Product Liability Lawyer
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In Florida, product manufacturers are strictly liable if the manufacturer designed a dangerous product. Products are considered to be dangerous if there is a defect in the item that poses an unreasonable hazard. The products are dangerous before they leave the factory. Plaintiffs who file a claim under the theory of strict liability are not required to prove the manufacturer behaved negligently. Instead, the plaintiff must establish one of the following:
- The design is defective
- The product is unsafe when used as intended
- The injury was caused by a manufacturing defect
- The injury was caused by a marketing defect
Plaintiffs are not required to present evidence to convince the court that the manufacturer’s conduct amounted to negligence. However, the injured party must prove:
- The product was in a condition that is unreasonably dangerous to consumers
- The product is expected to reach consumers in the dangerous condition and did reach consumers in that condition
- The product did not meet the average consumer’s safety expectations when used as intended
- The hazard created by the dangerous design outweighs the product’s benefit
Product liability claim based on negligence
Manufacturers are liable for injuries they cause due to their negligent behaviors. There are several steps in the process of creating a product at which a manufacturer can behave negligently:
- Product design
- Materials selection
- Assembly and testing
- Placement of warnings, directions, and there labels
To receive compensation in a negligence-based civil court claim, the injured party must prove the manufacturer had a duty, the manufacturer breached the duty, the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the injury resulted in the plaintiff incurring a loss. Proving the breach element can be especially challenging in product liability cases. The plaintiff’s attorney must gather information about the manufacturer’s current practices and research standard practices.
Defective design in product liability cases
Victims who are injured by a product may approach a defective design based on strict liability or from the negligence angle. Strict liability claims focus on the product itself whereas a claim that is based on negligence is focused on the manufacturer’s conduct. In a strict liability-based claim, the manufacturer may be liable even if it exercises reasonable care in designing the product. For example, a chair manufacturer may carefully design a chair and clearly label the product with the maximum recommended weight limit. The design may pass through inspection. However, if a design element causes the chair to collapse when used as intended by people who are within the weight limit, the manufacturer may be strictly liable for customers’ injuries. Even though the manufacturer carefully designed and inspected the chair thoroughly, the theory of strict liability holds that the manufacturer would be liable regardless. If we analyze the same example based on the theory of negligence, the injured party would be required to prove the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care at some point in the design process.
Establishing negligence in the materials selection process
Selecting the right materials for a product is critical to the product’s performance. Negligence-based claims may arise from a manufacturer’s failure to exercise reasonable care in selecting manufacturing materials. For example, a chair manufacturer who produces plastic chairs may be liable if the manufacturer chooses a low-quality plastic that melts when the room temperature is higher than 75 degrees. A furniture manufacturer should reasonably anticipate its furniture might be used in homes that may reach warmer temperatures, especially in hot climates. Therefore, if consumers are injured as a result of the manufacturer’s chair suddenly collapsing, a Florida court may find the manufacturer behaved negligently in the materials selection process.
Negligence in product production
A manufacturer may be liable if he or she behaves negligently in producing a product. If a chair manufacturer knowingly has faulty equipment in a factory, the manufacturer may be liable if the faulty equipment produces a product that causes injury. Similarly, a candlemaker may be liable if the wax used to make the candles becomes contaminated with explosive material. The contaminated candles may cause injury when lighting the candle wick, which is the way the average person uses candles. An injured consumer may file a claim based on the negligence theory.
Negligence in assembly and testing
A manufacturer may be liable if it does not make a reasonable effort to eliminate and prevent hazards in the assembly and testing processes. Making a reasonable effort includes properly training and supervising workers, maintaining equipment in working condition, and inspecting the end product after assembly. Consumers may be injured as a result of a product falling apart or being assembled incorrectly. The consumer may establish a negligence-based claim by proving the manufacturer behaved unreasonably regarding the manner in which the product was assembled. The injured party may also argue the client behaved unreasonably by not properly inspecting the product.
Negligence in product labeling
Labels identify products, their ingredients, safety hazards, and directions on how to use the product as intended. Manufacturers have a duty to label products correctly and to affix labels in a manner in which the labels can be read and understood. If an ingredient that was not included on the label causes illness, the injured party may argue the manufacturer did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the product was properly labeled.
Tampa product liability lawyer
Tampa personal injury lawyers are available to represent people who are injured by defective products. Product liability claims are research-intensive. Therefore, injured consumers need a knowledgeable, experienced personal injury lawyer on their side. Contact us today to receive a free consultation. We will fight for your rights to the compensation you deserve. We treat each client with the utmost professionalism, and we handle each case with discretion.