Central Florida Product Liability
Defective products that cause injury.
When you purchase a product you expect it to be reasonably safe for you or your loved ones to use. Products which are not safe for use cause injury and/or death almost every day of the week. Sadly, many of the victims of these defective products go completely uncompensated. Someone who has been injured, or worse, the family of one who has been killed, by a defective product should rightfully be compensated for the totality of their losses. The law allows this and it is only just.
What are some examples of defective products?
There are a huge number of examples of defective products. Seat belts and air bags that do not function properly, electric saws with defective blade guards, jet skis with defective kill switches, dangerous drugs and dietary supplements, products that have been painted with lead based paint, electric products that shock and cause injury, vehicles with defective acceleration components that cause accidents or fuel systems that catch fire and defective helmets are just a few examples.
What is product liability law?
Sometimes products are shipped from the manufacturer and sold to consumers without adequate engineering, testing, or evaluation to ensure that they are reasonably safe for use. While this may happen in only a small percentage of the products in the marketplace, the sheer number of products sold makes it inevitable that there will be defective products whose use will result in injury or death. The injured parties are entitled to compensation for their injuries including damages for loss of body function, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, lost income, expenses for caregiving, and other related expenses. The area of injury law that provides compensation for persons injured by defective products is called “Product Liability Law.”
It is an outrage that any manufacturing company or retailer would place their own profit motive above you (or your children’s safety); but there are many cases where manufacturers have knowingly endangered consumers causing injury and death. Such manufacturers should be held accountable for the injuries and deaths they cause. This is especially true if the product was known to be defective before the product hit the market but the manufacturers produced it anyway (see the cases below).
Some famous historical examples are:
- Fen Phen Anti-Obesity Drug. This drug reportedly cased fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problems, which eventually led to their withdrawal and legal damages of over $13 billion. The cases were supported by a 1996 case-control study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine which found a 23-fold increase in pulmonary hypertension in individuals taking Fen Phen.
- Ford Explorer Rollover/Firestone Tires. The Washington Post reported that in lawsuits filed over the injuries and deaths that have occurred in Ford Explorers using Firestone tires, internal Ford memos showed the company’s own engineers had discovered potential dangers in two key Explorer features, namely suspension and roof strength, that could make Explorers lethal during a tire blowout. Previously, Ford had denied any liability. “The whole thing just screamed greed,” said La Rita Morales, part of a jury in California that in 2010 awarded an Explorer driver $23.4 million in damages. “I didn’t believe in my heart that a company like Ford would put out a product with question marks over it.” (Quoted from the Washington Post, Saturday, May 8, 2010)
- Florida Cigarette Case. A Miami jury in 2000 found that the tobacco companies deceived smokers about the risks of smoking, leading to injury, death and loss of enjoyment of life. The plaintiffs in this class action suit were awarded $145 billion. While this verdict was later overturned at the request of the tobacco companies, individual smokers were given more time to file their individual lawsuits against the tobacco companies.
- Pentair Exploding Water Tank. We recently litigated a case involving a Pentair water pressure tank (used to supply drinking water from a well to a residence) that exploded and caused significant, life changing injury to our client, and cause additional damages to his family. Our client was airlifted from the road in front of his home to a trauma center where he spent the next week in a medically induced coma. The surgeries lasted for more than five years after the accident. While we cannot disclose the details of the resolution of this case, we can disclose that the case resolved prior to trial based upon the legal work done by our firm and our experts.
Hayworth & Chaney, PA has successfully litigated product liability cases.
Will there be a trial?
Possibly, but statistically the vast majority of cases settle before trial. This is because during the discovery phase of the case, information and expert reports are produced that, generally speaking, help the parties determine the extent of the product defect, the reasonable amount of damages, and other fact issues that will weigh on the merits of the case. Usually, at this point, the case will settle for an amount that is acceptable to both sides given the evidence and the expert’s opinions. If the case does go to trial, you can rely on your Hayworth & Chaney, PA attorneys to guide you through the process with confidence and professionalism.
Does Hayworth & Chaney, PA engage experts?
YES. In fact, experts are particularly important in Product Liability cases because they are the only persons who can provide opinion testimony to the judge and jury as to whether the product is defective. It is expensive to engage experts. You should therefore carefully consider a law firm’s ability to engage experts before you let them take your case.
What will it cost?
It will cost you nothing if we do not secure a recovery for you. We will advance all costs of proving the case, including the costs of experts. We do not require an up-front payment from you. We only get paid, and get our costs reimbursed, if we secure a recovery for you.
Product liability law is not the same as other consumer protection laws.
If you purchase a product that is defective but does not cause injury, there may be warranties that apply that give you the right to a refund or replacement. These warranties may be express, implied, or granted by statute. This is a different area of the law from Product Liability, which deals with compensation for personal injuries caused by defective products.
What should I do if I have been injured by a defective product?
You should act as quickly as possible to protect your right to compensation.
- First, take care of yourself. Seek medical attention and be sure to tell your doctor that you believe your injuries were caused by a defective product. Tell your doctor about the product that injured you.
- If you have been injured by a product that you believe may be defective you may call our Florida toll free number 877-727-0502 or contact us for more information and a personal case review by a partner of our law firm (not a “case worker” or junior associate attorney as in some law firms, but a seasoned injury law attorney).
- Save the defective product. It is your evidence.
- Take photographs or videos of the injuries. Keep a journal of how the injuries impact your life.
- Keep all documents concerning medical payments, medical records, loss of income, expenses incurred because of the injury (for example gas receipts, expenses related to house cleaning or home maintenance that you normally would have performed but for your injury, expenses for medical devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, over the counter medications, prosthetic devices, etc.)
- Contact legal counsel immediately. Once evidence becomes stale it can be much more difficult to acquire the full amount of your recovery for you. Witnesses’ memories fade. Documents are lost. Momentum is lost. Waiting is the worst thing you can do.
Do I have a case?
Each case is different and must be evaluated on its merits. We strive to only accept cases that are meritorious and we believe our reputation is greatly enhanced because of this. Given this, the best way to know whether you have a case is to call an attorney and have your claim reviewed in detail. We will be honest with you about the pros and cons of your case, your chances for recovery, and the steps that need be taken in order to protect your rights.
This is our passion.
At Hayworth & Chaney, PA we have a passion for the injured. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have been injured by a defective product. We are waiting to talk to you. The phone call is free.