Products liability is an area of tort law that requires manufacturers and suppliers of products to refrain from putting unsafe products into the stream of commerce. Every type of product available in our vast marketplace has the potential to be the subject of a products liability lawsuit if that product has caused injury to someone. Every participant in the chain of distribution may have some liability, from the maker of a defective component part to the retailer of the product. Merely using a defective product is not sufficient, some actual harm or injury in order to successfully pursue a claim.
Usually, though, it is the manufacturer of the product that bears the most liability, for putting this dangerous product in the marketplace. They are considered the party who has the greatest opportunity to protect consumers from danger.
Products liability claims can be based on any of three theories: negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty. Under the negligence theory the harm might have been caused by negligent manufacturing or negligent design. In Florida, for a plaintiff to prove negligence in a products liability case, they must prove (1) the manufacturer must have a legal duty to design and manufacture a product reasonably safe for use; (2) the manufacturer must fail to comply with that duty; (3) the plaintiff must have an injury that is legally caused by the manufacturer’s breach of duty; and (4) the plaintiff must have suffered damages.
Florida maintains a distinction between negligence and strict liability in their approach to products liability. In order for a Florida plaintiff to prevail in a strict liability case, they must “establish the manufacturer’s relationship to the product in question, the defect and unreasonably dangerous condition of the product, and the existence of the proximate causal connection between such condition and the user’s injuries or damages.” Strict liability dictates that regardless of the level of care exercised by the manufacturer, if the product caused harm, they will be liable.
Regardless of the underlying theory, a product must be shown to be defective in some manner and that defect caused the injury. This defect can be a problem with the manufacture of the product (such as a tainted over the counter drug), or a defective design of the product (such as a faulty ignition switch in a car) or a defect in marketing, such as a failure to adequately warn of consequences of use of the product (such as the defective drug cases).
There are many types of products which have been the subject of products liability litigation. You actually see advertisements for this litigation every day on television – dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices, asbestos exposure, children’s cribs and toys, space heaters and automobiles.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a dangerous or defective product, you should consult with a law firm experienced in products liability. There are very specific elements you must prove in order to be successful against a manufacturer or supplier of a product. Experienced counsel will help you obtain your rightful compensation.
The attorneys at BRILL & RINALDI, The Law Firm have the experience, dedication and knowledge to help you prosecute your products liability case.