Product Liability And

Products Liability and Crashworthiness Doctrine in Florida

While a high percentage of motor vehicle accidents involve some degree of negligence  on the part of one or more drivers, some accidents result, in whole or in part, from a defect  in the vehicle or a component part. Brakes fail, steering columns lock, tires blow out,  accelerators stick. Since almost the time of the first automobile, car manufacturers have  been held liable for injuries where a defect in the vehicle caused a collision. Initially,  liability was premised on the ground of negligence. Today, states also recognize strict  products liability as a basis for holding vehicle manufacturers and sellers liable for injuries  resulting from defective automobiles. All American states have adopted some form of  strict products liability, or at least something approaching strict liability even if not  denominated as such. In this blog post, we will discuss products liability and  crashworthiness issues that may arise in car accident cases.

Products Liability in Car Accident Cases 

The great majority of states have adopted strict liability in the version represented by §  402A of the Restatement Second Torts which says that an individual who sells any  product in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer  or to their property is subject to liability for physical harm caused to the ultimate user or  consumer or to their property. The caveat being that for liability to attach, the seller must  be engaged in the business of selling such a product and expects the product to reach  the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold. These  rules apply even if the seller of the vehicle has exercised all possible care in the  preparation and sale of their product, and the user or consumer has not bought the  product from or entered any contractual relation with the seller. The elements that are  generally required to be shown in a strict products liability action are: (1) that the seller  was engaged in the business of selling the product that caused the harm; (2) that the  product was defective when sold; (3) that the product was unreasonably dangerous to the  user or consumer; (4) that the product was intended to and did reach the consumer  without substantial change in the condition in which it was sold; and (5) that the product  caused physical harm to the consumer. 

The Crashworthiness Doctrine in Florida 

Liability for a product defect under the strict liability doctrine may arise by virtue of a defect in the manufacture of the product, a defect in design of the product, or a failure to warn  with respect to the danger in the use of the product. In the past, car accident products  liability cases centered on situations where the alleged defect caused or contributed to  the collision which injured the plaintiff. In the course of time, a manufacturer’s liability has  been extended to include crashworthiness or second collision cases, which involves a  situation where the alleged product defect did not cause the collision but rather enhanced  the plaintiff’s injuries. In a crashworthiness case, the focus is upon events following the  initial impact, including both the collision of an occupant with the interior portions of the  vehicle and the structural integrity of the vehicle in absorbing the impact. Products liability  cases, particularly “crashworthiness” or “second impact” cases, are very demanding on  the financial and human resources of a law firm. The issues are quite technical, often  requiring the assistance of engineers to assist the firm. Automobile manufacturers are  prepared to spend seemingly unlimited dollars in defense of these claims. While such  cases can result in huge awards, an attorney handling such a case must be prepared to  devote a great deal of time and effort to the case and expect to be confronted with a well financed, tenacious defense. 

Are You Looking for a South Florida Products Liability Attorney?  There are many types of defects that can be found in products sold to consumers. When  a product is defective, it can lead to personal injuries. Products liability lawsuits allow for  injury victims to pay for medical treatment when an injury is sustained. Our firm is dedicated to making sure that those responsible for injuries are held accountable for their  carelessness. We help clients injured by a negligent person or business by forcefully  tracking down the responsible parties down to make sure injury victims can be  compensated properly. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact our office  today to learn more about how we can assist you. Whether you simply want to discuss  your case with a personal injury lawyer to get some insight on your legal rights and  responsibilities or want to hire a lawyer to completely handle your personal injury claim,  you don’t just want to hire any lawyer. You want to make sure you hire a lawyer who is  experienced in personal injury law and one you will feel comfortable with. If you have  been injured by a defective product, do not hesitate to contact the product liability  attorneys at Suarez & Montero to receive your free consultation. We serve clients  throughout Florida including those in the following areas:  

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead,  Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.  

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston;  and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.