In return for providing businesses an opportunity to earn profits and thrive in the American economy, consumers expect the right to feel safe from injury when they use the products or services they purchase.
When corporations break this trust, serious personal injury and even death can be the result. People have been injured by many types of defective products including auto parts, prescription or over-the-counter medications, construction equipment such as ladders, baby cribs and toys, and more.
It’s imperative in these cases that the evidence is preserved. In the early stages of the case, information will be required of you including the date of sale and where the item was purchased – you may also be asked to locate the instruction booklets, and much more.
What is a defective product?
Consumers think of defective products as those that don’t work. But the law in Florida is much more specific: Defective products are those that are harmful to consumers.
There are three primary types of defective products in Florida. These are the possibilities:
1.) Defective design
In a defectively designed product, there is a flaw in the design. If a toy had a piece that a small child could detach and swallow, this would be a defective design.
Consumers must be reasonable in their use of the product. In other words, consumers should use it how the manufacturer intended. They could also use it in a way that the manufacturer foresaw.
Even with proper use, a defectively designed product will still be dangerous. In that case, the manufacturer may be liable.
2.) Defectively manufactured
A defectively manufactured product had a safe design. But, as the manufacturer was producing it, there was an error. If the error makes the product harmful, the manufacturer could be liable for a manufacturer’s defect.
As above, the consumer must use the product in a way that the makers intended or reasonably foresaw. If they hurt themselves, this could lead to a product liability claim.
3.) Failure to warn
In a failure to warn case, the issue is the manufacturer’s failure to give adequate warnings. This is also called a marketing defect.
For this type of defect, the consumer needs to show that a warning would have made a difference. Specifically, if a warning could have lowered or minimized the risk of injury, the manufacturer may be liable.
How do you sue a company for a defective product?
If you have a defective product, you may be considering a lawsuit.
In Florida, manufacturers can be liable under various theories. The theories are strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
With strict liability, the manufacturer is always liable for the product. It doesn’t matter if the manufacturer tried to make sure the product was safe.
In a negligence case, the consumer needs to show that they were actually injured or that they faced a loss. They must also show that they were not using the product in a way that was unreasonable or careless.
Consumers can also sue sellers on breach of warranty. If the manufacturer or seller gave an explicit warranty and then breached it, there might be a case. Additionally, if the product wasn’t merchantable, in that it wasn’t fit for its ordinary use, there might be a claim. Finally, the seller might have breached the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The seller would have to know the customer wanted the product for a particular purpose. If the product wasn’t fit for that purpose, there could be a claim.
No matter what, it’s always a good idea to have an experienced attorney review your potential claim. A Florida product liability lawyer can help you parse through your possibilities for recovery.