Florida Defective Product Lawsuits: Who can be liable and how to prove it
Manufactures and sellers have a responsibility to put reasonably safe products in the stream of commerce. When someone is injured by a defective product, both the manufacturer and the seller of the product can be liable for the damages. This liability extends not only to the individual who purchased the product, but also to foreseeable users of the product. A manufacture or seller of a skateboard can anticipate that friends or family members of the skateboard purchaser may use the skateboard besides purchaser.
For a manufacturer or seller to be liable for a defective product, however, the user of the product must use (or misuse) the product in a foreseeable manner. Liability therefore extends not only to use of the product as it is intended, but also to use of the product in an unintended manner that is foreseeable.
Under Florida law, anyone who sells a product can be a defendant to a defective product lawsuit. Manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers can all be liable for a defective product, which means they can be defendants in a defective product lawsuit.
There are two main legal theories under which Florida litigants can pursue a defective product lawsuit: strict liability and negligence.
Strict Liability: a Florida plaintiff may recover damages against a defendant under the legal theory of strict liability if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s product was unreasonably dangerous, and that the product caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Under the strict liability theory, the plaintiff need not prove that the defendant was negligent or careless.
Negligence: a Florida plaintiff may recover damages against a defendant if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant was negligent in producing or marketing the product and that the defendant’s negligence led to the plaintiff’s injury.
Other theories for recovering damages in defective product lawsuits include breach of warranty, fraud, and misrepresentation. These alternative theories of liability may provide the plaintiff with a means of pursing punitive damages against a defendant besides compensatory damages for the plaintiff’s injuries.
At Searcy Denney we have the experience to know how to handle these very specialized types of cases. We are always happy to provide additional information or answer questions about these types of cases.