Understanding Products Liability Claims In Florida
If you were ever injured by using a product, you may have a valid products liability claim. It is important to understand what a successful products liability claim requires. The following article will provide some helpful information about products liability claims in the state of Florida.
What is a Products Liability Claim?
Florida Statute § 768.81(d) defines a products liability claim as a civil action which is typically based on the theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. In a products liability suit, the plaintiff alleges that she experienced specific damages or injuries resulting from the manufacture, design, construction, installation, or assembly of a product. A number of individuals can be held liable for these damages in court, from the original manufacturer of the product to the owner of the store which sells the product.
What are the Elements of a Products Liability Claim?
There are 4 major elements that must be established for a products liability claim to be successful. These elements are:
- Damages: In order to make a successful products liability claim, you will need to show proof of actual damages (for example, an injury or property damage).
- Defect: You will also need to show that the product in question possessed some type of defect. There are 3 types of product defects:
- Manufacturing defect: A manufacturing defect is a defect that goes against a manufacturer’s intended design and makes a specific product unsafe for its intended use. An example of this would be a rat found in a can of soup. It is obvious that the manufacturer of the soup did not intend for there to be a rat in any of the soup cans. However, because the soup can no longer be used for its intended purpose, the manufacturer could be liable for this type of defect.
- Design defects: A design defect describes a product that was manufactured exactly according to the manufacturer’s design but is still for some reason inherently dangerous. An example of this would be a newly-manufactured brand of car that tips over when making sharp turns. The car was manufactured exactly as the manufacturer intended but it is still very dangerous due to its design.
- Failure to warn/inadequate warnings: Products are required to have adequate warnings on them to alert consumers of certain risks or dangers that the product poses. If the manufacturer of a product provides inadequate warnings or fails to include warnings altogether, he can be liable if a consumer is injured after using the product. An example of this is an allergy medication that does not warn consumers that drowsiness will occur. If a consumer takes this medication and is injured while driving because the product did not warn her, the manufacturer may be liable for her injuries.
- Causation: You will need to show causation between use of the allegedly defective product and any resulting damages you experienced.
- Proper use of product: Under Florida Statute § 768.81(2), if a plaintiff contributes to his own injuries (for example, by misusing the product), his damage award will be deducted to reflect this fact. It is important to note that a plaintiff will not be completely barred from recovery, even if he did contribute to his own injuries.
Do You Have a Potential Products Liability Claim? Contact Our Firm
If you have a potential products liability claim and need to understand what your next steps are, contact the Ocala personal injury lawyers at The Musleh Law Firm. Our firm has extensive experience litigating these types of claims and we are confident that we can help you obtain any compensation you are entitled to. We would love to speak with you.