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Guide to Product Liability

At The Injury Firm, our product liability attorneys have extensive experience when it comes to protecting consumers from poor-quality or poorly-manufactured products. With a team of specialized defective product attorneys, we help you to find liability, obtain compensation, and ensure that a similar family doesn’t have to go through the same pain and suffering as your own.

When it comes to product liability, this will be determined by jurisdiction and the journey from manufacturer all the way to the consumer. From food poisoning to faulty medical devices, liability can fall into the hands of a whole company or even a single person.

Whether it’s yourself or a family member that has been injured as a direct result of a defective product, feel free to contact our product liability attorneys because you may be entitled to compensation. Over the years, we’ve garnered a successful reputation in this area of the law and we plan to continue our successful streak. With a simple no cost and no obligation process, you can complete our form to get started.

Manufacturing, Marketing, and Design Issues

Design Defects - Firstly, there could be a defect in the design that causes injury. Since the error is in the design itself, this suggests that all products that have been manufactured pose a hazard for owners/users. To determine whether this type of defect actually exists, three questions will be asked;

  • Should the company have anticipated the harm the design would cause?
  • Was the design dangerous before production even started?
  • Was there a safer design which would have removed the risk and still retained the product’s purpose?

As attorneys, our job will be to prove that one of these questions is affirmative. If so, you’ll have grounds for a case and we’ll help you to get started.

Manufacturing Defect - If there wasn't an error in design, was the defect caused during manufacturing or assembly? Often, this will be something that wasn't intentional and therefore only affects a certain number of the company’s products. Thanks to ‘strict liability’ and the associated theory, the manufacturer will be responsible if the defect came from faulty construction; even if they took the appropriate care from start to finish.

As your defective product attorney, we need to prove that the manufacturing defect was present when the product left the factory; otherwise, it could have occurred in transit or even after you received the product.

Warning Labels - Back in 2002, there was a huge amendment in the guidelines for warning labels and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invested heavily in the safety symbols and product safety labelling systems. As a result, we have signs that have more detail, are simple to read, and show all risks with images. At all times, a warning label needs to explain certain things to the consumer including;

  • Existing hazards
  • Effects of any hazards
  • Risk of using the product
  • Methods of avoiding the hazard

Not only should the warning sign be clearly visible, it should be as close to the hazardous area as possible. For the manufacturers, they need to keep in mind wear and tear and the setting of the product; therefore, the warning label needs to stand the test of time. As you may know, ANSI also introduced a three-color system to further explain hazards;

  • Yellow (Caution) - this suggests a ‘potentially hazardous’ condition and something that could lead to slight injury.
  • Orange (Warning) - this suggests a ‘potentially hazardous’ circumstance but this time with a possibility of serious injury or death.
  • Red (Danger) - this suggests an ‘impending hazardous’ event with a likelihood of serious injury or death.

To make sure it’s clearly visible to everybody, the official description of the hazard should be printed on a white background alongside the keyword. Underneath this particular word, the label will then break down more details of the hazard including symbols, graphics, and a message. As a product liability attorney, we need to answer a few different questions;

  • Was the harm serious?
  • How likely was the product to cause harm?
  • Was the product being used as suggested?
  • Did the label assume a certain level of knowledge or experience from the user?
  • Did the manufacturer have a right to assume a certain knowledge level? To what extent did they fulfill their duty?
  • Was the label accessible and clear to see, read, and understand?

Failure to Warn - In addition to insufficient labelling, we've also seen liability lawsuits where the manufacturer failed completely in their duty to warn of risks. If the injury could have been prevented by simple instructions, any party within the distribution chain can be liable. Similarly, the same is true if the warnings themselves caused injury.

Different Types of Product Liability Lawsuits

At The Injury Firm, we generally see product liability cases split into three types.

Strict Liability - Most of the time, the theory of strict liability will be used when pursuing a case and this means our case needs to include proof of a defect within the product and that this defect was the direct cause of the sustained injury. So long as the defect exists, liability will fall to the manufacturer regardless of their manufacturing process and how many precautions they took to ensure safe production. All cases will allow for strict liability as long as the product was purchased in the chain of distribution, and it wasn't bought second-hand.

Negligence - In this type of case, your defective product attorney will need to prove negligence at some point during the manufacturing or design process. To start, we’ll prove the defendant had a duty to only bring safe products to market. From here, the idea is to show that they failed in this duty and sold a product they ‘knew or should have known’ failed the required standards. For the case to be successful, the injuries must have been a direct result of the defective product.

In truth, all negligence cases are unique so there are several different ways in which negligence can occur. For example, the company may have chosen a poor design, failed to predict plausible uses of their product, failed to maintain their machinery, released the product too quickly, failed during the testing and inspecting stages.

