Those who produce, distribute and sell consumer products (and prescription drugs) must make certain their products are safe when used normally. It is, in fact, their legal duty. When they fail they can be held financially liable for the injuries and other damages they cause to those who use their defective products. Call our firm at 954-767-6500 to request a meeting with a product liability lawyer in Fort Lauderdale if you suffered an injury because of one (or more) of the following reasons:
- Defects in design: the product was negligently and improperly designed; which caused it to malfunction and injure the user.
- Production defects: a well-designed product can be poorly made for a variety of different reasons, then harm the user.
- Defective parts: a faulty part in a product can result in malfunction and injury.
- Dangerous ingredients: medications manufactured with ingredients that cause toxic reactions or harmful side effects without proper disclaimers from the pharmaceutical company.
- Failure to warn: the maker of the product must clearly warn consumers of the foreseeable dangers from using their product in all of their product and warranty literature. And, if a product is found to be defective, the manufacturer must recall it and issue warnings to the public of those dangers.
- Strict liability: the product is clearly and unreasonably dangerous to begin with. In cases of strict liability, negligence does not need to be proven, even if it is not dangerously manufactured.
Proving a Product Liability Claim or Case
Defective product lawsuits only apply to devices that are sold in the commercial marketplace. If your new lawn mower “fell off a truck,” even if it was in an unopened box, the legal chain of distribution is broken, and those who are injured by this defective product – even if it’s brand new – have no legal claim for damages if they are injured.
In order to have a successful defective product claim, our firm must clearly prove liability by the manufacturer or anyone within its supply chain: either through negligence or strict liability in the following sequence:
- As the plaintiff, you bought the product from a legitimate retailer.
- You used the product in the way it was intended, kept it in reasonable working order.
- You were either not aware of the defect, or use of the device fell under strict liability.
Recovering Damages and the Statute of Limitations
In an attempt to evade liability, manufacturers’ insurance companies may aggressively contest virtually all defective product injury claims. The compensatory damages injured plaintiffs often seek can include:
- All present, future medical costs and disability, if applicable.
- Lost wages (and in case of victim wrongful death lost future wages and benefits (medical, dental, retirement, etc.).
- Non-economic damages: such as pain and suffering, mental anguish: and several wrongful death damages such as loss of consortium, guidance, affection and support the deceased would have provided [Fla. Stat §768.72].
Punitive damages may also be justified; though those are not sought by plaintiffs, but awarded in cases where the defendant manufacturer committed gross negligence or other behavior that causes the judge or jury to levy further punishment on the company. In Florida, punitive damages are limited – or “capped” at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 whichever is greater [Fla. Stat. §768.73].
Do You Believe You Have a Product Liability Case?
The statute of limitations for filing a product liability lawsuit in Florida is four years from the date the injury occurred [Fla. Stat. §95.11(3)(o)]. But there might be some exceptions that could extend that time, such as in cases of many defective medical devices. If your product liability claim becomes part of a Mass Tort or Class Action lawsuit to include other plaintiffs, it could be extended several years, depending on many factors. For more information on these exceptions, or if you wish to learn more about your legal options and whether you have a viable case, contact the Montero Law Center for a free consultation at 954-767-6500, email info@monterolaw, or click here fill out our case evaluation form.