General negligence principles remain the basis of any products liability case. While these claims involve a number of complex details, certain fundamentals must first be proven in order to recover damages. The requirements that must be proven in a negligence case are a legal duty on the part of a manufacturer to design and make a reasonably safe product, the manufacturer’s breach of that duty, injuries that have been caused by the manufacturer’s breach, and resulting damages.
Florida, like most states, recognizes three ways in which a product can be flawed. One of them is an action for defective design. In these cases, scientific and technical evidence will be used to prove that a product has been designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner. Often, a court will consider the public’s expectation of danger and perform a risk/benefit analysis regarding the device.
The second category of products liability claims may be brought in the event of a manufacturing defect. In contrast to cases in which a manufacturer did not take care to design a safe product, these cases involve issues of faulty construction or assembly of a product. In fact, many of the product recall alerts we so often see are the result of manufacturing defects.
Finally, a products liability case may involve a failure to warn. This claim may be asserted when a product’s dangers could have been mitigated through a warning. There may be times when there was no way to design or make a product in a completely safe manner, but a warning was not included in order to inform the consumer of the risks of using the product.
In certain circumstances, it may be possible to bring a claim based on strict liability. In order to recover damages from a manufacturer in a strict liability case, a plaintiff must first show that a product was defective in a manner such that it was unreasonably dangerous. Then, it must be shown that there was some relationship between the manufacturer and the product in question. Finally, there must be a causal connection between the product’s defective condition and the user’s injuries. The biggest challenge in a strict liability case is proving that a product is defective, rather than showing that a manufacturer breached a duty of care. These cases may also allow a plaintiff to recover a greater amount of damages, since a claim may be made against every party in a particular product’s distribution line.Possible Defenses to Anticipate
It is important to understand that manufacturers and distributors will assert strong defenses in an attempt to bar recovery. First, they may try to tip the scales in their favor by showing that their products complied with applicable state or federal codes and safety standards. Another way in which the manufacturer can assert a defense is to claim that it is not the party responsible for making or selling the product. Moreover, if a device has been altered in any way, the seller of that item may claim that those changes were in fact responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Finally, the state of Florida has enacted laws of limitation that restrict the time in which a case may be brought. Products liability lawsuits must be filed with the court within four years of the date of injury due to the product’s defect. However, there may be additional considerations when considering a product’s useful life in conjunction with the date of injury. For that reason, it is paramount to contact knowledgeable legal counsel quickly after you have been hurt. Failure to file in a timely manner may completely bar recovery.Seek Skilled Legal Guidance After an Accident in Naples
If you have been hurt as the result of a defective product, contact the accident attorneys at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano to discuss your case. We serve injured individuals throughout Collier and Lee Counties, including Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Port Charlotte. To speak with an attorney, call toll-free (800) 283-7442 or contact us online to set up an appointment.