Injuries are a fact of life, as evidenced by the millions of Floridians treated in emergency rooms and hospitals yearly. However, injuries are not always a natural fact of life caused by accidental circumstances because a defect in a consumer product causes some. And when a defective product causes an injury, illness, or death, Florida’s product liability laws allow the victim(s) to pursue compensation for medical costs, pain, lost wages, and other reasons.
Thus, the personal injury lawyers at Tallahassee-based Akbar Thomas, Personal Injury Attorneys, advise their clients to seek legal advice if they believe a defective product may have played any role in an accident, illness, or death. Experienced personal injury lawyers can investigate the circumstances involved with the incident to determine if you have grounds to pursue a defective product lawsuit. Read on to learn more about Florida’s product liability statutes and what you need to know about making a defective product claim.
What is a Defective Product Claim?
According to Florida statutes, personal injury lawsuits based on defective products must prove a distinct connection between the product and the injury, illness, or death. Claimants must also prove that there was a defect in the manufacturing or design of the product and/or that the product was sold without instructions or warnings about usage and potential risks about its use.
Defective product claims can be brought against any entity involved in bringing the defective product to market. This means that a product liability lawsuit can target any company involved in its manufacturing, as well as retailers and wholesalers.
Product liability claims can be made under the legal basis of strict liability or negligence. With strict liability, the plaintiff must prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous even before its maker(s) put it on the market. A negligence claim involves establishing that the product’s defect was connected to design, manufacturing, improper product testing, labeling, fraud, misrepresentation, or breach of warranty.
Because Florida law follows the pure comparative negligence rule, defective product claims can be made even if the victim’s actions contributed to the accident. As long as the claimant can prove that the product’s defect contributed to the injury, illness, or death, the defendant will still be liable for at least a proportional share of the damages claimed.
How to Begin Making a Product Liability Claim
Injured parties have four years from the date of injury or illness (two years for wrongful death claims) to file a defective product lawsuit. But if you believe you have a valid claim, you should begin developing your case as soon as your health allows. This involves documenting all the details relating to the incident and the preservation of evidence. Write down everything that occurred and what actions you took before, during, and after the incident. Make sure that you try to preserve the product in the condition it was during the incident and take photographs of it, the location of the incident, your injuries, and anything else that you believe is relevant. Also, find any of the product’s documentation and sales receipts and keep track of your medical records, bills, and receipts.
Of course, you should also contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, who will be able to determine the potential strength of your case and provide additional guidance on steps you should be taking. Your personal injury lawyer will also help you identify negligent parties and calculate all viable damages that should be included in your claim. Once you and your lawyer have built a strong case, your lawyer will prepare and file the claim with the court and then work to secure the fair compensation you deserve, whether through negotiations or in court.
If you have been injured, become sick, or lost a loved one due to an apparent defect with a commercial product, seek professional guidance from the skilled personal injury lawyers at Akbar Thomas, Personal Injury Attorneys. We have a stellar record of helping our Tallahassee-area clients secure damages in defective product cases. Our experienced lawyers thoroughly assess all details of each product liability claim to develop the strongest case possible. We understand the pain and suffering you have endured and provide compassionate counsel throughout the legal process. To learn more about how Akbar Thomas, Personal Injury Attorneys, can help you and your family, contact us today at 850-383-0000.