You go to a store and buy a product, and generally you automatically assume that it is safe to use. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you watch or read the news, you may notice that there is an almost continual stream of stories wherein manufacturers recall their products because they pose a danger to consumers. What happens if you sustain an injury due to one of these defective products?
Product Liability Law In Florida
A potential case against a manufacturer for product liability arises when a product is used as it is intended and causes harm. Florida law breaks these types of cases up into three types:
- Design defect;
- Manufacturing defect; and
- Marketing defect.
Each of these types of cases is similar in that they involve products that cause harm, but they are significantly different from each other in the eyes of the law.
Simply put, a product with a design defect is one where the actual design of the product causes it to be dangerous when used as intended. An example of this would be a tire that was designed to only hold together at speeds less than 50 miles an hour. Clearly, any right-thinking manufacturer would know that a tire would likely be used at speeds greater than this and would pose a hazard to the consumer.
A manufacturing defect occurs when the product is designed correctly but some flaw in the manufacturing process creates a product that is now dangerous when used. Using the tire example from above, if the tire was designed and engineered to withstand speeds of 120 miles per hour but failed at 50 because faulty rubber was used in its manufacture, then it could be rightly said that it had a manufacturing defect.
A marketing, or labeling, defect happens when a product does not contain adequate warnings on its label as to properly warn consumers about the appropriateness of its use. An example of this would be where bleach is contained in a bottle that fails to identify it as a poisonous substance, and further fails to warn that it should be kept out of the reach of children.
Florida, like most jurisdictions, imposes strict liability on the manufacturers of products. This means that a manufacturer can be held liable for the damages caused by its products even though they are not negligent in the design, manufacture or labeling of the product. This is due to the public’s need (and the legislature’s desire) to protect itself from products that create unreasonable dangers to the very people who are intended to use the product.
If you buy a product, you are reasonably expected to be able to use it in a manner that is consistent with its intended use without being harmed. Manufacturers have come a long way in ensuring that their products are safe for use over the past decades. Unfortunately, not all products are safe. If you find yourself or your loved ones injured by a product, you face a complex legal situation. The Tallahassee Law Firm of Fasig & Brooks has decades of experience holding manufacturers accountable. If you are in need of legal help against a manufacturer, call us at either (850) 222-3232 to set up your free initial consultation. We have the experience and skill to get you the results you deserve.