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Manufacturer’s Liability for a Defective Product: A Brief Introduction

  • By:David Vitola

Different torts exist in many shapes and sizes and one of them is where a manufacturer places a defective product on the market and that product injures someone. The injured person would have a claim against the manufacturer, who would be called “strictly liable in tort” for their actions.

A more precise definition of this type of action is the following: A manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article the manufacturer places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, has a defect that renders the product unreasonably dangerous and causes injury to a human being.

You may be wondering after reading this definition, “who does the injured person need to be?” Does it need to be the person who purchased the product? In Florida, it applies to “a foreseeable bystander who came within the range of danger.” West v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 336 So. 2d 80 (Fla. 1976). This means that anyone who foreseeably uses the product and is injured by said product may have a claim against a manufacturer.

To establish strict products liability, a plaintiff must plead and prove the following elements:

  • The defendant’s relationship to the product in question;
  • The defective and unreasonably dangerous condition of the product; and
  • The existence of a causal connection between the product’s condition and the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.

Each of these elements has several sub-elements so it is a relatively complicated standard.

For the first element, a defendant must be in the business of distributing or disposing of the allegedly defective product or the defendant placed the allegedly defective product into the stream of commerce.

Regarding the second element, a product is deemed defective if it is in a condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the user or a person in the vicinity of the product, and it is expected to, and does, reach the user without a substantial change that affects the condition.

For the third element, there simply must be a connection between the injured person and the product that the defendant put into the marketplace. If these 3 elements are met, then the defendant may be liable for your injuries.

If you or your loved one has been injured by a defective product, call John today at 352-796-1390.

Posted in: Personal Injury Law

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