A product liability attorney on our team can protect your rights and fight for you to recover compensation if you were harmed by a defective consumer product in Florida. Defective manufacturing, design, and marketing may all induce liability in a Florida defective consumer products case. If you need help, contact a Florida defective consumer product lawyer with Chiappetta Trial Lawyers today.
- Consumer product manufacturers have strict liability under Florida law for any damages caused by their defective items.
- Our attorneys handle defective consumer product cases involving children’s toys, appliances, strollers, grills, and more.
- A consumer product can have a defective design, be manufactured incorrectly, or have misleading marketing or labeling. All three types of defects can leave a product manufacturer or seller strictly liable for a consumer’s damages.
- An experienced attorney who is familiar with Florida product law and civil court procedures throughout the state can be an invaluable asset in a defective consumer product lawsuit.
Defective Consumer Product Laws in Florida
Florida has strict liability laws surrounding product defects in place to offer consumers the maximum level of protection. Under strict liability, the producer of the product does not have to intend to harm the consumer, or even be found negligent in their actions, in order to be held accountable for harm done. In other words, strict liability does not require proof of fault. Instead, consumer rights for defective products relies on demonstrating injury caused by the defect in a good or product.
Consumer rights on defective products are protected in Florida under Florida 2023 Statutes 768.81(1)(d), defining product liability as “a civil action based upon a theory of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, nuisance, or similar theories for damages caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formulation, installation, preparation, or assembly of a product.” Additionally, the statute clarifies that product liability law includes injuries received from a product that “were greater than the injuries the claimant would have received but for a defective product.”
Types of Defective Consumer Products
When you invest time and money into a product, you have the right to expect that it will be safe to use and work as intended. Common defective consumer products that have been involved in lawsuits include:
- Pressure cookers
- Energy drinks
- Children’s toys
Elements of a Defective Consumer Product Lawsuit in Florida
There are many different ways that a product can be considered defective. A Florida consumer product defect attorney is experienced in parsing the levels of manufacturing, marketing, and design that all may have contributed to the harm you experienced as a consumer.
Consumer Product Design Defects
Products with a design flaw often harm the greatest number of consumers, because every unit of that product carries risk of harm. Examples of design defects include the use of hazardous chemicals or materials in construction, choking hazards, and other violations of Florida products law.
Defective Manufacturing of Consumer Products
Product defects in manufacturing can be the most difficult to spot, as they require tracing back affected items to a specific batch. When a third-party manufacturer has acted negligently in a product liability case, there may be multiple layers to a consumer protection claim.
Defective Consumer Product Marketing
Florida truth-in-advertising laws protect consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. In some cases, businesses can be held liable for outlandish or untrue claims around their products through a consumer products lawsuit. In others, an injured consumer may file a lawsuit when the label does not adequately disclose known hazards or possible side-effects associated with using the product.
Benefits of Working with a Defective Consumer Product Lawyer
A consumer product defect lawyer is an expert in Florida tort law and building powerful cases around their clients’ rights and concerns. At Chiappetta Trial Lawyers, our team has the legal insight and expertise to pinpoint where the defect occurred and which party or parties can be held accountable in a Florida defective consumer product lawsuit.
Consumer product negotiations often involve testimony from industry insiders about what kinds of risks and usages are standard for a product, as well as what consumer expectations can be considered “reasonable.” Our consumer product defects lawyers in Florida can ensure that your case receives the consideration it deserves and stand up to large manufacturing companies who attempt to discredit or minimize your claim.
Notable Defective Consumer Product Lawsuits
The Florida Supreme Court’s much-anticipated decision in Aubin v. Union Carbide Corp., 177 So. 3d 489 (Fla. 2015) settled a consumer product liability debate that arose in the previous 40 years since West v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 336 So. 2d 80 (Fla. 1976). In Aubin, the Court held that product liability in Florida should adhere to strict liability standards for product defect design cases. Strict liability consumer expectation tests hold that consumer expectations were violated by receiving a dangerous product. In order to prove that the company behind the product was liable, it was most important to illustrate a) that the consumer was harmed, b) their injury was caused by the defect and c) the product was defective. This was a return to an understanding of strict liability established in 1976, with the landmark case West v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 336 So. 2d 80 (Fla. 1976). West was based on an understanding of strict liability in line with what we know today, as the Court wrote:
“The cost of injuries or damages, either to persons or property, resulting from defective products, should be borne by the makers of the products who put them into the channels of trade, rather than by the injured or damaged persons who are ordinarily powerless to protect themselves. We therefore hold that a manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article he places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being.”
Post-West, many arguments were made for consumer product liability law to be decided case-by-case, using a negligence-based/risk benefit test. This would require consumers who are harmed by defective products to prove that an alternative reasonable design existed, placing an unnecessary burden on injured consumers to find experts in the field who could testify to the ins and outs of the manufacturing process. Because of both the initial 1976 case, as well as the Aubin decision in 2015, consumer product liability law in Florida has instead received important support for strict liability interpretations of consumer harm.
Recent Defective Consumer Product Lawsuits
Since 2019, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Florida Attorney General has recovered more than $423 million in direct relief for consumers who were affected by product defects, scams, and deceptive marketing. Some recent Florida defective consumer product lawsuits include:
- MC Solar and Roofing: In this recent 2023 case against a solar panel installation company, customers allegedly received faulty solar panels that did not pass inspections or even connect to the electrical grid. In other instances, clients were lured into entering a contract with MC Solar through misrepresentations about federal tax rebates, guaranteed 25 year warranties, and misleading financing options. For many consumers, the roofing company abandoned the job before it was finished or damaged their homes in the process of installation.
- Mincey v. Takata: A Duval County woman was left paralyzed and ultimately passed away when her Takata airbag deployed suddenly and forcibly in her Honda Civic. A 2016 consumer product liability lawsuit alleged that Takata knew about the defect and concealed it, leading to one of the largest product recalls in US history. Takata air bag inflators were linked to 14 other deaths across the US, leading to a recall of more than 40 million units issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- DuPont, Chemours, and others named in “forever chemicals” lawsuit: The EPA estimates that as many as 94 million Americans may have been affected by “forever chemicals” such as PFAs found in firefighting foam. The first case in the multi-district, multi-state lawsuit alleging mass consumer harm was centered around drinking water wells located in Stuart, Florida.
Call a Florida Defective Consumer Products Attorney Today
If you or a loved one were harmed by a defective consumer product, an attorney should be your next call. A Florida defective consumer product lawyer at Chiappetta Trial Lawyers is available for a complimentary consultation about the facts of your case.