Articles Posted in Products Liability

When people purchase products—either one of their favorites or a new one for the first time—they trust the product will work as advertised. When this is not the case, and the product actually winds up injuring a person, the victim may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. This type of lawsuit is called a Florida products liability lawsuit, where a product manufacturer can be held liable for the person’s injury.

In a recent accident involving a well-known exercise company, a child died after accessing their touch screen treadmill at home. Although details about the accident are still unclear, there have been a handful of incidents where children have been injured because the product is intended to be used by people at least 16 years old. The company has urged customers to adhere to the safety warning concerning their products and to keep the treadmill stored away where children cannot access them.

Depending on if the exercise company adequately warned their customers of a known potential risk, injured customers may be able to sue. In Florida, the court will hold a product manufacturer strictly responsible for their actions. This means a plaintiff does not need to prove negligence as long as they have proven: (1) the item contained a defect; (2) the item caused the victim’s injuries; (3) the victim suffered the injuries because of the defect. There are three types of product defects: design flaw, manufacturing defect, and a failure to warn. A design flaw is a defect made during the product’s creation or inception that makes it dangerous for consumers. Unlike a design flaw, a manufacturing defect is an error during the manufacturing process that makes the product unsafe.

Recently, The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released its findings from a 2019 study regarding high levels of heavy metals in baby foods. Although some of the baby food companies voluntarily submitted their products for internal testing, several companies refused to participate. The refusal is concerning because it may indicate that there are more unsafe baby food products in Florida and throughout the United States than are known to consumers. Companies that fail to abide by health and safety standards may be liable under Florida product liability laws.

The report addressed the levels of heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury present in baby food jars, pouches, teethers, puffs, and similar items. The presence of heavy metals in baby food is not a new issue, and previous studies have published reports on the analysis of metals, such as arsenic, in many rice-based products and juices. The initial 2019 findings focused on all foods babies eat, however, the report focuses on processed baby food items. Many heavy metals are naturally occurring as plants absorb these materials as they propagate and grow. However, there are many ways that heavy metals can enter food products. In some situations, these unsafe metals can enter through manufacturing equipment that the companies use. Further, some of the binding ingredients in processed baby foods contain higher levels of heavy metals.

Many companies argue that these naturally occurring heavy metals are not easily removable. However, other companies have drastically changed their production methods to reduce significant amounts of heavy metals from their products. Despite these contentions, safety experts have provided several recommendations on how to diminish the presence of these unsafe materials in baby foods. They suggest researching new sources of food that contains less naturally occurring heavy metals and discontinue using products that do not have a low-risk alternative. Further, they advocated for an overhaul of outdated and potentially unsafe manufacturing equipment. Finally, they encouraged companies to consider researching chemical methods to reduce the level of mercury in baby food products.

At the end of 2020, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported a Home Depot ceiling fan recall. After receiving dozens of reports, Home Depot issued the voluntary recall that the fan’s blades were detaching and posing serious dangers to people and property. Despite the voluntary recall, individuals who suffered injuries from a faulty ceiling fan may recover damages under Florida product liability laws. Responsible parties may include the product’s manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or retailer. Essentially any party in the stream of commerce may be a potential party.

The Home Depot described the nearly 200,000 ceiling fans as having remote controls, and LED lights. The home improvement store sold the fans in white, black and polished nickel. The fans are manufactured by a Florida company producing the items in China and importing them out of Georgia. There were approximately 182,000 units sold in the United States and another 9,000 in Canada. Manufacturers and federal authorities advised consumers who purchased the fans to stop using them and inspect the blades to ensure that they are not uneven. If any erratic movements or gaps are present, the consumers should contact the distributor.

Florida statute 768.81 governs product liability claims in the state and explains injury victims’ rights and remedies. The majority of claims stem from negligence or strict liability; however, some may arise from a breach of warranty. More than one theory may apply; however, an attorney can help plaintiffs determine the most promising strategic approach.

State and Federal laws mandate that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs meet strict health and safety guidelines before entering the stream of commerce. However, despite rigorous testing, clinical trials, and efficacy studies, many drugs are later found to be unsafe. Those who suffer unanticipated or severe side effects to prescription drugs may file a claim under Florida’s defective product laws.

