If you are like most Florida residents then you probably use countless products on any given day. From the alarm clock you turn off the moment that you wake up, to the coffee maker that you switch on before hopping in your car and driving to work, to the computer that you work on, the gym equipment you use to exercise, the oven that you cook dinner in, and the T.V. that you watch at night, we each use a multitude of different products every day. Most of the time these products function without causing injury or property damage but, unfortunately, defective products do occasionally cause serious harm. When this happens the injured party may have a viable product liability action on their hands.
The Four Elements of a Product Liability Negligence Claim
Under section 768.81(d) of the Florida Statutes, a product liability action is defined as a civil action based upon a theory of “strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, nuisance, or similar theories of damages caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formulation, installation, preparation, or assembly of a product.” Therefore, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of an unreasonably dangerous product that causes injury or property damage can be held liable in a product liability negligence claim if the injured party (i.e. the plaintiff) can prove each of the following four elements:
- That the plaintiff suffered an actual injury or monetary loss due to the product at issue,
- That the product at issue was (a) defectively designed, (b) defectively manufactured, or (c) did not contain adequate instructions and/or warnings.
- That the product’s defect was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury or loss, and
- That the plaintiff used the product in the manner that it was intended to be used (or in a manner which the defendant could have reasonably expected a person to use the product).
Don’t Wait Too Long to File Your Claim!
Be warned, even a plaintiff who is able to prove all of the elements listed above may be barred from recovering damages in Florida if he or she waits too long before filing their claim. Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes states that product liability lawsuits brought under a theory of negligence must be filed within four years of the date on which the relevant cause of action occurred. Generally speaking, the cause of action for a product liability claim does not occur until the plaintiff discovers, or should have discovered, their injury or loss. Additionally, a Florida statute of repose prohibits product liability plaintiffs from filing a suit more than 12 years after the defective product was delivered to its first purchaser, regardless of when the plaintiff’s injury was discovered.
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you or a member of your household has been injured by a defective product, you are likely entitled to recover compensation under Florida’s product liability laws if each element of your claim can be proved. To discuss your legal options with an experienced local product liability attorney contact Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, today by calling our Ocala office toll free at 352-558-8480.