If you have been injured by a defective product, the court may award compensation to you for your pain, suffering, and losses. Moreover, your case may have the potential to hold a company accountable for their defective product in such a way that they are driven to make changes that protect more people going forward.
Economic damages may be awarded for the following:
- Lost income, both past and future
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Lost services and support
- Replacement value
- Loss of appraised real property value
- Costs of repairs, including labor, profit and overhead
- Any other loss that occurred only due to the injury or harm of the situation
If you were partially at fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced proportionally. For example, if the overall damages were $30,000, but the courts find you to be 50 percent responsible, your damages will be reduced to $15,000.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. According to the Consumer Protection Act, a product may be deemed defective if “the safety of the product is not such as persons generally are entitled to expect.”
For example, you can reasonably expect a child’s toy not to cause burns. If your attorney can prove that the toy was defective, you may be able to win damages for your child’s injuries.
When deciding who should be held liable for damages, the court will discuss whether the product itself was defective or if the manufacturer was negligent. The basis for liability may apply in three different ways in a defective product lawsuit.
Understanding the Basis for Liability and What Must be Proven
If the product design was defective, that means the manufacturer had intent for the item to be produced in the way it turned out. That means the intended design caused unreasonable danger. The consumer expectation test decides whether a product is unreasonably dangerous in Florida.
If the manufacturing was defective, the product may have had a safe design but the manufacturing process went wrong and created unreasonable danger. If the product then causes injury, the manufacturer would be the entity held accountable for the injury.
If the product marketing was defective, it means that the product may have been properly designed and manufactured, but the product marketer failed to include proper warnings of known product risks. If an attorney can prove that the risks could have been negated if proper warnings were provided, this charge may stand against the product marketer.
So, depending on the specific nature of your situation, your lawyer will be working to prove that:
- There were, in fact, injuries.
- Those injuries were due to the product in question.
- One of the following:
- The design of the product caused the problem
- A manufacturing issue caused the problem
- The product was improperly marketed
Defenses You May Have to Fight against
The defenses that you may have to work against in a defective product lawsuit include:
- The product was modified after it left control of the designer or manufacturer
- The sole cause of damage was unforeseen misuse of the product
- The risk was known and assumed by the user
Keep in mind that a statute of limitations exists for filing a defective product lawsuit. If either personal or property injury occurs, the limit is four years. If wrongful death occurred, the limit is two years. The clock starts on the day that the problem was discovered, but it is important to note that you can’t file suit if the injury or death occurred more than 12 years after the product was purchased in most cases.
Since product designers, manufacturers, and marketers will fight hard against the charges, you will need help from a legal team experienced in cases like yours. Contact our offices today to set up a consultation about the details of your situation.
About the Author:
Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.