Defective products can lead to serious injuries and even the wrongful death of you or a loved one. Cases that stem from defective products come in a variety of forms and can involve a range of defendants. Understanding how defective products can impact Florida consumers, which parties may be held responsible, and the types of claims which can be filed may assist you with knowing what to expect from the legal process.
Florida Defective Product Cases Can Involve Defects in Manufacturing, Design, or Marketing
A defect is considered to have occurred in the manufacturing product when a dangerous condition stems from the builder or maker failing to follow the product’s intended design. Failures to follow the intended design can stem from negligence on the part of the manufacturer. They can also stem from the manufacturer intentionally changing the intended process in order to save costs.
Some products are inherently dangerous due to a design flaw. This means that, even if the product is built exactly as it was designed to be, it will still be inherently dangerous to consumers. Defective design can be the result of incompetence by the designing entity or a failure of internal controls or review processes. It can also be the result of a designer who omits what they know are important safety features in an effort to keep projected manufacturing costs down.
A product may very well be designed and manufactured in a way that makes it relatively safe. Defective marketing, however, may lead the public to use the product in a way that was not originally intended. If such marketing leads to a product being used in a way that causes injury, illness, or death, then liability may ensue.
Identifying the Parties Potentially Liable For a Product Which Was Defectively Designed, Manufactured, or Marketed
The three types of product liability cases described above can make it seem as if liability will be isolated to only one entity. This entity would be the one who designed the product or either the one who manufactured it, or marketed it. The fact of the matter, however, is that there is often extensive collaboration between these entities, and liability may extend to multiple parts of the product chain.
Consider the following example. A company has decided to sell a new laptop computer. The computer will be designed in-house and marketed by a third-party agency. The design team is aware that the product may not have market viability unless costs are kept low. As a result, the computer is designed in a way that does not allow adequate ventilation to its internal parts and can cause overheating if left on too long. The third-party manufacturer has its own engineering team, and when reviewing the design, they raise these concerns. The concerns are overruled, and the computers are built in accordance with the original design. Finally, the marketing company makes battery life and the ability to leave the computer on long-term a key to its advertising campaign. The advertising company makes no effort to ensure that safety testing has been conducted to ensure that continuously leaving the computer on is safe.
Liability can extend to multiple entities under the aforementioned scenario. The designing company obviously cut corners to save projected costs. The manufacturing company built a product that they had reason to believe was dangerous. The marketing company generated an ad campaign without ensuring that their ads would lead to safe use of the product. While every case will depend on the specifics of the matter, this example shows how liability can extend to multiple entities.
How Defective Products Harm Consumers
A defective product’s harm to consumers can come in the form of immediate injury or health problems that occur after long-term use. Immediate injuries can involve scarring, burns, and permanent disability. Long-term health problems can lead to a shorter life expectancy as well as constant pain and discomfort.
Consumers can suffer several impacts from the types of harm listed above. The first is the fact that they will be required to incur medical expenses now and in the future. If one has suffered a serious injury these expenses can be substantial as they can entail multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, etc. Second, consumers can suffer lost income due to time they have missed from work and time they can be expected to miss going forward. If an injury is severe enough, and a consumer is not able to return to the workplace, then they may miss out on a lifetime of income. Finally, as in any personal injury case, a consumer will endure physical pain due to the accident and ongoing care. They will also endure suffering and aggravation from having to go through the process as well as from having to go through ongoing treatment.
How an Attorney Can Help an Injured Consumer
An attorney can take immediate steps to protect the interests of a consumer. These steps include identifying all the potential defendants and making immediate contact with their insurance carriers. Once a defendant’s damages are known then the attorney will submit a settlement demand to the insurers. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the attorney will file a lawsuit and litigate a case on the consumer’s behalf.
An attorney will retain any necessary professionals who may be needed, given the complex nature of product liability cases. These professionals can include investigators, medical experts, as well as industry and design experts. The attorney will pay the fees of these experts up front and will not be reimbursed until your case settles or goes to trial.
Contact A Florida Product Liability Attorney
If you or a family member have been harmed by a defective product then it is vital that you return a lawyer to assist you. The handling of such matters is highly complicated, and having experienced counsel can help to ensure that your rights remain protected.