We use our purchasing power to buy consumer goods that are designed to enrich our lives in one way or another. When one of these products, instead, proves dangerous, it can not only feel like a betrayal but can also cause considerable damage (or can even prove deadly). Sometimes, these products are recalled by the manufacturer, but such recalls are often predicated on the injured consumers who came before. If a faulty consumer product leaves you or someone you love injured, turn to a product recall attorney in Florida for the legal help you need.
Product recalls are generally based on a governmental agency – or the manufacturer itself – determining that a product is inherently and unreasonably dangerous to consumers or is dangerously defective (to an unreasonable degree). While manufacturers sometimes make the call themselves, they don’t always do so as soon as the safety issue becomes apparent – and some put off the recall until the last possible moment (greatly increasing the risk to consumers).
The Elements of Your Claim
If you have been injured by a defective product, you will need to demonstrate that four specific elements are present in order to move forward with a viable claim.
To begin, you will need to show that the product in question was defective in some way or that there were undue risks involved with it that the manufacturer knew about – or should have known about – but that it failed to warn consumers about. Product defects are generally categorized into one or more of the following classifications:
- Products that are dangerous by design, such as cars that have serious design flaws
- Products that are rendered defective during the manufacturing process, such as drugs that are tainted by foreign substances that are present during the manufacturing process
- Products that involve inherent dangers when not used appropriately but that lack the requisite warning labels and/or instructions
The kind of consumer goods that are commonly associated with defective product claims include:
- Cars and car parts
- Children’s clothing and toys
- Medical devices and medications
- Household appliances
- Chemicals and cleaning agents
- Foods (that are contaminated in some way)
- Industrial equipment and machinery
Product Used as Intended by Manufacturer
Almost any consumer product can be rendered dangerous if it is used for something other than what it is intended to do. This is why, in order to bring a successful product liability claim, you must have used the product for its intended use – or in a way that the manufacturer could have (or should have) reasonably expected.
It is not enough that the product in question is defective – the defect must be directly responsible for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Finally, in order to recover on your damages in a product liability claim, you must demonstrate that you suffered covered damages (or losses), which can include:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Physical and emotional damages
Negligence on the Part of the Manufacturer
Cases involving defective products and product recalls generally come down to negligence on the part of the manufacturer, which can come in any of the following forms:
- Failing to thoroughly test products before they are released for sale
- Failing to adequately inspect the plants in which the products are produced
- Failing to implement adequate maintenance procedures for the machines and equipment used in the production of products
When manufacturers put profits before safety, it greatly increases the risks to consumers.
Express vs. Implied Warranty
Often, the negligence in product liability claims is based on the manufacturer’s breach of warranty. When products are sold to consumers, there are two kinds of warranties involved, including express and implied.
The express warranty refers to the list of promises the manufacturer specifically attaches to the product in question. Examples include an entitlement to repair and replace when a product is determined to be defective.
The implied warranty involves the implied guarantee that the product in question is safe when used in accordance with its intended purpose. This warranty is implied in the sense that putting the product on the market implies that it is safe to be used.
The Statute of Limitations
In the State of Florida, there is a statute of limitations – or time limit – that applies to product liability claims. In Florida, you have four years from the date you were injured by the defective product to bring your claim. There are, however, a number of complications that can affect this time requirement, including:
- If you do not discover the injuries you sustained right away, you can file for an extension.
- If the defective product leads to a deadly accident, the statute of limitations is shortened to two years for the wrongful death claim.
- If the product that caused you to be injured was already past its expected range of usefulness – such as for foods and drugs – when you sustained your injury, it bars you from bringing a claim.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Florida employs what is known as pure comparative negligence when it comes to product liability claims, which is to the claimant’s distinct advantage. This means that, even if you share some part of the responsibility for the product-based accident that leaves you injured, you are not barred from recovering the percentage of responsibility shouldered by the manufacturer. In fact, you can be up to 99 percent responsible for the injury-causing accident and still recover whatever percentage of your losses the at-fault party (generally the manufacturer) is deemed responsible for.
Reach out to an Experienced Florida Product Recall Attorney
If a defective product leaves you injured, the practiced product recall attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm – proudly serving Miami, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County – are well positioned and well prepared to help. Because your case is important, we’re available to take your call 24 hours a day – 365 days a year – so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 800-800-6500 today.