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Orlando Product Liability
People often lament that things are just not made like they used to be. Most of the time, this just means a product that doesn't work as well as you expected. But, in some cases, it can mean serious injuries to yourself of the ones you love.
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers selling products in Florida have everything to gain by producing their products as cheaply as possible.
The law recognizes this and holds these businesses to a higher standard when cutting corners in design or workmanship translates into significant injuries to the users of those products. Despite this, many companies continue to cut corners and create products that are cheaper to make, but potentially much more dangerous.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Orlando attorneys understand the rights granted to consumers by Florida product liability laws.
We fight for people who have been injured by dangerously defective products, ensuring that they and their families get the compensation they deserve, and that dangerous products are taken off the shelves before they can cause more harm.
Get your free consultation today.
What Makes a Product Dangerous in Florida?
Florida civil law recognizes that manufacturers, distributors, and retailers stand to profit immensely from the widespread distribution of their products.
That is why all three of these links in the chain of commerce are held to a higher standard than what is typical in a negligence lawsuit.
Whereas property owners, motorists, and others are held to the standard of a reasonable person acting reasonably, the liability of those involved in the distribution of consumer products is determined based on a simple question: was the product unreasonably dangerous? A consumer product can be “unreasonably dangerous” in a number of ways.
When you suffer injury due to a dangerous product, an experienced product liability attorney can help you get compensation for your damages under these laws.
What Makes a Product “Unreasonably Dangerous”
- A product may have defects in workmanship that render it unsafe, even though its fundamental design is sound. An example would be when substandard design causes a chair to be unstable and prone to breaking, even though it would be perfectly safe if designed and manufactured correctly.
- A product may be designed in a way that a makes it potentially unsafe, even when it is used in an intended – or at least foreseeable – manner. An example would be a child's toy that poses a choking hazard or a hammock that can dangerously entangle a user.
- A product that is unavoidably dangerous by its very nature may still be defective if the manufacturer fails to warn users of those non-obvious dangers through warning labels or instructions.
If You've Been Injured By a Dangerous Product, We May Be Able to Help
There are two sides to every coin. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who gain immense profits from dealing in consumer products must also pay the price by facing liability when those products cause avoidable injuries to the people in Florida who use them.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Orlando product liability lawyers understand this complicated area of law and work with distinguished engineers and human factors experts to expose unreasonably dangerous products for what they are.
If you have been injured by a consumer product, call us today at (407) 420-1414 or contact us online to have your case evaluated for free by an experienced Florida products liability attorney.
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How Do I Prove a Product Was Defective or Failed to Warn of Risks?
To prove product liability, you’ll need to show that the manufacturer or similar party failed to show you a duty of care and that their breach of duty directly resulted in your wounds.
Manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors may all be liable for a defective product, depending on their role in causing the injuries.
For instance, a smartphone manufacturer may be liable if the phone explodes in a consumer’s hands because of a defective battery. The supplier who provided the battery may also be responsible. However, the claim may not stick if the consumer damages the smartphone by using it for an unintended purpose, like placing it in an oven.
The consumer’s use of the defective product must result in injury. Physical wounds are the most common injuries associated with faulty products. The consumer must show that their injuries were the direct cause of the defective product and not by something else.
How Can I Document the Evidence of a Defective Product?
Following an injury from a defective product, save the product and its packaging securely. Take pictures of the product and your wounds.
Next, you’ll want to visit a medical professional to treat your wounds. Explain to your treating physician the circumstances of the accident and where you are hurt. Your doctor will document the extent of your injuries and provide you with an appropriate treatment plan.
Make sure to follow your treatment plan strictly. Take all medications prescribed to you and visit any recommended physicians for follow-up care.
Your product liability lawyer in Orlando will assemble the evidence of the defective product and documentation of your medical treatment. They will meet with product experts such as manufacturers, engineers, and others to further substantiate your claims.
How Long Do I Have to File a Product Liability Lawsuit in Florida?
Florida has a four-year personal injury statute of limitations requirement for product liability claims. Thus, you have four years following the date of your injury from the defective product to file your lawsuit.
A two-year statute of limitations applies if the product defect resulted in wrongful death.
While Florida provides a significant amount of time to pursue a legal claim for product liability, starting the process as soon as possible is essential. It will take time for your attorney to assemble the evidence of your case. In addition, people tend to forget crucial facts as time passes.
Having the details of your case fresh on your mind ensures that you remember essential information correctly. Additionally, you’re more likely to have a successful case if complete documentation regarding your claim is available.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases resolve through the settlement negotiation process. Only 4% ever go to trial.
However, every case is different, and not all can be resolved through settlement. Sometimes, manufacturers and suppliers will fight product liability claims, especially if they believe other consumers may suffer from similar injuries from their products.
Your attorney can advise you if they believe your case will result in a settlement or if it may end up in a courtroom.
Cases that resolve through settlement often finish within four to six months. If the claim goes to trial, it may take several years to conclude.
Can a Retailer Be at Fault for Product Liability?
Yes. Under Florida law, a retailer has an implicit responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe for consumers. As long as the consumer uses the product the way the manufacturer intended, the retailer may be partially responsible for a defective product.
Can I Obtain Damages if I’m Partially at Fault in a Product Liability Case?
Florida has a pure comparative negligence law, which means that consumers can collect damages even if they are partially at fault for their injuries. Under comparative negligence, a court will reduce the damages awarded based on the percentage of responsibility of the consumer.
For instance, if you have $75,000 in damages and you are 20% responsible for your injuries, the award you receive will be $60,000.
The pure comparative negligence law is favorable for consumers. States with modified comparative rules eliminate awards if the consumer is 50% or more responsible for their injuries.
That isn’t the case for Florida. You can be 90% responsible for your injuries and still potentially collect damages, which a court will reduce based on your percentage of fault.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Collect in a Product Liability Claim?
Consumers injured by a defective product may collect compensation for their losses. The most typical types of remuneration include past and future medical costs and lost wages if the victim can’t work.
If the product defect results in severe injuries, the consumer may collect damages for emotional pain and anguish, disability and disfigurement, and loss of quality of life.
Surviving family members of individuals who die due to a defective product may collect compensation for funeral expenses, emotional distress, and loss of companionship or parental guidance.
An attorney at Morgan & Morgan can help you determine the damages appropriate for your case. Once we decide on the proper compensation, we will set out to collect the damages from manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and whoever else contributed to your injuries.
How Can I Protect Myself From Injuries Due to Defective Products?
It’s not always possible to protect yourself from injuries from a defective product. Sometimes, products have inherent defects that cause harm to consumers.
However, using the product according to its instructions may safeguard against potential injury. When purchasing a product with dangerous components, read the instructions carefully before using it. Make sure to follow all instructions to the letter, and never use the product in ways discouraged by the manufacturer.
For instance, if you purchase a lawnmower, follow the instructions for refilling it with gas and oil. Never use the lawnmower on a surface it’s not intended for, like a concrete driveway.
Similarly, you should follow all instructions related to the medication you take. Never take more medicine than the manufacturer recommends.