If you’ve been harmed by defective products in the Vero Beach area, the attorneys at Gould Cooksey Fennell are ready to fight tirelessly for you. Since the 1950s, our team of attorneys has passionately represented clients who have been victims of product liability situations. We’re a well-established law firm that offers years of experience and a team of professionals who will care for you and your loved ones as though you’re part of our family. We provide personal attention, and we’re serious about getting justice for everyone. We proudly represent clients across the Indian River County community.
Proving Product Manufacturer Negligence Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, negligence in product liability cases must be proven in court with the following criteria:
- The product manufacturer has a legal duty to design or manufacture a product that is safe for use
- Manufacturer of the product did not comply with that duty
- Plaintiff suffered an injury that was legally determined to have been caused by the manufacturer’s faulty product
- Damages were suffered by the plaintiff
Accidents take place every day, but that doesn’t mean you might not be owed money just because you were the victim of an “accident”. Sometimes, accidents happen as a result of product liability. When that happens, you may be owed compensation or other damages as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Proving Product Manufacturer Liability in Florida
Proving product liability isn’t always easy. That’s why you need a team of expert attorneys on your side. There are three main types of manufacturer liability claims that plaintiffs can make:
- Manufacturing Defect. These are claims where a product was manufactured improperly, which resulted in someone being hurt.
- Design Defect. This happens when a product fails to pass a consumer-expectation test. This means the product needed to be designed in a way that a consumer would safely be able to use it.
- Labeling Errors. The manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings on its products.
Time and Damage Limits for Defective Product Cases
You have four years to file a claim for a defective product; however, consumers are protected by the discovery rule. This means that the time to file a claim within the statute of limitations doesn’t start until the plaintiff discovers his or her injuries. Some injuries aren’t as obvious, such as a defective hip implant, until later, so the discovery rule is used to protect consumers by giving them more time.
There’s also a statute of repose that protects manufacturers. This means, if a product is only meant to last five years and an injury occurs in year seven, it’s expected that a product wouldn’t work as expected and the time to file a claim has passed.
Defective product claims are different from other personal injury cases because of the Florida pure comparative negligence rule. This rule says that if a plaintiff is partially at fault for personal injury, a lawsuit can still be filed but recovery damages will be reduced based on the proportion of the fault of the plaintiff. Unlike other personal injury cases, in the State of Florida, there’s an economic loss doctrine for product liability cases. This means that if there are no personal damages, no claim can be filed. There’s no avenue to recover profit damages from a faulty product.
Damages an Attorney Can Help Recover from a Product Liability Case
“Pain and suffering” is a term that’s often mentioned when product liability cases come up. That’s because the victims often incur physical and emotional stresses that can take days, weeks, or years to overcome. The attorneys at Gould Cooksey Fennell have been doing this for years, and we’re passionate about helping our clients recoup the compensation and rewards that are owed to them as a result of product liability failures. We’ve recovered damages for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
In civil cases where there are damages exceeding the compensatory damages named above, an attorney can fight for punitive damages if they’re able to prove the manufacturer had “actual knowledge of wrongdoing.”
Florida has limits on punitive damages in product liability cases as follows:
- >3x the amount of compensatory damages
- Not exceeding $500,000
There are special circumstances where a court can determine the actions taken by the manufacturer were extremely negligent and only for financial gain. In these instances, there can be more punitive damages awarded, up to the following:
- 4x the amount of compensatory damages
- Not exceeding $2 million
Why Hiring an Experienced Produced Liability Attorney is Crucial
The attorneys at Gould Cooksey Fennell are serious about helping you prove gross negligence in the event of a serious injury. Our lawyers can help examine witnesses, gather necessary information, interview subject matter experts, and prepare the best case on your behalf.
Let Our Experienced Team Fight For You—Schedule a Free Consultation
We proudly represent clients around Indian River County, Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie, and Vero Beach. If you’ve been the victim of product liability negligence, reach out to us to schedule your free initial consultation today.