Products in the United States must meet some safety standards. Of course, many products present unavoidable risks; however, products that carry unexpected dangers as a result of poor design or defective manufacturing can lead to lawsuits and damages. If you own a car, you might be familiar with the frequent recalls resulting from defective parts of automobiles. If you have children, you might have registered certain important products in order to receive notification in the event of recalls. Manufacturers issue recalls as a way of preventing further injury caused by products and limiting their liability. However, even if a recall is issued, manufacturers often face the consequences of bringing dangerous products to the market. If you were harmed because of a defective product, you might be entitled to compensation as a result of that injury or illness. To learn more about your eligibility to collect damages, contact a Tampa, Florida personal injury law attorney. At the Durham Law Group, our Tampa product liability attorneys are dedicated to representing injured individuals in Florida. Call us at 813-333-6250 to discuss your claim and learn how our lawyers can help you recover following an injury.
Types of Product Defects
Defects can be the result of a flawed design, mistakes that take place during the manufacturing process, or issues with warning labels. Any of these problems can lead to product liability lawsuits. In the event of a design defect, the company that produces the product made a mistake during the design phase that led to the product becoming dangerous to anyone who uses that product as intended or in a foreseeable manner. In those situations, the product is manufactured properly, but the design has led to unintended risks.
In other situations, a product may have been safe based on its design, but something went wrong during the manufacturing process that created an unanticipated danger. This could be the case in the event of a food product that becomes contaminated with bacteria during manufacturing. The food itself would be perfectly safe if not for the bacteria.
Warning labels are an important part of keeping consumers safe as well. For instance, you likely own cleaning products that would be toxic if ingested. Such products may not be effective without the same ingredients that make them dangerous if consumed. The manufacturers are required to place warning labels on those products to inform consumers of the inherent risks. Some products may even be risky when they are used as intended. In such cases, manufacturers include warning labels so that consumers can make informed choices about using that product.
Strict Liability in Florida
When a product is defective, Florida law will find that the manufacturer is subject to strict liability. Strict liability means that injuries resulting from the use of the defective product will be considered the fault of the manufacturer, even without the need to prove negligence. It may also be possible to find the manufacturer negligent if the circumstances warrant such analysis. However, in cases of design, manufacturing, or warning defects, strict liability will most likely apply. Negligence claims focus on the behavior and actions of such manufacturers or retail sellers of the product. Strict liability claims will focus on the nature of the product itself and its potential defects.
Possible Defenses Raised
Companies will sometimes attempt to defend against product liability claims by arguing that the victim caused the injuries by using the product in an unforeseeable way. After all, the manufacturer is not required to consider every potential misuse of a product. For example, assume you purchased gardening gloves and then used those gloves to lift a hot pan out of the oven and burnt yourself. The manufacturer would claim they could not have anticipated that you would use gloves intended for gardening to lift a hot pan.
Another possible defense is that the product has been modified after purchase. For example, assume you added a small engine to a bicycle and sustained injuries in a crash. The manufacturer of that bike would claim that the bike was not intended to be used with an engine.
In any situation where the manufacturer and the injured person share liability for the accident, the damages will be reduced to reflect the injured individual’s share of fault. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means an injured individual will not be prevented from collecting damages if he or she shares in the liability. If you are found 20% responsible for your injury, you can still collect 80% of the damages if the manufacturer is found 80% liable.
Call the Durham Law Group After a Product Defect Injury in Tampa
At the Durham Law Group, our attorneys represent individuals who are injured by defective products in Florida. We understand how severe these injuries can be and how the costs and expenses related to those injuries can be devastating for an individual and their family. Call us at 813-333-6250 to discuss your claim with an experienced Tampa product liability attorney.