Every year, unsafe products lead to over 20,000 wrongful deaths, nearly 30 million injuries, and losses of about $700 billion across the U.S. While nobody wants to be part of this sad statistic, it’s essential to know that if you or a loved one has sustained an injury because of faulty product safety, you may be eligible for compensation.
How does product liability work in Florida, what counts as a defective product, and when should you file a claim? Joshua R. Jones, founder and managing partner at Josh Jones Law, P.A., has provided some answers.
The Products We Use In Our Daily Lives Can Be Defective
Before a product goes out to the market, it has to comply with multiple safety regulations that exist to protect the consumer. However, no system is perfect, and even an innocent-looking product may turn out to be dangerous.
Unsafe products usually fall under one of three categories:
- Defective design: Examples may include toys with sharp parts or angles, unstable furniture that may cause people to fall when they use it, or an electric appliance with openings that allow the user to touch the product’s dangerous parts.
- Defective manufacturing: Products may turn out to be unsafe because of accidental flaws in the manufacturing process, such as toxin contamination or missing product details.
- Failure to warn: The manufacturer must include proper and adequate warnings on the product packaging, such as a drug’s potential side effects or age restrictions for childhood safety.
Legal Definition of Product Liability in Florida
To win a product liability case in Florida, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a product’s defect in design or manufacturing—or the lack of proper product warnings—has led to a hazardous situation.
To reach a verdict, Florida courts use the consumer-expectation test. In a nutshell, this test asks the following question: Does the product perform adequately under reasonable use conditions, as the average consumer would expect?
Proving that a product is defective or unsafe may be complicated. The defendant may claim that the damage has occurred because of product misuse or conditions beyond the manufacturer’s control. Legal representation by an accident attorney who is well-versed in Florida’s product liability area of law is invaluable in this type of case. That’s what we do at Josh Jones Law.
What Is the Difference Between a Statute of Limitations and a Statute of Repose in Florida?
Both a statute of limitations and a statute of repose define the maximum timeframe for filing a lawsuit but from somewhat different angles.
The statute of limitations exists to ensure that the plaintiff takes timely legal action. According to the Florida statute of limitations, individuals who have suffered damage from a defective product generally must bring their claim to court within four years. However, certain circumstances may extend or shorten this deadline.
The statute of repose protects the defendant (the product manufacturer) from liability after a certain amount of time has passed from releasing a product to the market. In Florida, the statute of repose is 12 years. In other words, any liability claims against a product that the manufacturer began distributing more than 12 years ago will be automatically void.
Does the statute of repose override the statute of limitations?
Unfortunately, in some cases, injury victims may discover that, although Florida’s statute of limitations would have given them plenty of time to file a claim, the statute of repose grants the manufacturer immunity from liability claims since the product has been in circulation for over 12 years.
In other instances, after checking the product’s background, personal injury lawyers may advise the injured party to hurry and file a claim before the statute of repose runs out.
Defective Products and the Most Common Types of Injuries
Here are some frequently occurring types of injuries related to defective products:
- Choking, especially among children who inhale or swallow small toy parts
- Electrocution from household appliances with exposed wiring
- Burns from an electric appliance that erupts in flames
- Side effects from prescription drugs
- Malfunctioning safety equipment, such as a child’s car seat that falls apart upon impact
These items by no means form an exhaustive list, so be sure to obtain an individual case evaluation from an accident lawyer who has a thorough knowledge of Florida product liability.
Contact Josh Jones Law, P.A. for Help with Your Defective Products Case in Miami and South Florida
Did you suffer a serious injury or significant damage because of a defective product? Our personal injury law firm can help you prepare for a product liability lawsuit.
At Josh Jones Law, P.A., we focus on helping people, especially those from underserved communities, understand and fight for their legal rights. We serve the Greater Miami area, including:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Miami Gardens
- North Miami
Our mission is to help people, especially from underserved communities, understand and fight for their rights. To learn more, download Your Free Personal Injury Toolkit.
Copyright © 2021. Josh Jones Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.