WHAT IS A PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIM
Product liability lawsuits, also known as defective product lawsuits, can be extremely complicated and expensive to pursue. There is no limit to the types of defective products that can cause injuries, from poorly designed vehicles and poorly made tires to faulty household items such as swing sets or ladders. Sometimes products don’t operate as they were intended to and this can often result in severe or even catastrophic injuries. If you have been injured by any type of product, you should consult with a product liability attorney as soon as possible.
Products liability law usually involves making a determination as to the identity of the manufacturer and the different companies involved in the chain of supply. There are often several companies that participated in ultimately getting the defective product from the manufacturer to you, the consumer.
Florida courts usually apply a “strict liability” standard in product liability cases. This generally means that the company’s intent is irrelevant. If the plaintiff can prove that the product was defective, then the manufacturer will be held responsible. Of course, proving that a product is defective can be a very complicated process that typically involves expert witnesses (such as engineers) who have inspected and tested the product.
There are a few different legal theories that can be pursued against defendants in a product liability case. The first type of case involves what is called a “design defect”. These involve products that are manufactured as intended, but yet they are still dangerous in their design or the way they were made. If the product does not perform as reasonably expected in its intended manner, it will be considered unreasonably dangerous. Examples of design defects include a vehicle that tends to roll over in crashes or a small toy that can be easily swallowed by a baby.
Other product cases involve a “failure to warn”. In these types of cases, the product is usually manufactured properly and may have even been properly designed. However, it is not delivered to the consumer with the appropriate instructions or warnings. As a result of the lack or warnings, the product becomes unreasonably dangerous. Examples of a failure to warn could involve a ladder system that lacks instruction, or a medication that does not contain warnings about its side effects.
Another type of product liability lawsuit can involve manufacturing defects. These involve situations where the product is designed safely, but there is a problem in the manufacturing of the product and it was not actually made in a manner that is consistent with the design. These types of cases can involve situations where a tire blows as a result of the way the plant manufactured the tire, even if the design of the tire was safe.
The statute of limitations for a product liability claim is 4 years from the date of the incident. If the defective product caused a wrongful death, any lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the date of death.
One of the defenses that is frequently raised in product liability lawsuits is that the plaintiff altered the product in some manner before the injury occurred. If the alteration was a partial cause of the injury, this can create significant problems in pursuing a claim. If you have been injured by a defective product, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, FL as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
Thanks to Jeff Murphy Law for their insight into personal injury claims and product liability.