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Florida Product Liability Claims Based on a Product’s Design Defect

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.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Accident?

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died in a Florida product liability accident, contact the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. Our attorneys have extensive experience successfully handling cases stemming from defective products, premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, nursing home abuse, and workplace injuries. Our attorneys understand the complex tort laws involved in these cases, and use their legal skills and litigation experience to help clients pursue full and fair compensation for their injuries. Compensation in these cases may include payments for medical treatment, ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-499-4878 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney at our law firm.

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