Drug manufacturers have the duty to responsibly design, market, and distribute their medications. In some cases, unsafe medications make their way to the public, either by questionable marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies or another error. In either event, pharmaceutical injury lawsuits occur when an individual takes a prescribed or recommended defective medication.

Florida defective medication lawsuits are primarily based on drugs with dangerous side effects, medications that have undergone an error in manufacturing, or drugs that have not been marketed properly. Although medications can provide a great degree of relief, even immediate in some cases, a defective medication can have disastrous and long term consequences. Some common injuries that defective medications cause are stroke, heart attack, blood clots, diabetes, mental health issues, and organ failure.

Under Florida law, defective product lawsuits are typically classified under design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn defects. Courts generally analyze these cases under a strict product liability theory or negligence theory. Unlike negligence cases, strict product liability does not consider a party’s intent; instead, plaintiffs must only establish that the product was defective. In some instances, the theories may overlap; however, the overwhelming majority of claims fall under strict product liability.

Florida product liability lawsuits typically fall under three categories, depending on the problem with the product and the manufacturer’s conduct. Claims may stem from design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects. Design defect claims arise when a claimant argues that a product is inherently dangerous because of its design. Generally, claimants must establish that the product does not meet the “consumer expectation test,” which indicates that a product is unreasonably dangerous if it does not perform as a reasonable person would expect it to. Marketing defects occur when a manufacturer or anyone in the production chain fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions. In these cases, claimants may argue that the lack of warnings made the product unreasonably dangerous. Finally, manufacturing defects arise when a product’s design is inherently safe, but an error occurred during production that made the specific product unsafe.

All of these claims base liability on whether a product is “unreasonably dangerous”. Although the term is somewhat vague, courts tend to define an unreasonably dangerous product as more dangerous than an ordinary consumer would contemplate the product to be. For example, recently an appellate court issued an opinion addressing whether a product was unreasonably dangerous. In that case, the plaintiff was working on a trailer manufactured by the defendant. While loading the dump trailer, he stepped, and his hands slid off the top of the trailer, causing him to fall and suffer injuries. He argued that the manufacturer was strictly liable and negligent in designing and manufacturing an unreasonably dangerous product that lacked safety features. He presented expert testimony that the width of steps and spacing did not comply with safety standards. Ultimately, the appellate court found that the lower court erred in ruling in favor of the defendant, because there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the product was unreasonably dangerous.

Even though airbags are meant to protect us, the reality is that sometimes they do more harm than good. If you have been injured due to any type of airbag malfunction, our Miami products liability lawyers can help. We understand the serious physical, emotional and financial toll that an airbag malfunction can have on a person and his or her entire family, which is why we will aggressively fight for your rights throughout the entire legal process.

We tend to believe the more airbags, the better. This is not always the case. A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that knee airbags are not very effective in preventing injury. In fact, they could potentially increase the risk of injury, according to the study. Knee airbags are airbags that deploy from a car’s lower dashboard. They are designed to spread impact across a car occupant’s legs in the event of a crash in an effort to reduce leg injuries.

IIHS examined data from more than 400 frontal crashes it conducted as part of its automobile ratings to determine if leg injuries were less probable in cars with knee airbags. Surprisingly, crash test results revealed that knee airbags were connected with an increased risk for lower leg and right femur injuries. The test was created to simulate what occurs when the front left corner of the car crashed into another automobile or object. Scrutinizing real world accident reports from 14 states, IIHS determined that knee airbags did decrease overall risk of injury from 7.9 to 7.4 percent, which the organization says is not statistically significant.

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Even with the latest technology, autopilot features on electric cars can fail or not work properly. If you’ve been injured due to a faulty Tesla Autopilot feature, you need to retain an experienced Miami injury attorney who can fight for your rights. Our firm has the time and resources to build the strongest possible case on your behalf so you can recover the compensation you need to move on with your life.

