Product Liability Law

Product liability law provides the victims of dangerous products with legal recourse for any injuries suffered. Generally, a product is required to meet the ordinary expectations of a consumer. A product that has an unexpected defect or danger does not meet consumers’ ordinary expectations. A number of different parties may be held liable for any injuries that result from the use of a defective product. For example, if a flaw in the manufacturing process creates a dangerous defect, the manufacturer may be held liable. This section includes a number of resources on design defects, manufacturing defects, defects in warning, and product liability law in general. Please select from the links below to get started. Types of Product Liability Defects If someone is injured by a defective product, there are three types of product liability claims that may apply to their case: Manufacturing defects Design defects Marketing defects (manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding how to properly use the product) Knowing the basics of these three product liability claims will help an injured person determine if they have a valid case. Who’s Responsible? In defective product cases, the plaintiff doesn’t need circumstantial evidence to prove the manufacturer was negligent. The plaintiff only has to prove she was injured, and identify the defect which caused her injuries. To identify a product’s defect, the victim (and her attorney) may have to go through an intense pre-trial discovery process. Some product liability cases are exempt from the difficult and expensive pre-trial discovery process. In Res Ipsa Loquitur (or “res ips”) cases, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the product defect exists. Res Ipsa Loquitor is Latin for, “the thing speaks for itself.” It means that the product defect is so clearly obvious, having to prove its existence is not legally required. Products Liability and Guns If a gun was negligently manufactured and resulted in harm upon use, the manufacturer can be held liable. Unlike some products, defective firearms and explosives do not make a manufacturer strictly liable for resulting injuries. In order for an injured person to recover, a plaintiff suing for damages resulting from a licensed firearm must show that: The manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care in producing the firearm or explosive The manufacturer failed to comply with statutes and regulations The malfunction was the proximate or actual cause of the plaintiffs injury, and The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the malfunction The manufacturers of explosives are held to a higher standard of care than wholesalers and sellers of the weapons. Settling Products Liability Claims Whether it’s better to settle a product liability lawsuit or go to trial depends on the circumstances surrounding your case and what you hope to get out of your claim. Therefore, it is imperative that you carefully consider every aspect of your unique situation to determine if the offered settlement is adequate. You should know some of the elements to be considered when contemplating a settlement, including identifying all possible responsible parties, what damages you will have to prove in court should your case go to trial, whether or not subrogation is a factor, and if you may want to consider a structured settlement or a partial settlement with a reservation of rights. How a Products Liability Attorney Can Help An experienced products liability attorney can help guide you through the negotiation and settlement process. Your attorney can help you determine your damages, secure evidence of your losses, and advise you on different settlement options. To get started, at absolutely no charge, have an experienced products liability lawyer evaluate your claim today.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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