Types of Product Liability Claims in Florida
Explains how product liability claims work in Florida.
How Florida Product Liability Claims WorkFlorida tort law provides that the manufacturer of a defective product may be subject to liability under two theories: negligence and strict liability. It has been said that products liability cases under Florida law require proof of two things: first, that the product is defective, and second, that the defect caused plaintiff’s injuries. With regard specifically to a cause of action for negligence in a products liability case it has been said that under Florida law the elements of such a cause of action are: (1) the manufacturer must have a legal duty to design and manufacture a product reasonably safe for use; (2) the manufacturer must fail to comply with that duty; (3) the plaintiff must have an injury that is legally caused by the manufacturer’s breach of duty; and (4) the plaintiff must have suffered damages. Furthermore, it has been stated that to assert a claim for a defective product, whether the claim is for negligence or strict liability, a plaintiff must show: (1) that a defect was present in the product; (2) that it caused the injuries complained of; and (3) that it existed at the time the retailer or supplier parted possession with the product.
What Elements Are Your Required to Prove?Despite the view discussed above regarding the necessity of the existence of the defect at the time the retailer or supplier parted possession with the product, it has also been stated that to prove a defect required for a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove either that the manufacturing defect existed when the product left the manufacturer’s possession, or that the manufacturer failed to warn against the danger of a product characteristic or failed to provide adequate directions for its safe use. Additionally, it has been said that in Florida a plaintiff asserting a products liability claim sounding in negligence must allege that (1) the defendant owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury, and (4) the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. Similarly, it has been said that to prove any products liability claim sounding in negligence under Florida law, including negligent design or manufacture, a plaintiff must show: (1) that the defendant owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff; (2) that the defendant breached that duty; (3) that the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury; and (4) that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous.
It has also been stated that under Florida law to prevail on a products liability claim sounding in negligence, a plaintiff must establish: (1) a duty or obligation recognized by the law requiring the defendant to protect others from unreasonable risks; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a reasonably close casual connection between the conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual loss or damages. While it has been stated in some instances that under Florida law in order to prevail on a products liability claim under a theory of strict liability or negligence, the plaintiff must establish that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous, the view has also been expressed that to prevail in a products liability case under Florida law for either negligence or strict liability a plaintiff must establish a defect in the subject product. In regard to the latter view, with regard to negligence, it has been stated that a plaintiff must first prove that the product was defective because in general, proof of a defect determines a breach of duty under a negligence theory. Thus, the view has been followed that a prima facie case of products liability negligence requires some evidence that the defendant breached a duty that actually and proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff also must establish that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. In this regard, before a manufacturer may be held liable for harm allegedly caused by negligence in connection with a product, it is necessary that it be shown that there was actually something wrong with the product used, that is, the product must be defective or dangerous. In addition, the plaintiff must establish that the product that allegedly caused his or her injury was manufactured or sold by the defendant.