Breach of Warranty - As the third and final type of product liability lawsuit, the defendant may have failed in their duty to adhere to any warranties provided. In law, there are two types of warranty for manufacturers; express and implied. As the name suggests, express warranties are the promises made by the manufacturer directly while an implied warranty is the promise that the product will not cause harm when used as instructed.

Class Action Lawsuits

Although product liability cases can be filed on their own, they can also be used in a ‘class action’ if you are just one of a number of victims. With a class action lawsuit, there could be thousands of victims all represented by a handful of attorneys. If the cost of an individual lawsuit would outweigh the benefits, we might consider a class action lawsuit after hearing of others who have been injured in the same way. Generally speaking, class action lawsuits are perfect for small injuries rather than unique or severe injuries.

Food Poisoning

Unfortunately, food poisoning (and the related illnesses) is actually becoming more common as a problem. Even with food injury claims, they all tend to fall under product liability in law and these claims can be brought to the retailer, manufacturer, or anyone else in the chain of distribution (this includes anybody handling the food at any stage).

Compared to a simple injury from a product, the hardest thing about food poisoning cases is proving them. With the food often consumed or thrown away, it can be tough to link your illness/injury with the food in question. However, evidence can be acquired with samples from the same batch, shared microorganisms between the food and victims, clear evidence of bacteria, and perhaps even remnants of the food.

With a product liability attorney by your side, you can be sure the best possible evidence will be collected to put your case in the strongest position; they’ll also help you decide which action you should choose moving forward.

Liability with Defective Products

In truth, liability will change from one case to the next but, as a victim, you can attempt to obtain compensation from one or several parties whether this comes from wholesalers, manufacturers, or the store in which you bought the product. Rather than finding one party who was responsible more than every other, the aim will be to hold all parties accountable if they could have prevented the issue. Once we speak to you, we can assess the chain of distribution before then deciding the best way to proceed.

Retailer - When you walk into a shop, you expect all products to be safe because it’s implied they wouldn't stock dangerous products. Even if they had nothing to do with the manufacturing process, a retailer can be held responsible for injury if they stocked the product on their shelves. At this point, we should note that you don't need to be the person who bought or used the defective product in order to sue a retailer.

When it comes to used products, there may be an opportunity to seek compensation but it all depends on how the defect was caused and the laws in your state.

Manufacturer - With these types of cases, the idea is to bring those responsible accountable for their actions regardless of whether it’s somebody working from their garage or a multi-national corporation. If different parts of the product are made by different companies, we’ll need to work out who was responsible; it may be a case of both.

Wholesaler - If you’re unaware, a wholesaler often buys from a manufacturer and sells to the retailer at a profit. Since they held the product and passed it down the chain, they have some responsibility.

Depending on the case and your injuries, one or more of the parties above can be held responsible for a defective product.

Recovering Damages

When working with a defective product attorney, you’ll find the damages for injuries to be either punitive, compensatory, or special. If the case succeeds, we generally seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills (those that exist now and that will exist in the future), emotional suffering, and endurance of pain.

Compensation - Firstly, this is the most common form of damages and the idea is for the responsible parties to pay for the victim to become ‘whole’ again; there are two different types called general and actual.

Special - For the plaintiff, some costs will be hard to calculate and this is why special damages were introduced. Among other costs, it tends to include pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment in life, future lost wages, mental anguish, loss of consortium, breakdown of relationships, etc.

Punitive - Finally, punitive damages are designed to prevent others in the industry from making the same mistakes. Essentially, punitive damages can be awarded as a message to all manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to take more care and not allow another mistake to occur. By making an example of the company(ies), it should prevent future cases.

Finding Proof

As your product liability attorney, we need to help you prove four different things in order to be successful with the case;

Defective Product - Firstly, the product was defective in some way and this could be due to a manufacturing error or poor design; this also includes a lack of warning.

Injury - Secondly, there needs to be injury or some form of monetary loss to the victim. If there’s no injury, we can’t continue with the claim.

Connection - With an injury and a defective product, the next step is to connect the two and show that the injury was a direct result of the defective product. With the defective product as the ‘proximate cause’ of the injury, the victim isn't liable in any way.

Responsibility - Finally, we also need to prove that you were using the product as designed and as intended. If you were using the product in a dangerous way, and against instructions, it would be hard to recover damages because all parties in the chain of distribution fulfilled on their expectations.

Sadly, these types of cases and injuries can lead to physical and emotional stress while also causing all sorts of financial worries. Whether it’s yourself or a family member that has been injured as a direct result of a defective product, please feel free to contact our professional service at The Injury Firm. With a team of specialist product liability attorneys, we have extensive experience in providing a resolution to victims.

After our free consultation, you aren't forced into choosing us because we want you to feel comfortable with the case as we progress!

Local Product Liability Practice Cities

Plantation   Hollywood  Davie  Weston  Sunrise
         
           
       

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.