you make an insurance claim related to defectively designed or manufactured products so you can receive compensation for your injuries and related damages. These cases are often complex and manufacturers, designers, and suppliers, in our experience, will challenge the Product Liability claims.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies will use every trick in the book to try to undervalue your claim, deny it entirely or manipulate you into accepting a low-ball offer.
Our Florida product liability lawyers don’t get fooled. As highly rated and experienced personal injury attorneys, we will fight aggressively on your behalf to show how the product injured you and recover the maximum possible settlement.
Every personal injury case must include evidence. Our attorneys will gather and preserve evidence to build a case that proves the product defect caused your injuries. This may include hiring experts, gathering medical records, obtaining affidavits from experts and soliciting doctors opinions which will result in a successful Product Liability claim.
Manufacturers and retailers should never sell a defective product that could hurt someone. Our Florida product liability lawyers will work aggressively to prove how there was a flaw in the design or manufacturing or a lack of safety warnings. Remember that as the victim, you have the burden to prove your case. Hiring experienced lawyers is critical in helping you meet your burden to prove your case.
In any product liability case we will aggressively negotiate with the at fault party to get you the settlement you deserve. These negotiations are often tense and see victims up against armies of daunting defense lawyers. We will represent you on your behalf from start to finish – so you can focus on recovery instead of fighting insurance companies and their lawyers.
If negotiations fail during the claims process, we can file a lawsuit and litigate aggressively on your behalf.
Types of Compensation for Product Liability Claims
Accidents caused by defective and unsafe products can result in anything from minor burns to life-changing injuries or even death.
Our Florida product liability lawyers can help you seek recovery for economic and non-economic losses, which may include:
- Medical Expenses (since the date of the accident and for future bills)
- Rehabilitation Costs (past and future)
- Treatment Costs (past and future)
- Lost Wages (past and future)
- Loss of Future Earnings / loss of Earning Capacity
- In-Home Care Expenses (past and future)
- Medical Equipment Costs (past and future)
- Transportation Expenses (past and future)
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Mental Anguish
- Scarring / Disfigurement
How Long Do I Have to File a Florida Product Liability Injury Claim?
In Florida, there is a time limit for when a victim can file a product liability claim. This deadline is called the ‘Statute of Limitations’ and is four years from the date of injury. If the claim is for wrongful death, the deadline is reduced to two years.
There is also the ‘Statute of Repose’. The Statute of Repose places a maximum time limit within which to file a Product Liability claim. This restricts lawsuits being made if the product that caused the injury was already older than its ‘expected useful life’ of a presumed useful life 10 years or less. Additionally, the Statute of Repose limits actions to 12 years or less if the harm was caused by exposure to or use of the product more than 12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product. Computing time deadlines in all cases is critical. As with all time computations the time within which an action shall be begun under any statute of limitations runs from the time the cause of action accrues. A cause of action accrues when the last element constituting the cause of action occurs. See Fla. Stat 95.031.
Deadlines arrive fast in personal injury claims. The process requires a lot of time to gather evidence, expert opinions, expert testing and other preparation. It’s highly advised that you contact a Florida product liability lawyer as soon as possible to avoid the risk of missing the deadlines.
Who Is at Fault for My Injuries?
Various parties may be at fault for your injuries in a product liability case. In many cases, it may be more than one entirety which is legally responsible for your injuries and damage. The following entities may be liable for your injuries and damages in your product liability claim:
If the defect was caused in the manufacturing phase, the manufacturer may be at fault. There may even be more than one manufacturer at fault. For example, in-vehicle manufacturing, parts are often sourced from different manufacturers before being installed into another part to create the final product.
When a retailer puts a product on sale in the intended chain of distribution, they’re doing so with the representation that it is safe for its intended use and purpose. If the retailer failed to notice that the product was defective, unsafe, or lacked appropriate warnings, they may be at fault.
Like retailers, a wholesaler also has a responsibility to ensure the products they sell are safe. A wholesaler may just be one of many parties at fault in the distribution chain.
Common Types of Florida Product Liability Cases:
In our law practice, we have seen and have experience with Product Liability cases involving:
Auto Parts Failure
If an accident is caused due to a defective product in an vehicle, such as a tire, seatbelt or airbag, then serious injury can arise.
Defective Bikes or E-Scooters
With the rise of electronic scooters and bikes, we have seen incidents where riders have been thrown off and injured due to brake or electronic failures.
Dangerous Household Products
Cleaning products, garage doors, heaters and appliances are all bought with the expectation that they’re safe for their intended use. If the product causes an injury, you may have a product liability claim.
Defective Children’s Products
In the heartbreaking scenario where your child has been injured due to a defective part in a kid’s toy, stroller, crib, car seat, safety gate, high chair or any other product, then you may have a product liability claim.
Children’s products may also contain harmful chemicals such as lead which can cause serious developmental damage. In recent years, Mattel, Fisher-Price, and Disney have all issued product recalls due to harmful chemicals in their products.
Medical drugs and medical devices should come with warnings about safe use, side effects, and allergic reactions. If the manufacturers or distributors fail to adequately warn and that failure to warn caused injury, you may be able to file a product liability claim.
Defective Electronic Cigarettes
Vaporizing devices and other electronic cigarette cases have arisen after these devices explode or overheat, causing serious burns or other injuries.
Defective Fire and Sprinkler Systems
If CPVC pipes leak and blow out, they can cause the sprinkler system to fail during a fire – leading to catastrophic injuries.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Products that use talcum powder have been found to cause a significant risk of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson executives allegedly omitted scientific findings that have led to many women making product liability claims after years of use.
If you or a loved one have been impacted by events such as these or any other defective product, we welcome you to contact our Florida product liability lawyers for a free consultation.
Contact a Florida Product Liability Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective product, then please contact our Florida product liability lawyers as soon as possible.
We will help review your case before handling all communications and litigation on your behalf.
Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas have been providing exceptional legal assistance to Florida residents for personal injury claims for decades. Our consultations are compassionate and free of charge.
Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas is the product liability division of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
Our firm was founded in 1958 and is a U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 Law Firm. With decades of legal experience and resources, they are equipped to give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. Serving the state of Florida with offices in St Petersburg and Riverview, they are here for you.