Product Liability

People buy products with the expectation that they’re safe and work as advertised. However, products don’t always do what they’re supposed to do, and can even lead to injury or death. In many scenarios, product liability claims hide within other case types, making them difficult to identify. Our product liability lawyers have handled thousands of cases that have led to injury including manufacturing defects, design defects, or improper warning labels.

Recent Verdict

  • Paralysis - Tampa, FL - 2022
  • Confidential
  • Andrew Parker Felix

Cases We Handle

  • Defective vehicles, including airbag non-deployment and tire failure
  • Exploding e-cigarettes / vapes
  • Defective workplace machines and appliances, such as conveyor belts
  • ATVs and quads
  • Power tools such as drills, saws, hammers, grinders, and tire jacks
  • Ladders and scaffolding
  • Heavy construction machines such as cranes and forklifts
  • Blenders, pressure cookers, ovens, and other kitchen equipment
  • Exploding cell phone batteries
  • Defective baby products, including car seats and children’s toys

Product liability refers to defective or dangerous products, and such are the causes of thousands of accidents and even fatalities every single year across the United States. People buy products with the expectation they’re safe and work as advertised. Unfortunately, products don’t always do what they’re supposed to, and defective products can result in injury or even death. A good example can be seen in the recent influx of exploding e-cigarette litigation. 

Product liability law is related to, but also distinct from, personal injury law in which your client may choose to file a lawsuit against a responsible party, such as a person who is driving drunk or a property manager who failed to maintain a safe property. Product liability law has to do with all of the legal rules related to who is accountable for dangerous or defective products. 

This can make it simpler for a hurt victim to recover damages, especially when they have the insight and support of an experienced product liability lawyer. 

Types of Product Defects

When considering what product liability is, product defects come to mind. These are the legal grounds under which someone can show that a product was improperly manufactured or sold to them, meaning that they have grounds to pursue a lawsuit. The three types of product defects are manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects. 

Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the process of assembly or manufacture, meaning that some error occurred in the manufacturing process that left your client suffering the consequences. 

Design defects exist in the product from the time that it has been developed, meaning that the error occurred prior to manufacturing since something in the design is unsafe on its own. Marketing defects can also apply which refer to mistakes in the way that a product has been promoted, such as insufficient instructions, improper labeling, or inappropriate safety warnings. One or more elements of these product defects may apply in your client’s product liability case. 

Best Indicators For a Strong Defective Product Case

  • The product is in your client’s possession. Your client must be in possession of the product in order to proceed with a case. 
  • Injury or damages are substantial enough to warrant compensation. Substantial injuries may include hospitalization, permanent injury, long-lasting impact or limb loss. 
  • There are other similar incidents (OSIs). Finding OSIs helps prove that the injury was caused by a defective product and not user error. OSIs can be found through searching Google, consumer reports and Consumer Product Safety Commission documents. The more OSIs are found, the stronger the case will be and so finding additional OSIs only help strengthen your client’s claim against the defendant.
  • There is causation. The product defect must be the cause of the injury in order to hold the manufacturers liable. 

Responsible Parties in Product Liability Cases

The product in question must have been sold in order for it to become the basis of a product liability lawsuit. A historically contractual relationship needs to be present between the supplier of the product and the person injured by the product in order for a lawsuit to exist. Most states do not require this specifically, meaning that the injured party no longer has to be the person who used or purchased the product. 

Any person who reasonably could have been injured due to a dangerous product can potentially recover for their injuries, so long as the item was ultimately sold to someone at some point in the process. This means that there could be more than one party responsible for the injuries sustained by a person who is hurt in a product liability lawsuit. This requires a thorough investigation by a product liability lawyer at the outset of the case. 

Liability for a defective product could lay with a wholesaler, the person who installs or assembles the product, a manufacturer of component parts, the product manufacturer, or the retail store who sold that item to the consumer. More than one of these parties could also be responsible at the same time, making it all the more important to retain a product liability lawyer to help you with this process.

It should also be anticipated that the other side will fight back vigorously when it comes to defending such a lawsuit. They may allege that your client used the product improperly, and that is why they are suffering the consequences in terms of a serious injury. This makes it very important to have a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney, who has been through this process before, who can help guide your client through the legal responsibility clarifications, and who can help your client to recover compensation. 

Frequently Overlooked Case Areas

Two areas that deserve special scrutiny are existing case inventory and international manufacturers.  

  • Product liability claims are often hidden within other case types. For example, a brake failure may have caused an automobile accident case, a defective medical product may have caused a medical malpractice case, and a defective product may have caused a workers compensation case. If a product caused the injury, it may have a product liability element. 
  • Don’t write off defective products manufactured by overseas companies. We have successfully resolved cases against foreign manufacturers and held them subject to the jurisdiction of American courts.

Timeline in Litigating a Product Liability Case

Much like personal injury, timelines exist so that your client must file a lawsuit within a timely manner. This also means that your client can get a chance at recovering compensation and receiving justice sooner rather than later. Many companies named in a product liability lawsuit might choose to try to settle the case outside of court due to the uncertainty of going to trial. 

Your client can expect that any of these settlement offers will be presented to them by their product liability lawyer so that they can make an informed decision about what is right for them. There are many different factors to consider in deciding whether or not your client will be fully or fairly compensated by a settlement offer. Most insurance companies try to take advantage of your client’s lack of knowledge about the long term costs associated with their injuries and will therefore try to present a low ball settlement offer. 

It is not a good idea to manage your client’s product liability case on your own if you are not well versed in this practice area. Hiring the right lawyer can discourage the other side from wanting to go to trial. They might be more open to scheduling settlement conversations when they know that your client’s product liability case is being taken seriously.

Attorney review by:
  • Matt Morgan

Matt Morgan has dedicated his practice to civil justice. He has handled many high-profile cases wherein justice was at stake.

Mr. Morgan appears regularly as a commentator on a variety of national television shows. Matt has made appearances and been interviewed on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning," CNN, NBC, ABC and FOX News. He has also been cited in numerous print media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Miami Herald, and The Boston Globe.

In addition to his work as an attorney, Matt Morgan collaborated with Florida officials in 2020 to establish the Community Bail Fund, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the widespread incarceration of individuals who have been arrested for non-violent offenses but lack the financial means to pay bail.