Product Liability Lawyer in Hialeah
Each year, thousands of new goods make it into the hands of consumers. This includes automobiles, cell phones, computers, and thousands of other new items that are purchased on a regular basis. As consumers, we expect these goods to work the way they were intended, without causing us any harm in the process of using them. However, often an item is poorly designed or a problem in the manufacturing process creates an item that fails to work as it should and causes serious harm to consumers.
In an attempt to reduce the number of injuries caused by consumer products, in 2016 there were over 4,200 items recalled by the federal government. In addition, there were over 400 safety commission recalls and almost 2,800 recalls made by the Food and Drug Administration, all in an attempt to reduce the number of injuries.
When an item marketed to a consumer fails to work as it should or causes an injury, a product liability lawyer can help. Understanding product liability law requires a Hialeah attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases. As a product liability law firm, Schlacter Law understands how important it is to treat consumers with respect and help them get compensation following an injury.
Florida Product Liability
Filing a lawsuit for an injury caused by an item would be considered a personal injury lawsuit for negligence. When it comes to consumer goods, there are issues to consider that are specific to goods put into the stream of commerce. The three most important categories for pursuing a lawsuit are:
- A design defect
- A manufacturing defect
- A failure to warn
A design defect is a problem with an item that originated in the planning stage. Because the flaw was established across the entire development, this type of defect would typically be present in every item that comes off of the manufacturing line.
To be successful in a lawsuit for a design defect, it is important to show that the design failure was the cause of the injury. Additionally, it is important to show that there was an alternative design at a reasonable cost that the item’s manufacturer could have used to avoid the defect but had chosen the defective design in an effort to save money.
A manufacturing defect is when an injury was caused because the product deviated from its intended design. Typically, a manufacturing flaw will affect a portion of the goods produced, although it is possible for an entire product line to contain the defect.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff that a defect existed.
Failing to warn a consumer of the dangers of a product is also known as a marketing defect. Generally, when an item fails to contain adequate warnings of the dangers that accompany the product, the manufacturer may be liable for any injuries that result. This failure to warn would make the goods unreasonably dangerous to the consumer.
Warning labels were originally established by the Food and Drug Administration in 1938 as a means of warning consumers of the dangers and risks associated with a product. Over time, these labels are used to warn of any type of foreseeable hazard. Failing to provide this warning may make a company liable in a lawsuit for any injuries sustained by their product.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has created different types of labels to help warn consumers of the different types of dangers present in a product. These warnings include:
- Red – A red warning label warns of a seriously hazardous event that can result in serious harm or death
- Orange – An orange warning label warns of a dangerous circumstance that can result in serious harm or death
- Yellow – A yellow warning label warns of a potentially hazardous condition that might result in slight or moderate harm
Understanding the issues involved with litigating a defect in a product liability lawsuit requires the know-how and experience a Hialeah product liability attorney has gained by litigating these types of cases. Call Schlacter Law today so one of our product liability lawyers can help evaluate your claim and determine if compensation might be available.
You can prove your case through negligence or strict liability. In a Plaintiff’s negligence case the Plaintiff must prove that the manufacturer breached his duty of care to the Plaintiff by selling a defective product by and through a design defect, manufacturing defect or failure to warn. When this defect results in an injury, damages can be obtained from a jury.
Strict liability is another avenue for receiving compensation in a product liability lawsuit. Strict liability makes it easier for a plaintiff to prove liability by only requiring a showing that the defect existed in the merchandise and an injury was sustained as a result of the defect. When the defect is proven to exist, the defendant is strictly liable for the damages, even when care and caution were used while manufacturing the item. Strict liability cases must show that the merchandise was purchased through the regular chain of distribution, and not second-hand or on the used market. Strict liability in product liability cases would hold a defendant liable even in cases where the manufacturer didn’t act negligently or with the intention of harm. This would allow a plaintiff to succeed in a lawsuit by showing that the manufacturer is liable simply by producing the item, and not because they failed to use reasonable care.
Breach of Warranty in Hialeah
When a consumer purchases a product, a manufacturer supplies some guarantee that the product will operate the way it was intended. This is also known as a warranty. There are two types of warranties:
- Express warranty
- Implied warranty
According to Florida Statutes, §672.313, an express warranty is “any affirmation of fact or promise made by the seller to the buyer which relates to the goods and becomes part of the basis of the bargain [and] that the goods shall conform to the affirmation or promise.”
This also includes “Any description of the goods which is made part of the basis of the bargain creates an express warranty that the goods shall conform to the description.” Additionally, the seller is not required to include the language “warrant” or “guarantee” for there to be an express warranty.
Any representation by a manufacturer as to the function of their product might be considered an express warranty, but not every representation is automatically an express warranty. Therefore, talking with a defective product attorney is essential in determining a manufacturer’s liability.
An implied warranty, on the other hand, is not a direct representation of the product, but rather, it is understood that the product will function in the way it was intended. For example, a manufacturer may not specifically mention any guarantee on the effectiveness of a dishwasher it manufactures, but if it fails to, at a minimum, clean dishes placed inside, the manufacturer may be in breach of an implied warranty.
Express and implied warranties are rarely black and white in their interpretation. It requires an evaluation by a skilled product liability lawyer in Hialeah. If you purchased a product that failed to perform as expected, or if that product harmed you in any way, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Schlacter Law a Hialeah defective product lawyer today for an evaluation. There are many avenues for recovery in a products liability lawsuit.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Florida is one of several states that follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This allows a plaintiff to receive compensation even if they were partially at fault. The amount of compensation available would be reduced by the percentage the plaintiff was found to be responsible. For example, if compensation for an injury would have been $100,000, but a court found the plaintiff to be 30% responsible, compensation would be reduced by $30,000.
For defective products in Florida, a claimant has four years to file a lawsuit for negligence. This statute of limitations begins when the injury was sustained. In cases when an injury is not immediately apparent the statute of limitations may start from when the victim knew or should have known about the injury. Filing a lawsuit within this window is important since failing to do so can result in the dismissal of a case. Be sure to talk with a Hialeah lawyer as soon as possible following an injury.
These types of cases are typically paid through a contingency fee where the lawyer receives their fee once they successfully win compensation on their client’s behalf. The contingency fee varies between 33.33% and 40%, depending on how far along a case was before achieving compensation. This type of payment agreement allows a victim to seek representation without having to pay any money upfront. Contact a Hialeah attorney today if you suspect you may be entitled to compensation.