According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, the Tesla Autopilot feature that was updated recently can do automatic lane changes without human assistance. However, when the feature was tested, the results were not entirely safe. Testing the Tesla Model 3, Consumer Reports found that the automatic lane change was often done in a dangerous manner such as cutting off cars in the other lanes. In some cases, the individuals performing the tests had to take control of the vehicle due to fears of getting into an accident. The rearward facing cameras apparently could not detect fast approaching vehicles in the other lanes. As such, the autopilot would believe that a lane change was safely possible when, in fact, it was not. It is possible that the camera sees the other vehicles but it is not processing them correctly. Or, the camera may not be able to ascertain the speed of the cars moving in the other lanes; thus, miscalculating the viability of a safe lane change.

When a dangerous or defective product injures an unwary consumer, one or more of the manufacturers, designers, wholesalers, retailers or even maintenance companies may be considered legally liable. For instance, if you have been injured due to a defective Tesla autopilot feature, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible. Manufacturers have a duty and legal obligation to put products in the market that are safe for consumers. Failure to do this could lead to manufacturers being held accountable through a products liability lawsuit. This type of claim is designed to hold manufacturers accountable for putting a faulty product into the stream of commerce. In cases involving safety features, we will consult renowned auto safety experts who can speak to exactly what went wrong.
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Being involved in a car accident is difficult enough and it can be even worse knowing the accident was the result of a flaw in the car you thought was safe to drive. If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident that you believe was caused by a defect in the vehicle, you may have grounds to sue the manufacturer. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami products liability attorneys are committed to getting our clients the monetary damages they deserve.

A Tesla driver was killed when his vehicle burst into flames in Davie last week. According to police, the Tesla repeatedly caught fire after being brought to the tow yard. For some unknown reasons, the car swerved through three lanes of traffic, struck a median and some trees before catching fire. By the time an officer arrived at the scene, the Tesla Model S was engulfed in flames, burning the driver’s body beyond recognition. The Tesla was traveling at an estimated speed of between 75 mph and 90 mph according to eyewitness reports. The posted speed limit is 50 mph. It is unclear whether the crash was a result of a technical flaw in the car or because the driver experienced a health problem right before losing control of the car.

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When you open a bottle of wine or any other beverage, the last thing you expect to find inside is glass. Unfortunately, pebbles, glass, and other random objects in food and beverage products are more common than you may think. If you or someone close to you was injured by a foreign object in your food, you may be able to recover compensation for your harm. At our Law Offices, our Miami product liability attorneys can examine the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

Last month, certain bottles of Florida wine were recalled for containing glass bits.

Seavin, Inc. announced a voluntary partial recall of select 750 milliliter glass bottles of its Lakeridge and San Sebastian wines because small grains or bits of glass were found in the bottles. The recall comes after testing related to the wine company’s production methods. The testing focused on a manufacturing defect affecting glass bottles used by Seavin in certain production runs. It is important to note that the affected bottles come from only one glass packaging manufacturer that supplies Seavin with its wine bottles. It is claimed that the risk to the public is extremely small because the number of bottles potentially containing pieces of glass is numerically insignificant.

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A number of people in Florida and across the country suffer from a serious nicotine addiction, which they satisfy by smoking cigarettes. If you or your loved one has developed an illness due to a nicotine addiction after using cigarettes, you may be able to recover compensation for the injury. Our highly reputable Miami injury lawyers have represented numerous smokers and their families in personal injury cases, and can represent you as well. These cases are extremely tricky so having an experienced attorney advocating for you can be the difference between winning and losing a case.

Products Liability Cases

Consumers expect products to be safe. While it is now commonly understood that smoking is bad for your health, this was not always the case. People were already addicted to cigarettes long before tobacco companies began warning smokers of the risks on the packages. This intentional disregard for public health often makes tobacco companies and cigarette manufacturers susceptible to products liability lawsuits. These lawsuits intend to hold manufacturers accountable for placing hazardous products into the stream of commerce.

Wrongful Death Case Caused by Dangerous Product

Florida’s highest court recently published an opinion rebuffing a lower court’s ruling to enforce a seemingly clear-cut rule pertaining to the extent of compensation a party filing a wrongful death claim in the state is allowed to recover. The Supreme Court determined that the court had made a mistake in failing to defer to the jury decision and the trial court ruling in not allowing the defendant’s request to lessen the total compensation given by the jury to the plaintiff.

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