PRODUCT LIABILITY AND LAW OF INJURY DUE TO DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS IN FLORIDA
Product liability cases are very difficult to pursue, it is, therefore, important to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience. Mark Perenich has been practicing personal injury law for over 30 years. If you have any questions please contact me by clicking here or calling 727.386.9677
What is product liability?
Product Liability refers to the legal liability of the seller, designer or manufacturer of a defective product when an injury is caused to any person because of the defective product. In United States thousands of injuries takes place every year due to defective product and the Product Liability Law which are much different than general injury laws tend to make recovery of damages easier for those cases. Product liability claims are brought under legal theories and principles of breach of warranty, strict liability and negligence.
Product Liability in Florida
Product liability is governed by Florida State Laws just as it is governed by state laws modeled on the Uniform commercial Code in other states. Title-XLV, Chapter-768, S. 768.81 of the Florida Statutes, defines product liability action as a civil action which is based upon a theory of nuisance, strict liability, breach of warranty for damages which has been caused by manufacture, installation, construction, assembly, preparation of a product. The usual allegation in such cases is that the injuries received in an accident were greater because of a defective product.
Product defects and Product liability
In order to prove product liability a defendant must establish that a particular product suffers from a defect. There can be three kinds of defects in any product as defined below, which may need to be established in a product liability case:
- Marketing defects- Marketing defects can be termed as deficiencies in the marketing services itself as a result of which harm was caused. Marketing defects includes marketing deficiencies like failure to warn customers of dangers of using a product or providing insufficient instructions with the product.
- Manufacturing defects -When the manufacturer does not or fails to manufacture a product according to his specifications it is known as manufacturing defect. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitor and strict liability can be adopted to establish product liability where manufacturing defect is involved.
- Design defects – A design defect is a defect in the design of the product itself which makes it dangerous for use. Though design defects usually requires proof of negligence but strict liability can be brought in where alternative designs cost-effective could have been adopted.
Product liability theories and proving product liability in Florida
If a person wants to file a product liability case in Florida, the person needs to base his suit on the legal theories available as per Florida Law. In Florida, product liability cases are usually based on two theories: Strict liability and negligence. The theory of Strict Liability allows plaintiffs to recover damages without providing negligence or carelessness by the defendants. The law of strict product liability makes a defendant strictly liable in case a product is sold defective or in a dangerous condition. A product is held to be unreasonably dangerous if the product does not perform safely during its use by the consumer or in case the design of the product is itself dangerous and the danger outweighs the benefits of using the product or in case the product turns out to be dangerous during its use in the manner in which it was intended. If the plaintiff can establish strict liability there is no need to prove how the product was defective.
The second option available to the plaintiff is that of negligence. For establishing negligence a plaintiff must show that the product was carelessly manufactured by the defendants and as a result the injury was caused to the plaintiff. When negligence is made a basis in product liability cases, a question often arises that is whether the defendant liable when plaintiff has some fault as well. In this regard, the theory of comparative negligence has been adopted in Florida which allows the plaintiff to get relief according to the extent of fault of the defendants.
In addition to this, there are some other theories like breach of warranty and fraud and misrepresentation. Breach of warranty is usually an assertion that a breach of warranty was made by the plaintiff by sale of a defective product while in case of Fraud and misrepresentation, a claim is usually made that there was fraud and misrepresentation in marketing.
Who can be held liable for the defective product as per Florida Law
Under Florida law the sellers, distributors and manufacturers of a product can be held liable for harm caused by a defective product. As per Florida law product manufacturers and sellers are primarily held responsible for selling defective products and they are held liable for harm suffered not only by the original purchaser but any person who uses the product. In addition to a manufacturer, any person involved in the business of selling a product which turned out to be defective can also be sued. The Seller includes both wholesalers and retailers.
Remedies you may have against the defendants
A plaintiff in Florida can recover monetary compensation for injuries suffered and damages because of a product which was unreasonably dangerous and which marketed a defective product. The Court grants two types of damages which are Economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include lost wages, medical expenses, related expenses and expenses of repair. On the other hand non-economic damages are damages granted by the court for pain and suffering of the plaintiff.
In addition to these two kinds of damages a third kind of damages known as punitive damages is also granted by the court to the plaintiff. Punitive though not available in all cases are granted by the Court with intention of punishing the defendants for their misconduct. Punitive damages are only available in Florida in exceptional cases where the plaintiff has made some serious misconduct.