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Defective Products Personal Injury Law

March 3, 2018

Hot coffee, rupturing silicone breast implants, addictive tobacco products, and faulty ignition switches are all examples of prominent products liability cases in the United States.  When any product fails to perform as intended and causes harm, the manufacturer, distributor, supplier, or retailer may be liable to you for damages.  This area of personal injury law is often called products liability law.  Manufacturers and those in the supply chain owe a duty of care to their customers.  If you have purchased a product that caused you or a loved one harm, contact Bryan W. Crews today, your Orlando personal injury attorney for a case evaluation.

There are three claims in Florida for products liability; design defect, defective manufacturing, and failure to warn.

Design defects are inherent flaws or errors in the product’s design that renders it unreasonably dangerous.  You can hold the manufacturer liable if the product you purchased has a foreseeable risk when used as intended.  For example, knives are designed to cut, and slicing your finger while preparing dinner is not an inherent design defect in the product.   A ladder, however, that breaks while using it to clean the gutters would have an inherent design defect.  When evaluating design defects, Florida courts will use the consumer expectations test.  Would a reasonable consumer expect the product to be safe for its intended use?  If the answer is yes, but the product injures the user due to an unreasonable hazard, the manufacturer, or possibly someone in the supply chain will be responsible for damages to the plaintiff.

Defective manufacturing is a mistake made during the manufacturing process itself.  The product’s design is safe and sound, but something occurs during manufacture that renders it unsafe.  A common example of defective manufacturing is foreign objects found in food, drinks, or medicine.  Consumption of the food, drink or medicine is otherwise safe, but because the manufacturer allowed a foreign object into the product, the consumer was injured.  These are unplanned defects, and you have a right to damages if you have suffered any harm.

The third type of products liability claim is a failure to warn.  Manufacturers are required to provide adequate and appropriate warnings on potentially unsafe products.  Failure to warn is typically a strict liability claim, meaning, the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence when bringing the claim.  They simply have to show the manufacturer failed to provide an adequate warning.  For example, manufacturers do not have to warn consumers that a matchbook is combustible and may cause afire.  However, they would be required to warn that infants over a certain weight are not sufficiently secure in a car seat.

Florida has a statute of limitations governing products liability cases.  You have four years from the date you discover the injury to file your claim.  If you file after the recovery period, your suit will likely be barred by the court.  Also, remember that Florida is a comparative negligence state.  If you contributed in any way to your own injury, your recovery will be limited.

If you or a loved one have been injured, please contact Bryan W. Crews today, your Orlando personal injury attorney.

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