If you suffered injuries due to a defective or dangerous product, call the Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. to discuss how we can help you hold the manufacturer liable. You might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other incurred expenses from the injury.
Sometimes, consumer products don’t function correctly or contain the high-quality materials the manufacturer promised. A faulty part or poorly designed product could cause injury, illness, or death to the user. Typically, this happens when someone in the production chain makes a careless mistake.
Defective products can cause a range of injuries. Some are minor and require minimal medical intervention to heal, however, others are severe or life-threatening. The victim may need to seek ongoing medical treatment to manage chronic pain or improve mobility. In other cases, a dangerous product could result in the death of a consumer.
The design team, manufacturer, distributors, and other parties involved in putting products on the market hold a high level of responsibility. Any error could result in a defective product being placed in the hands of consumers. There are various standards these companies must meet to ensure the public’s safety. Violating these standards puts people in harm’s way.
You should call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180 today if you want to learn about your legal options after a dangerous product injures you. One of our Florida product liability attorneys can meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Common Defective Products That Can Cause Injuries, Illness, or Death
Everyone relies on consumer goods. People need them daily to wash their clothes, eat, drive, and perform their jobs. However, issues that arise during assembly and production can cause these products to malfunction and cause injuries.
The most common products that can contain defects include:
- Recreational equipment
- Motor vehicles and parts
- Household appliances
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Medical devices
- Cleaning products
- Baby and children’s products
- Machinery and tools
- Lawn care products
If you used any of these or another type of defective product, do not hesitate to reach out to Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A.. We’re familiar with cases like this and can create a plan to hold the manufacturer or another negligent party accountable for the dangers they caused.
Who Is Liable for a Defective Product?
It is often challenging to determine who is at fault for defects. Since there are multiple parties involved in making consumer products, anyone that participates in the process could be negligent in creating an inherent danger.
The parties you could hold liable for defective products are:
- Product or parts manufacturer
- Retailer or distributor
- Design team
- Shipping company
Since it will be confusing to figure out which party caused your injury, you shouldn’t take on your case alone. Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can investigate the incident and locate the defect in the product you used. We will gather all available evidence and try to prove whose actions contributed to the hazard, and find a way to hold them liable for your injury.
Common Product Defects
Product liability cases can involve negligence or strict liability. Negligence is the legal standard that holds people or entities liable for failing to provide a reasonable degree of care to avoid causing harm to another. You must prove negligence existed at the time of the incident to seek compensation from the at-fault party. That means you have to provide evidence that the manufacturer’s error directly caused your injury.
On the other hand, strict liability allows an injured victim to hold the manufacturer responsible for a defective product without the need to prove fault. Even if the manufacturer didn’t intend to cause harm, their actions contributed to a dangerous product, resulting in your injury.
There are three main categories for defective product cases.
A design defect happens when someone makes an error during the design, planning, or development phase of manufacturing the product. That means something in the product makes it inherently dangerous for the user. Even if a consumer uses it as intended, it can still cause injury.
Common examples of design defects include:
- A dresser with unstable legs, causing it to tip over
- A guard on a power tool isn’t big enough to stop someone’s hand from touching the blade
- A vehicle with a high center of graving, making it susceptible to rolling over
A manufacturing defect is a flaw, error, or defect that occurs during manufacturing. Even though the design wasn’t flawed, something during production created a hazard making the product unsafe for consumers. Some examples of manufacturing defects are:
- Installing wiring on an appliance incorrectly
- Forgetting to trim sharp edges off a mold
- Attaching parts in the wrong place
Failure to Warn
Failure to warn is also referred to as a marketing defect. Manufacturers are supposed to perform safety and quality tests on their products before releasing them to the public. If they find issues that could cause injury, they must provide warning labels, so the user is aware of the potential risks. They should also include instructions, so consumers know how to use the product correctly.
Common marketing defects include:
- Advertisements encouraging consumers to use the product improperly
- Making false claims about the product
- Stating that the product is safe when the manufacturer knows about existing hazards
You could use any of these defects as the basis for your case. Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can help you determine which defect caused your injury and obtain the evidence we need to hold the manufacturer liable.
Compensation Available in a Product Liability Case in Florida
You could pursue compensation from the manufacturer or another negligent party for the losses you suffered. Examples of losses in product liability cases are:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Damage to personal property
- Pain and suffering
There are two options to seek compensation for your losses: filing an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit. If you file an insurance claim, the at-fault party’s insurance company can provide a settlement to cover your expenses and compensate you for your physical and emotional suffering. However, you should never attempt to handle an insurance claim without a lawyer.
Insurance companies typically look out for their own interests. They might seem friendly during conversations with you, but they are not on your side. Their goal is to avoid a large payout to save their company money. If they can find a reason to deny your claim, they will.
Only an experienced Florida product liability attorney can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company for the full and fair settlement available. We know the tactics they use and how to secure adequate compensation, so you’re not left with bills to pay yourself.
Florida Law for Filing Lawsuits
If you choose to file a lawsuit for compensation for your losses, you must comply with a strict deadline. This is known as a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in Florida is four years. That means you have to file your lawsuit within four years of the defective product injuring you. Once this timeframe passes, you could lose your right to compensation.
You may be entitled to punitive damages in a lawsuit. Instead of compensating you for your losses, this award is intended to punish the at-fault party for their actions. A jury won’t provide this financial award unless there is clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Even if you think your actions might have contributed to your injury, you should not admit it to anyone. Pure comparative negligence allows a jury to reduce your compensation by the percentage of fault you share. For example, if you suffered $50,000 in losses but were 20 percent responsible for getting hurt while using the defective product, you could only receive up to $40,000 in compensation.
What You Should Do if a Defective Product Caused Your Injury
If you believe your injury resulted from a defect in the product you used, seek treatment immediately. If your initial medical evaluation isn’t until weeks after the incident, the insurance company might think your injury isn’t serious and could deny your claim. Follow up with all recommended medical providers and continue attending your appointments until you heal or your doctors release you from their care.
You would also benefit from hiring a Florida product liability attorney. Recovering from an injury can be time-consuming and overwhelming. You shouldn’t have to take on the responsibility of a case as well. Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can file your claim on your behalf, investigate the incident, and collect evidence. When the time comes, we will negotiate for a settlement and file a lawsuit if necessary.
Maintain copies of every document you receive during your ongoing case. Don’t dispose of any medical bills, physical therapy notes, prescriptions, or other records you have. Forward them to us so we can determine if we can use them as evidence. We need to show that your injury was the direct result of a defect in the product. Without sufficient medical evidence, the insurance company or defense attorney could argue that you have a preexisting medical condition or your injury happened during an unrelated incident.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Florida
If you sustained injuries from a defective product, call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. right now. We have over 40 years of experience handling product liability cases and will put our skills and knowledge to work for you. We will be your advocate and fight hard for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Call 561.689.8180 for your free initial consultation with one of our dedicated Florida product liability attorneys.
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