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Florida’s Products Liability Laws

Products – ranging from car seats, to food products, to toys – harm people every day. Defective or poorly designed products can lead to personal injury, disability, or even death. In many cases, questions about products that have hurt someone end up before the courts. When these cases land before Florida’s courts, the courts ask a few basic questions before making decisions:

*How badly did the product injure someone?
*How did the injury occur?
*Was there something wrong with the product? If so, what exactly was wrong?

The answers to these questions can be very complicated, and courts use the ideas of products liability and negligence to come to a conclusion about the case. Products liability or strict products liability, as it is sometimes known, is focused mainly on the product itself. It may take into consideration design, for example. Negligence stresses the conduct of the seller, manufacturer, and distributor to determine whether there was something these parties could have done to prevent an injury.

When it comes to products liability, defective products generally fall into one of three categories:

1) Manufacturing defects. These defects occur when a manufacturer does not follow design directions exactly and creates a less than ideal product. If a food producer, for example, does not adequately heat a recipe and creates foods that cause poisoning in customers, this can be said to be a manufacturing defect.

2) Design defects. In cases where a product is manufactured well but still ends up hurting someone, the problem may be a design defect. This sort of problem is intentional, since the product is designed in a certain way. However, the designer may not take into account or may not adequately test the safety of a product before ordering its manufacture. For example, if a bicycle is designed with very thin tires for aesthetic purposes, it may tip over easily and cause accidents. This would be an example of a design defect.

3) Marketing defects. These defects are problems with the way a product is sold. For example, if a product has faulty instructions, directions, or warning labels, that may lead to an injury and in these cases the product may be said to have marketing defects.

Determining which type of defect applies in a specific situation is not always simple, and in some cases, more than one defect is present. If you have been injured by a product, then, it is important to contact a qualified attorney who can help you develop the best court strategy possible.