If a product has injured you in some way, you may have a product liability claim against the product manufacturer, as well as the intermediary distributors and the retail seller. In addition to negligence, Florida has adopted the doctrine of strict liability with regard to defective products. In some circumstances, you may have an express or implied warranty claim based on the defective product.
In the context of product liability, the term product is defined broadly and can include any product ranging from a simple plastic fork to a complex vehicle produced by a major automobile manufacturer.
Generally, defects include three categories:
- design defects
- manufacturing defects
- marketing defects.
A design defect is inherent in the design of the product; that is, the defective aspect of the product was intended within the design. An example of a design defect would be a step ladder that was built to hold only fifty pounds, which is obviously defective for any adult person’s intended use.
A manufacturing defect is a defect in a product that was unintended and/or which was not part of the product’s design. An example of a manufacturing defect would be a motorcycle that was designed to be built with self-locking nuts, but which the manufacturer accidentally assembled with standard nuts.
A marketing defect is a defect in the marketing materials provided with the product. Most commonly, marketing defects include inadequate instruction or warnings with regard to the use of the product.
Product liability is an area of the law, which, as a general rule, requires the services of an expert within the field of the specific product. For instance, a metallurgist may be required to determine whether the metal incorporated within the product was of sufficient strength. Similarly, an engineer may be required to determine whether the product met its design specifications.
The Cloud Law Firm can assist you in identifying and retaining the appropriate experts in presenting your case. You should know that the field of product liability is riddled with defenses. Product manufacturers are provided special defenses for state of the art. The Florida legislature has granted manufacturers defenses based on compliance with governmental rules. An attorney can help you navigate these complex issues. If a product has injured you through your use or another party’s, you should immediately photograph the product and maintain it in its current condition.
Under no circumstances should you perform your own investigation, dismantle the product, or dispose of the product. Under Florida law, the doctrine of spoliation may prevent you from recovering for your injuries if the product is lost or destroyed. If you were injured by a product owned by someone else, or within someone else’s possession, you should immediately notify that person of your intention to make a claim and demand, in writing, that that person preserves the product in its current condition. Do not allow the product to be lost or destroyed. Contact us now for a free consultation.
If a family member has died as the result of another person’s acts or omissions, that person’s estate may have a claim against the wrongdoer. The deceased person is usually referred to as the Decedent. An estate must be opened with the court and the court will appoint a Personal Representative to administer the estate’s business. Typically, the Personal Representative is the Decedent’s spouse or closest living family member. The Personal Representative may then bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
If your family member has passed as the wrongful result of another person’s acts or omissions, we can assist you in taking the legal action necessary to make your claim. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Personal Injury Damages
Victims of personal injuries are entitled to recover legal damages as compensation for their injuries. We will help you determine the full extent of your legal damages and will obtain your medical records and medical bills free of charge.
Because litigation can sometimes be a lengthy process, we recommend that you keep a journal beginning on the day of your accident, if possible. Your journal should include information on your medical treatment, including the dates on which you saw your medical providers and your doctors’ names. You should also keep track of the number of days you have missed from work. Be sure and include information about your health; if you are feeling pain, note the region of your body, the severity of the pain, and the length of time the pain lasted. If your injuries prevented you from participating in any family trips, extracurricular activities, or other events, make a note.
You are entitled to recover payment for all of your medical bills which are reasonable and causally related to the accident. This includes future medical costs that are necessitated by your injuries.
You are entitled to recover payment for all of your lost wages which are causally related to the accident. This includes wages lost in the past, as well as wages you are reasonably expected to lose in the future as a result of the accident.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
You are entitled to recover payment for all of your pain and suffering related to the accident, both past, and present. Pain and suffering damages should not be considered lightly; depending on the circumstances, pain and suffering awards can sometimes be quite significant.
OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES
You are entitled to recover all of your out of pocket expenses, including mileage to and from treating physicians and the costs associated with prescription medications. Be sure and keep track of these amounts as they can be difficult to reconstruct.
Under some circumstances, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer for gross negligence and/or intentional acts. The Florida legislature has passed several statutes that serve to define punitive damages and limit its application and amount. However, you should know that under proper circumstances, punitive damages are recoverable.