Broward County Defective Product Attorney
When consumers purchase a product, they have every right to assume that it is safe. It’s the job of the designer, manufacturer, and sometimes the retailer to ensure that their products won’t harm anyone who purchases or uses them. However, not all products live up to such expectations. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) research, dangerous or defective products result in nearly three million injuries and 22,000 fatalities every year in the United States.
When an innocent person is injured by a defective product, the manufacturer, designer, or retailer could be held liable for the monetary damages resulting from the injury. By hiring an experienced Palm Beach County defective product attorney from the Iscoe Law Firm, those who are injured can ensure the best outcome for their personal injury claim.
Common Types of Defective Products
Nearly any type of item or product can be defective, although some are more prone to cause injuries than others.
According to the CPSC, there were about 60,600 emergency department-treated injuries associated with nursery products among children in 2019 in children younger than five.
Of all the injuries, 64 percent were associated with the following products:
- High chairs
- Infant carriers
In addition, an average of 119 children younger than age five suffers fatal injuries associated with various nursery products. Of these devastating fatalities, 83 percent involve:
- Playpens/play yards
- Infant carriers
- Inclined infant sleep products
The CPSC reports that in 2018, there were 17 toy-related fatalities among children under 15 years of age. Non-motorized scooters were involved in three of these deaths. Rubber balloons and balls were associated with another three by causing airway obstructions. Furthermore:
An estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms that same year.
Out of 226,100 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, about 73 percent involved children less than 15 years of age; 70 percent involved children under the age of 12; and 37 percent of victims were children younger than five years old.
Thirty-nine percent of the estimated emergency department-treated injuries were categorized as lacerations, contusions, or abrasions. In comparison, forty-six percent were injuries to the head or face area, which was the most commonly affected body area.
Televisions, Furniture, and Appliances
The instability of televisions, furniture, and appliances can lead to tip-over incidents that result in severe injuries and even fatalities to both adults and children. The estimated yearly average number of injuries treated in emergency departments include:
- 11,300 (44 percent) involving children under the age of 18
- 10,000 (39 percent) involving adults between the ages of 18 to 59 years
- 4,200 (17 percent) involving seniors, age 60 and older
Of the reported fatalities:
- 469 (82 percent) involved children under 18, ranging from 1 month to 14 years
- 20 (4 percent) involved adults (age 18 to 59 years), ranging from 28 to 59 years
- 82 (14 percent) involved seniors 60 years and older
Micromobility products include e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards. Between 2017 and 2019, there were nearly 133,000 emergency department visits related to injuries caused by these products. There were 41 deaths linked to micromobility products between 2017 and 2019. Brake problems accounted for almost half of all e-scooter incidence. Of the 102 hoverboard incidents reported, 93 were related to fire hazards. E-bike incidents were linked to brake failure.
Other potentially defective products linked to injuries and fatalities include:
- Spray polyurethane foam insulation
- Liquid laundry packets
- E-cigarettes and tobacco products
- Medical devices and implants, including breast implants
- Prescription drugs
- Electric clothes dryers
- Gas range stovetops
- Table saws
- Pneumatic nailers
- Window blinds
- Shopping carts
- Pools, spas, and bathtubs
- Motor vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- Amusement rides
- Playground equipment at schools, daycares, parks, and playgrounds
At the Iscoe Law Firm, we’ve successfully handled all types of different liability claims. No matter what kind of product caused your injuries, a skilled Palm Beach County defective product lawyer can help you pursue justice through financial recovery. They will investigate your claim to determine who is liable for your injuries and hold them accountable.
Product Recalls: Protecting Consumers from Defects
Many defective consumer products are identified as causes of severe and even fatal injuries each year. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of consumer products sold in the U.S. are mandated by law to alert the CPSC if they become aware that:
- A defective product might pose a significant risk of injury to its consumers
- A product creates an unreasonable risk of severe injuries or death
- A product fails to comply with applicable consumer product safety rules or standards under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) or any other laws imposed by the CPSC
Suppose a company fails to completely and immediately report this information. In that case, their inactions may lead to substantial civil or criminal penalties. An individual harmed by a manufacturer’s failure to warn of a product’s risk or their parent or legal guardian also may have a legal right to file a product liability claim. The party responsible could end up owing them compensation for their injuries and damages.
