Consumers in Florida trust the safety and reliability of the products they use. When they get hurt by a defective product, they may not know what to do or where to turn for help.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury because of a defective product, know that you are not alone. The journey toward healing and compensation begins with recognizing that you are not at fault. You have legal rights in Florida and can hold negligent and reckless manufacturers and designers to blame for the harm you’ve suffered.
With an experienced Florida product liability lawyer in your corner, you can seek justice and obtain the compensation you deserve. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, we know how to hold the responsible parties accountable for their oversight. Let us help you fight this battle. Together, we can obtain justice.
Understanding Product Liability in Florida
In Florida, when a product doesn’t work how it should and someone gets hurt, the law takes it seriously. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are responsible for making safe products and putting consumer safety before profits. If they sell something dangerous and it causes harm, they can be held liable and taken to court.
If you’re injured by a defective product, such as a faulty tire or dangerous medical device, you can sue the company that made or sold the product. In fact, you can sue anyone along the design, manufacturing, and distribution chain that caused your injury. This is about keeping companies honest and making them pay up when they put unsafe products into your hands.
Types of Product Defects
There are generally three categories of product defects that can lead to a lawsuit:
- Design defects. A design defect occurs when a product’s design is inherently unsafe.
- Manufacturing defects. Manufacturing defects arise during the production process, resulting in a product that does not meet safety standards.
- Marketing defects. Marketing defects involve inadequate instructions or warnings that fail to inform the consumer of potential risks.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
In a Florida defective product case, multiple parties in the supply chain could be held liable. You have the right to file a lawsuit or claim against any of them for the injuries the defective product caused.
Some of the liable parties in a defective product lawsuit in Florida include:
- Product Designer
Each one of these links in the product’s chain could be responsible for the harm you suffered. Florida’s law allows you to seek justice from anyone who contributed to giving you a defective product.
Who Is To Blame For a Defective Tire?
To see how liability might play out in your case, consider what happens when a defective tire causes an accident. When a tire malfunctions, causing injury or property damage, various parties in the product’s chain of distribution could be liable.
- Product Designer: The tire designer could be held liable if the tire’s failure was due to an inherently unsafe design. For example, if the tire was designed with insufficient tread depth, leading to hazardous driving conditions, or if the design did not adequately allow for proper heat dispersion, causing the tire to fail under normal operating conditions, the designer could be responsible for any resultant damages.
- Manufacturer: The tire manufacturer is often the primary defendant in tire malfunction cases. They can be held liable if there was a defect in the manufacturing process that caused the tire to be unsafe. This might include poor quality control that allowed for a tire with a weak sidewall to be produced and sold or substandard materials that couldn’t withstand normal wear and tear, resulting in a blowout.
- Wholesaler: Although less common, wholesalers could also be liable in certain situations. If the wholesaler had an exclusive contract with the manufacturer and played a role in the distribution or product specifications, they could be partly at fault. Liability might also arise if the wholesaler knew of potential risks or defects in the tire and failed to communicate these to retailers or customers.
- Retailer: A retailer could be held liable if they sold a tire that they knew, or should have known, was defective. For instance, if the retailer was aware of a recall on a particular tire model due to safety issues and continued to sell their existing stock without warnings to consumers, the retailer could be responsible for damages from accidents caused by those tires. Additionally, if the retailer provided improper installation services that led to the tire malfunction, they could be found at fault.
In each scenario, the key to liability is the establishment of negligence or strict liability. Under strict liability, any party in the distribution chain of a defective product can be held liable for damages caused by the defect, regardless of whether they were negligent. In contrast, negligence requires showing that the party had a duty of care to the consumer that they breached, leading to the injury.
Winning Your Product Liability Lawsuit
To win a defective product lawsuit in Florida, your legal team must prove the product was defective and caused your injury. They must also show that you used the product as intended during the accident. Manufacturers are held to strict liability standards. This means they don’t have to act negligently or recklessly to accept liability. Even if they tried to prevent defects from occurring, if a product defect caused your injury, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
Here is what your legal team might need to win your case:
- The Defective Product: The actual product that caused harm serves as fundamental proof. It should be preserved in its post-accident state to show the defect clearly.
- Medical Documentation: Comprehensive records of medical treatments received due to the injury demonstrate the extent and severity of harm sustained. These records form a factual basis for claims of physical injury and compensation.
- Expert Analysis: Expert witnesses provide authoritative opinions on the nature of the defect and its role in causing harm. Their testimonies translate complex technical failures into clear, juror-accessible explanations.
- Photographic and Video Evidence: Visual documentation of the defective product and the injuries sustained can powerfully corroborate your narrative, providing visceral, immediate context to the abstract details of your claim.
- The Product’s Instructions: You must show that you used the product as intended. Demonstrating adherence to the product’s usage guidelines can counter any claims that you misused the product and caused your own injuries.
- Eyewitness Accounts: Corroborative eyewitness statements can reinforce your account of the event, adding credibility and detail to the incident narrative. Did your roommate see you using the defective toaster? Did your car passenger experience the tire blowout with you? These statements can add credibility to your side of the story.
- Supporting Documentation: Any additional evidence, including correspondence with the manufacturer or recall notices, can bolster the claim, painting a broader picture of negligence or recklessness.
Damages You Can Recover in a Product Liability Lawsuit in Florida
When you file a product liability lawsuit, you can recover various damages. Each of these damages provides you with compensation to help you on the road to recovery.
These are intended to compensate you for the losses incurred due to the defective product. Compensatory damages are further broken down into economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic Damages: These cover quantifiable monetary losses such as:
- Medical expenses (past and future) related to the injury.
- Lost wages or earning capacity if the injury impacts the plaintiff’s ability to work.
- Costs of rehabilitation and any ongoing healthcare needs.
- Replacement costs or repair of damaged property.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are for intangible losses and may include:
- Pain and suffering endured due to the injury.
- Emotional distress or mental anguish.
- Loss of consortium or companionship, particularly in situations where the injuries are severe and impact the relationships of the injured party.
- Disfigurement or permanent disability.
While less common, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or reckless. These are not intended to compensate the plaintiff but rather to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future. Under Florida law, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater, unless certain exceptions apply.
Wrongful Death Damages
If the defective product results in death, certain survivors of the decedent, as well as the estate, may recover damages. These can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of support and services the deceased provided to the survivors.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering for the loss of a child.
- Medical or hospital expenses incurred as a result of the injury causing death.
- The estate can also recover for lost earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death, as well as future loss of earnings.
Contact Our Florida Defective Product Lawyers
At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, we understand the challenges consumers face when injured because of a defective product. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve. If you’re in Florida and have been injured by a defective product, don’t face the legal battle alone.
Contact us for a free case evaluation. Our expert team is ready to fight for justice on your behalf. Call us today at (305) 694-2676 or complete our confidential contact form. With our extensive knowledge and commitment, we’ll stand by your side every step of the way.