When you purchase a product or use a product at a business, you expect it to work how you want it to; the possibility of being injured by the product is not even in your mind. Design and/or manufacturing defects injure thousands of Americans every year. Many of these injuries were preventable. If you were injured by a defective product or a product that failed to warn you of potential hazards, you should consult with a Tampa product liability lawyer who has the resources available to pursue such a claim. These claims often involve complex litigation and multiple parties.
Our personal injury lawyers have represented clients injured by defective products in the past. If you or a loved one was injured and you think that the product itself may have contributed to or caused this injury, contact us for a free, confidential consultation.
Types of Product Liability Claims
Injuries from toys and playground equipment tend to make the news as they involve children, however, a product liability injury can come from just about anything in your home or workplace. Some of the types of cases that Tampa residents have seen are:
- Household product: Things like blenders, electric toothbrushes, appliances, air conditioning units, can openers, ceiling fans or anything bought for use around the home.
- Electronics: Just about all electronics have batteries, and sometimes these catch fire. These injuries can be serious or even fatal. Recent examples include hoverboards and electronic cigarettes, e-cigs and other vaping devices with Lithium-Ion batteries.
- Tools: Tools are used all around the home and at work, and a defect can cause substantial injury. Drills, ladders, saws, pick-ax, impact wrenches, air compressors, and any other tools that people in Tampa use every day.
- Personal Transportation: In Tampa, people find different ways to get around the city. Bikes, cars, trucks, scooters, roller-skates and any other mode of transportation.
- Medical Equipment: Tampa residents often have in-home health care and use products like thermometers, needles, c-pap machines, nebulizer, wheelchair, patient lift, oxygen tank, hospital bed and many more. If these become defective, it can set your rehabilitation back and cause new injuries.
Making a Defective Product Claim in Tampa
The difficulty with a product liability claim is in the complexity of both the manufacturing process and product liability law. Most of us know about negligence, such as running a red light and hitting another car. The injuries are based on the driver doing something wrong that caused the injury.
A claim of negligence can also be used in a product liability case if the manufacturer, distributor, packager or retailer did something wrong. However, sometimes there was no negligence in the process, and someone still gets injured. A local product liability attorney may be able to help a plaintiff prove that some other party was responsible for their injuries.
Strict Liability & Types of Defective Product Claims
Most product liability claims are based on a defect in the product, and it doesn’t matter if the manufacturer did anything wrong. This is called strict liability, and it means that the injured person doesn’t have to prove that anyone was negligent.
In Florida, to make a product liability claim based on strict liability, the injured person needs to prove certain elements, they are:
- Defect or failure-to-warn: The injured person must prove one of three things, that the product was 1) defectively designed, or 2) defectively manufactured, or 3) that there was a lack of notice of a known hazard concerning the product, otherwise known as “failure-to-warn”.
- Example of design defects could include, a product such as a hoverboard that has a battery that tends to cause fires or explosions, or even a car design that has been proven to flip easily.
- Manufacturing defects might include, an item missing a part, or using a material that doesn’t meet safety requirements.
- Failure-to-warn claim examples might include a cleaning product that did not have instructions on safe handling of the product.
- Cause: The defect or lack of notice was the cause of the injury.
- Product used as intended: The injured person must have used the product the way it was intended to be used. If they were injured doing something with the product that wasn’t intended by the manufacturer, then the claim might not be successful.
- Loss: The injured person must show that he or she suffered an actual injury or monetary loss as a result of using the manufacturer’s product.
What Can You Recover From a Product Liability Lawsuit?
You can recover compensation for a variety of damages in a product liability case including:
- Economic damages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of future earnings potential
What is the Statute of Limitation for a Defective Product Claim?
All personal injury claims have a deadline to file the claim. This is called a statute of limitations, and if not met, it usually means that the lawsuit will be dismissed by the court. The statute of limitations for a products liability claim is four years from the date of the injury. However, if the person died from the injury, then it is two years from the date of the death of the person.
Steps In a Product Liability Lawsuit
In many product liability cases, it becomes clear that to obtain a fair settlement, a lawsuit will have to be filed. But before that step is taken we will go through a number of steps including:
- Determining Liability- was the injury caused by the manufacturer, parts or pieces of the product, the design of the product, the assembly of the product, the seller of the product, the installer of the product, or a combination of these factors.
- Gathering Evidence- In product liability cases, it is imperative to prove that the liable party committed some kind of negligent action that caused you harm. Getting photo evidence, medical documentation, and obtaining the product itself, are all types of evidence that could be crucial in seeking damages.
- Settlement Negotiation- There are certain product liability claims that will settle outside of court fairly. Your product liability attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s attorney or insurance company before reaching the next step of filing a lawsuit.
- File a Lawsuit- If a fair settlement cannot be reached outside of the court, a lawsuit may be filed on your behalf after your attorney discusses this with you for approval.
Filing a products liability claim can be tricky, and a mistake like missing a deadline can cost the injured person their right to compensation. If you have been injured by a product and want to know if you have a claim, even if you think the deadline has passed, you should talk to an attorney right away.
Contact a Tampa Product Liability Lawyer
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will answer your questions, make recommendations and provide you with a free, confidential evaluation of your injury claim. Mike Hancock worked for the insurance companies at the beginning of his career, and with that insider knowledge, he knows how to beat them. Call a Tampa product liability lawyer today to learn more.