What Makes a Product Defective?
Many consumer products harbor hidden dangers the average person may be unable to anticipate. While these dangers may not be immediately apparent, manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for users and stand responsible when they cause injuries. This duty may be broader than many would expect, meaning that viable products liability claims may exist in unexpected places.
In cases involving injuries caused by unsafe consumer products, Florida follows the rule of strict liability. This means that an injured plaintiff does not need to prove that a manufacturer or other entity in the distribution chain acted with any actual negligence so long as he or she can show that the product was defective. Florida judges typically instruct juries that there are several circumstances under which a product can be considered defective. Consider the following examples of situations that might lead to a product liability injury lawsuit:
- Use of cheap materials or shoddy workmanship, such as with a batch of bicycles built below specifications with weakened fasteners that cause an accident when the frame comes apart during normal use.
- Defect in design, such as with a toy that, despite being built to specifications, comes apart into small pieces causing a child to choke.
- Lack of or insufficient warning, such as with an electric heater that does not contain a warning to users that it should be placed away from furniture and other flammable objects, and ends up starting a house fire.
When product defects result in personal injury to the user, the manufacturer is responsible for the resulting damages, even if it did not know of the defect and even if the defect would not have been discoverable or preventable upon the application of reasonable care. This gives plaintiffs a great advantage in proving their cases. Consult an attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to explore your legal options if you suffered harm from using a consumer product.