Product liability is the division of civil law that addresses defective and unsafe products. Any or all of the entities responsible for producing and distributing products may be held responsible in the even of a dangerous product being distributed to the public: manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of products.
“Products” may include virtually all consumer products, plus food, drugs, and real estate. In many cases, product liability is considered “strict liability.” This is a classification of personal injury law which, in effect, puts a greater level of responsibility on the defendant (the one accused of doing the wrong). In the case of product liability, this means that rather than needing to meet the burden of proving negligence or intentional wrong action, the evidence of injury by the product is enough to support a violation of product liability. Product liability is usually conditional on proof that the user/injured individual did not modify the product or use it in a way other than as directed.
In cases in which strict liability does not apply, proof of negligence or breach of warranty may be grounds for a claim. These approaches include proving that the manufacturer failed to properly test or supply directions for use of the product, or that the product is simply defect an unfit for use as intended.
Regarding defects, there are various ways in which they can occur. Generally, three are accepted:
- The manufacturer or retailer may fail to warn the consumer about the dangers associated with the use of the product. This often refers to a product that is safe if used as intended, but dangerous if used in other ways (eg engine coolant).
- Defect in design. In these cases, the defect is “built into” the product – it is an unrecognized part of the design, and will be present in each product that is properly manufactured. A gasoline tank designed with insufficient, weak walls is an example.
- Defect in production. The design is sound, but somewhere in the manufacturing process there is a mistake which introduces a defect. Cross-threading the bolts that hold a car wheel in place is an example of a production or manufacturing defect.
If you believe you have been the victim of a defective, dangerous, or hazardous product, it is essential to the success of your case to preserve the product and all related paperwork.
Our experienced product liability attorneys in Plantation, Florida have experience handling a variety of product liability cases. Contact Fenster & Cohen P.A. today by calling (954) 473-1500 or contacting us online for your free initial consultation. Our product liability attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only charge for our services if we win or settle your case. Ensure that you do not reach the statute of limitations for your product liability case and call us right away.