The CPSA also makes it illegal to sell, distribute, or import consumer products that are not in compliance with a CPSC-issued safety rule or a corrective action order. When necessary, the CPSA gives the CPSC the authority to issue recalls on its own and ban products.
What is Product Liability?
A manufacturer or retailer of goods can be held liable for allowing a defective product to enter the stream of commerce if it causes harm under the legal theory of product liability. Federal and state laws mandate that all products be reasonably safe when a consumer uses them as intended. Typically, this means that the product is free of hidden defects, its intended use and method of use are readily evident, or the instructions for its use are provided with the product. Defective product protections extend not just to the purchaser but also to anyone who uses the product.
An injured party could file a legal claim based on:
- A negligence claim in which they must establish that a manufacturer or retailer was careless in the production or sale of the product
- A strict liability claim simply needs evidence that the product sold to the public was defective in some manner
- A breach of warranty claim is contract-based action that necessitates proof that the manufacturer or retailer broke a commitment it made in regards to the product
Types of Product Liability Claims
Not all product liability claims are the same. They are generally categorized by where in the process the defect or negligence occurred.
In this category, the product was defective when it was produced. It wasn’t fabricated in the way that it was designed to be. In these cases, not every unit needs to be flawed as it only takes one. A defective manufacturing claim arises when someone is harmed because of the defect and not due to negligent or improper use. A toaster with frayed wiring could give rise to a defective product claim.
A defective design claim is warranted when a product is deficient by design or inherently dangerous. The defect occurs with the product’s design, not during the manufacturing process. Therefore, the entire product line is affected. An injured party needs to show that their injury occurred due to the defective design instead of their negligent use of the product. Examples of defective design include:
- A toy that comes apart in several small pieces, creating a choking hazard
- A hot water heater that lacks a pressure relief valve
Failure to Give Adequate Instructions or Warnings
Product manufacturers must give consumers instructions about the proper use of a product or warnings about any potential inherent dangers. If they don’t do this, they can be held liable for any subsequent injuries. These types of claims are generally associated with products in which the danger isn’t apparent to the consumer. A cleaning product that lacks a warning about its toxicity or a microwave that doesn’t warn consumers about what can’t be placed in it are both examples that could give rise to these types of claims if someone was injured as a result.
The Elements of Negligence in Product Liability
Generally, for all three different types of claims, the injured party or their Palm Beach County defective product attorney on their behalf must show that:
- The product’s designer, manufacturer, or distributor owed them a duty of care—for example, to design and manufacture a safe product or to provide instructions or warnings about it
- They violated their duty of care
- As a direct result of their violation, the injured party suffered physical harm
- The harm they suffered led to their damages
These points are often referred to as the elements of negligence. If they can’t be established in a legal claim, the claim won’t be successful. Since proving them can be complicated, especially if you are trying to recover from your injuries, it is in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable Palm Beach County defective product lawyer to represent you.
Florida’s Product Liability Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations refers to how long someone has to file a legal action. Statutes of limitation can vary between each state and the type of claim. In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations for injuries resulting from product liability. If you are injured by a defective product, you have four years from the date of your injury to file a legal claim. However, suppose the injury results in death. In that case, the injured party’s family or personal representative only has two years from the date of the death to file a claim.
Statute of Repose
A statute of repose is an exception to the statute of limitations. If your injury didn’t become apparent on the day the product revealed its defect, you have longer than four years from that date to file your claim. The statute of repose for this type of claim in Florida is 12 years meaning the purchaser or consumer has 12 years from the date of purchase to file a legal claim.
The statutes and deadlines that may apply to your product liability claim can quickly become confusing and even overwhelming. During this challenging time, you need to focus on your healing and recovery and not on becoming a legal expert. How can you do this and still ensure you don’t miss any crucial deadlines or requirements? Hire a reputable Palm Beach County defective product attorney who can effectively advocate for you.
Compensatory damages are the most common types of damages awarded in a personal injury claim. They are intended to compensate an injured victim for their harm and losses resulting from the defective product injury. There are two types of compensatory damages in personal injury claims; special and general.
