Your Tampa Defective Products Lawyer
Types of Product Liability Cases
There are three basic types of product liability cases: negligence, express warranty, and implied warranty.
In cases of negligence, it is the plaintiff’s duty to show that the injury occurred as a result of deliberate or careless handling of the design or manufacture of a product. The injured party must first must be able to demonstrate that the manufacturer had a duty of care to manufacture and sell a safe product. The plaintiff must then be able to show that the company breached its duty. If the plaintiff is able to prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known that its product was defective, a “breach of duty” exists on the part of the manufacturer. Finally, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the product defect was the direct cause of the injury.
Negligence can occur at any point in the development and manufacture of a product. Some of those points include (but are not limited to):
- Development and review of product plans
- Keeping all manufacturing machinery in good repair
- Foreseeing all possible uses for the product by the consumer
- Inspection and testing the product to ensure high safety standards
- Rushing the product to market
Strict Liability in Negligence Cases
Products liability cases are typically bound by law to strict liability theory. Under strict liability law, the plaintiff is only required to show that a product defect exists and that the defect caused an injury. If a defect is found to exist, the law may hold the manufacturer strictly liable for damages. This is true whether or not they exercised adequate care in the design, manufacture, and distribution of the product. In order for strict liability theory to apply in a specific case, the consumer has to have obtained the product in the normal chain of distribution. This means that a product purchased second-hand would not be argued under strict liability law.
Breach of Warranty
A breach of warranty occurs when a manufacturer fails to make good on warranty claims. Laws governing breach of warranty are in place to protect anyone who could be reasonably expected to use a specific product.
When purchasing any product, the buyer relies on one of two distinct types of warranties: express or implied. An express warranty is any direct statement or representation by the manufacturer regarding the safety of a product. An implied warranty is a promise from the manufacturer or any other liable entity that the product will not cause harm under its normal, intended use.
If you believe that you have become injured through the normal, proscribed use of a product, call Ligori Law today at 877-444-2929. Let one of our seasoned product liability lawyers examine your case and help you determine how you should proceed. Once you decide to let us handle your case, we will fight hard to collect every penny you deserve for your injury.
Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing Defects
A person who becomes injured by a dangerous or defective product may have legal grounds to file suit against anyone in its chain of distribution. That includes the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the distributor. Where liability is placed depends on the type of product defect. Federal law defines two key product defect categories: design defects and manufacturing defects. Marketing defects also play a role in certain product liability cases.
Manufacturing defects are caused by errors in the assembly of a product, giving the product unintended attributes that have the potential to cause injury. Manufacturing defects are only found in small percentages of manufactured goods. To prove a manufacturing defect exists, the plaintiff must show that the defect was present when the product left the factory where it was manufactured.
Design defects are the result of flaws in a product’s original design or blueprint. These flaws create unreasonably hazardous and dangerous circumstances for potential users. Unlike a manufacturing defect, a design defect is typically much more widespread and affects much larger numbers of a specific product.
In determining whether a defect in a product’s design exists, the law requires an answer to each of these three questions:
1. Was the product designed with unreasonably dangerous attributes?
2. Was it reasonable to expect that the manufacturer could have anticipated the potential harm the product could cause?
3. Were there safer design options available that were both economically feasible and capable of maintaining the general purpose of the product?
Marketing Defects are focused on any failure within the chain of distribution to warn when potential risks while using a product exist. Any party in the chain can be found liable if instructions or warnings could have prevented an injury or if the injury occurred as the result of heeding a warning. Product warning labels play a huge role in many marketing defect cases.
According to The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), product warning labels must provide the following information to the consumer:
- Disclosure of any known existing hazards
- Clarification risks involved with using a product
- Information on the effects and consequences of any known hazard
- Instructions on how to avoid the hazard
Warnings must be very visible and displayed as close to the hazardous area of the product as possible. In addition, labels themselves should be manufactured to remain for the expected life and location of the product, so light, weather, heat, and other conditions don’t obscure them over time.
Some questions an experienced product liability attorney would ask to determine the adequacy of a product’s warning label include:
- Was the product likely to cause harm?
- Did the injury occur under the normal, proscribed use of the product?
- What was the extent of the harm or injury?
- How knowledgeable did the manufacturer presume the user to be about the product?
- How much did the product’s warning label assume about the knowledge and experience of the intended user?
- Was the warning stated in a manner that was clear and easy to understand?
Food Poisoning And Product Liability
Product liability claims based on food poisoning and food-borne illnesses have seen a sharp increase in recent years. According to Florida law, food-related injury claims typically fall under the cover of product liability. As with any type of product liability claim, fault can be found in anyone in the chain of distribution, including anyone who handles the food before it gets to the dinner table.
A major obstacle in food poisoning cases is tracing the injury back to the food. In a large number of cases, the contaminated food will have already been consumed or discarded by the time symptoms manifest. Gathering the evidence needed to win your case can be complicated. Samples of the food from the same batch, evidence of harmful bacteria or other microorganisms in both the food and the victim, or any remnant of the product itself are very helpful to have but not always easy to maintain.
An experienced product liability attorney can assist in the collection of evidence and determine the best cause of action under which to proceed with your case. If you believe you are the victim of food poisoning, our attorneys know how to uncover the evidence needed to win your case and help you collect all the money you deserve.
Recovering Damages For Your Injury
When a product liability lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff may be eligible for damages covering:
- Present and future medical bills
- Present and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Under Florida law, you may be entitled to compensatory damages, which include damages the law classifies as either actual or general. Actual damages represent calculable losses or expenses like medical bills and lost wages, while general damages are more ambiguous in nature, requiring all parties in a settlement to agree upon a value. General damages include items like projected medical expenses over time, pain and suffering, and the loss of the overall enjoyment of life.
Class Action Product Liability Claims
Class action lawsuits are comprised of a small group of people joined to represent a majority that has suffered similar injuries due to the same product defect. You may decide to either file or join a class action if damages awarded to each plaintiff would be enough to make you whole and defray legal costs, but this is the only circumstance under which it should be considered.
Expert Legal Help For Victims of Defective Products
Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their guests and visitors are safe while on their site. This includes taking steps to prevent injuries from occurring and cleaning up any hazards or dangerous conditions as soon as they are noticed.
Christopher Ligori and Associates is a law firm that specializes in premises liability cases. We understand the complex laws that apply in these situations, and we have the experience necessary to get you the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If you have been injured and need access to an experienced premises liability lawyer, call Ligori Law right now at 877-444-2929 or sign up for a free consultation online. We will examine your case free of charge and let you know if you have an actionable claim. Don’t delay – call today!