People purchase products with the expectation that they can use them safely as long as they follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Occasionally, companies release products with defective designs that put consumers at risk.
Florida attempts to balance consumer expectation with company liability. This helps ensure that consumers receive compensation for damages when companies do not fulfill their responsibilities. Laws also protect companies from excessive litigation, though. This can make it difficult for some people to determine when they have product liability lawsuits worth pursuing. Contacting the product liability lawyers in Fort Lauderdale at the Montero Law Center will help determine whether you have a case. We can also explain your options for pursuing compensation for damages like medical expenses and lost wages. It’s nearly impossible to pursue this type of lawsuit on your own. Our firm can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Understanding the Court’s Definition of Defective Design
You probably think that the definition of “defective design” is pretty obvious. Once you take your case to court, you may learn that lawyers and judges have a very precise definition that doesn’t match yours.
Companies are given some leeway when designing products. They don’t have to reach perfection in every design to meet their legal obligations. In fact, they may release some hazardous products while still meeting legal obligations that protect them from liability.
A successful defective design product liability suit must establish that:
- The manufacturer had the ability to produce a better design.
- A better design was economically feasible at the time of production.
- An alternative design would have been as practical as the original without negatively affecting the product’s intended use.
If you and your lawyer cannot prove these things, then it is unlikely that you will win compensation from the manufacturer.
In addition, your lawsuit must show that the entire model, not the specific one that you own, has a design flaw. Let’s say you have an electric blanket that catches on fire. If you can show that the design used to make all of those electric blankets has defects, then you likely can file this type of lawsuit. If, however, there is a flaw specific to your electric blanket that does not occur in others, then you likely will need to file a liability suit for defectively manufactured products. The difference is subtle, but it is important to the court.
The Statute of Limitations for Defective Design Product Liability Suits
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations on lawsuits involving defective product designs and other types of product liability. If you find a design problem, you must file suit within four years of the discovery. You are also held responsible for noticing the design flaw. Manufacturers may argue that a reasonable person would have discovered the defective design earlier than you. If the sitting judge accepts this, then you may find that you have unknowingly let the statute of limitations expire.
Note that the statute of limitations clock does not start ticking until you discover the design flaw or a reasonable person should have discovered the problem.
A different statute of limitations explains that you must file a lawsuit within 10 years of the product’s first purchase. Even if you buy a used product, the court still will consider the date of first purchase as the day the statute of limitations clock begins counting.
If you are injured by using the product, then the statute of limitations extends to 12 years after the first sale.
Pursuing Compensation for Defective Designs
Contact the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to learn whether you have a viable liability lawsuit based on a product’s defective design. If you do, then we can start gathering evidence and filing paperwork. If your case does not fit this specific type of lawsuit, you may have alternative options that will help you get the compensation you need.