Special damages are actual damages you incurred due to your injury. They are a monetary award that is meant to replace your financial losses. As such, they are sometimes known as economic damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, they can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Medical equipment
- Rehabilitation and therapies
- Domestic services
- Disability accommodations
- Live-in care or nursing home care
- Transportation and travel costs
- Lost income and wages
- Damaged or destroyed property
- Legal expenses and attorney’s fees
The value of special damages is easily determined by adding up their actual costs. Saving receipts and bills as well as obtaining wage loss statements from your employer will help make this process easier on you and your Palm Beach County defective product lawyer.
- General damages refer to those you deserve for your intangible losses resulting from the at-fault party’s actions or inactions. They are also known as non-economic damages and can include:
- Loss of opportunities
- Lost capacity to earn a living in the future
- Lost quality of life
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Grief and loss of consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety or depression
Since general damages represent intangible losses, your Palm Beach County defective product lawyer can help you determine what their value is to you. Sometimes they may also enlist the help of other professionals to help make such a critical determination.
What are Damage Caps?
Damage caps are legal limits placed on how much money an injured party can receive to compensate them for their damages. When a damage cap applies, victims can’t receive more than the amount of the cap. Damage caps are commonly used in medical malpractice claims and with punitive damages.
Florida also has laws regarding damage caps for product liability claims. Recovery for product liability claims can’t be over $500,000 or more than three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the victim. The victim is required to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the party who caused their injuries knew their actions were wrong.
However, suppose the court finds that the at-fault party acted incredibly reckless or wantonly, or their actions were financially motivated and could have injured the general public. In that case, they can receive punitive damages up to $2 million or four times that of the victim’s compensatory damages.
What Should You Do if You are Injured by a Product?
If a product injures you, the steps you take both now and into the can impact the success of your claim. Here are some critical points to remember:
Keep the product. You will need to show that it is defective. If you can, save the sales receipt, packaging, owner/user manual, and any accessories it came with.
Don’t send the product back to the manufacturer or take it back to the store where you bought it. It can easily become lost or misplaced. In fact, the manufacturer would like this to happen as it means there’s less evidence in support of your claim, which decreases their risk of liability.
If you can’t keep the product, get as much information as you can about it. Take pictures of the product and whenever possible, be sure to include:
- Tags, stickers, or decals with identification numbers
- VIN numbers
- Make and model
- Manufacturer name
- As much additional information as you can gather
Get medical attention. You may have injuries that aren’t readily apparent. Seeing a doctor can ensure that any injuries you sustain are identified, diagnosed, and treated. Keep in mind that some injuries don’t show symptoms right away. By getting medical attention as soon as possible, you are safeguarding your health and your legal rights.
Document evidence. If you are able, take pictures or videos of the product and any visible injuries. If the product damages other things, such as burning a countertop, be sure to document that as well. You should also write out a detailed description of precisely what happened when you were using the product that led up to your injuries. You may forget small but imperative details later, and writing down what you know now can help strengthen your legal claim.
Can a Palm Beach County Defective Product Lawyer Settle My Claim?
Most personal injury cases, including defective product claims, are settled outside of court. Your Palm Beach County defective product attorney will use their negotiation skills to attempt to reach an acceptable settlement agreement with the at-fault party. Although this can take several months, it is typically quicker than proceeding to court. In most cases, it’s beneficial for both parties to settle out of court. Not only does it take less time, but it also is less expensive and gives both sides more control over the outcome.
If a settlement agreement can’t be reached that includes receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries, your Palm Beach County defective product lawyer can help you litigate your claim.
Hire an Experienced Palm Beach County Defective Product Attorney
At the Iscoe Law Firm, we know how to fight for your rights after you’ve sustained an injury from a product you trusted. Whether it was an appliance, a prescription medication, a piece of furniture, a vehicle, or a tool, we are trusted advocates who can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We are fully aware that suffering such injuries can impact nearly every aspect of your life, which is why we spare no expense when it comes to holding product designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers accountable for the harm they’ve caused you.
Contact us at 800 800-6500 or online today to receive a complimentary case consultation and learn about your legal rights and options.