What is a product liability case?
Every day more and more products are placed into the market for use or purchase by consumers. Technology is advancing at an incredibly fast rate and as a result we are seeing more new products placed into the stream of commerce now than at any other time in this Country's history. Although we would like to believe that every company takes the time to ensure that the products they design and manufacture are safe for use by consumers, that is not always the case. Obviously some products get rushed to market or corners are cut during the design or manufacturing process to increase profits. When this happens and a consumer is injured, a products liability case is born. At its core, a products liability case results when a defective product causes an injury to a consumer and the injury is the result of the defect in the product.
Who is responsible in a product liability case?
When a consumer is injured by a defective product, it is important to identify all the parties that can be held liable. In Florida, any manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer that is part of the "distribution chain" is responsible for the injuries caused by the defective product. This means that if a defective produce is delivered from the manufacturer to a distributor that then passes the product along to a local store that sells the product to the consumer, all of these parties are responsible. The policy behind this is that the entire production and supply "machine" is better able to bear the cost caused by injuries to a consumer than the consumer themselves. It is important that your attorney identify and name all responsible parties in a product liability action. There is also a good chance that you can avoid being removed to federal court, a generally unfavorable venue for plaintiffs, if you can identify the local seller of the defective product and name them in the lawsuit.
What are the causes of action in a products liability case?
In Florida, a consumer injured by a defective product can generally pursue compensation under three theories of recovery: 1) negligence, 2) strict liability, and 3) breach of warranty. All three of these theories are distinct and require specific proof. Having these multiple theories available does not mean that a plaintiff can recover multiple times for the same damages, it just means that a plaintiff has options as to how they will prove their case. A plaintiff may also choose to proceed under any combination of the theories. This means that a plaintiff could attempt to prove their case by using one or all three of the theories of recovery. Although there are three different theories available, three common elements must be proven no matter which theory a plaintiff elects. Those elements are that 1) there must be a defect in the product; 2) the defect must cause plaintiff's injury; and 3) the defect must have been present when the defendant parted with possession of the product.
What should I do if I've been injured by a defective product?
If you believe that you may have a product liability case, one of the most important things you can do is document what happened. Make sure to take plenty of photographs of the product and if possible keep possession of the product in the condition it was in when it failed. You should also consult with an attorney immediately so they can begin investigating your case and preserve any crucial evidence that may disappear after your incident.
Contact us today
If you believe you have a product liability case, contact us today. At Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, our main office is located in Hollywood, Florida but we handle cases throughout the State of Florida. You can reach us at (954) 712-7402, [email protected], or you can fill out a contact form on this website. Let us help you get the justice you deserve.