Until very recently in the life of the law, the standard for products was buyer beware (caveat emptor) promulgated in old English law. In the 1950s and 1960s, the courts began shifting the burden of responsibility to product manufacturers and permitting plaintiffs to obtain damages if harmed by a product. Since then, product liability law has grown into a combination of torts (an act of wrongdoing) and contracts (product warranties), and the legal doctrine of strict liability was developed.
People who are harmed by defective products have a legal right to sue for compensation for their injuries. That sounds rather straightforward, but it is not quite that simple because of the many variables that can come into play. The best recourse is to obtain the advice of an experienced injury attorney. West Palm Beach product liability lawyers may have vast experience in this area of law and can advise you.
Strict Liability and the Negligence Doctrine
This doctrine holds the product manufacturer liable for injuries caused without any proof that the maker performed negligently. One intention of this doctrine of removing blame was to encourage manufacturers to produce safe products.
The injured party, however, must prove that the injury occurred, the manufacturer is responsible, that the product was used as intended, was not abused, and had not been altered from its original condition from the box. Florida’s strict liability statute also holds manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and sellers liable for defective products.
Another form of legal action is that the product manufacturer released a defective product to the public, and in doing so, failed to honor its legal obligation to prevent harm to those who bought or used the product. The plaintiff must prove the manufacturer knew or should have known about the product’s defect, that the defect posed a risk, and that the product was used as intended when the injury occurred.
Many products are intrinsically dangerous. The lithium-ion battery, for example, can catch fire and explode, injuring those nearby. But the battery, by its design, is exceedingly proficient at storing electrical energy. In the law, it is not considered unreasonably dangerous.
Product defects can be intentional in the product’s design, unintentional in its manufacture by some error in the process, or in the product’s marketing by not warning or cautioning users about risks, such as drug labels notifying users of side effects.
Those injured by a defective product may sue to pay for medical care, therapeutic expenses, and lost income both in the aftermath of the injury or, if the injury is severe, income that could have been earned in the future. The non-economic damages available are pain and suffering, emotional trauma, mental anguish, and loss of a spouse’s services.
The statute of limitations sets a time limit to bring a lawsuit. Florida allows two years from the date of an injury or its discovery to sue for damages, or two years if death occurred. Failing to meet the deadline means the injured person or their representative can never sue for that particular injury or death. Part of the West Palm Beach product liability lawyer’s job is to make sure that does not happen.
How a West Palm Beach Product Liability Attorney Can Help
Product liability cases can be involved and an experienced West Palm Beach product liability lawyer may know this area of law very well. The attorney can explain the law involved in detail and determine if a valid case exists during a free consultation. There is no obligation to hire the attorney.
Do not be concerned with costs. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency. If they do not recover damages, they are not paid for their services. If they win the case, the attorney fees are paid from the monetary damages awarded.