Product Liability – Frequently Asked Questions

Cohen Milstein

April 17, 2024

As consumers, we use products with the understanding that they will make our lives easier or more pleasant. We trust them to be safe. Yet, thousands of people are injured or killed every year because of defective or dangerous products ranging from motor vehicles and children’s toys to building materials and medical equipment.

What is product liability?

Product liability deals with injuries resulting from the use of a product that is unsafe due to its design, the way it was manufactured, or the manner in which it was marketed. The following classifications represent the basic types of product liability:

  • Design Defects: These flaws stem from the faulty design of a product, which means that the actual blueprint for creating the product was unreasonably dangerous. For example, a toy that is easily broken into small parts, presenting a choking hazard.
  • Manufacturing Defects: These defects arise during the assembly of a product. The design was reasonably safe, but some error occurred during the manufacturing process. For example, if the product was manufactured using substandard materials.
  • Marketing Defects and Deficient Warnings: These injuries are not caused by any defect with the product itself. Instead, the manufacturer and/or seller failed to adequately warn you about risks associated with the product. For example, a toxic chemical product that does not contain adequate information and precautions on how to use it safely.

Who is liable for a defective product?

A person who is injured by an unsafe or defective product may have legal grounds to file suit against anyone in the product’s chain of distribution. Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the defect, various parties could be held responsible under product liability law including the following:

  • Designer
  • Manufacturer
  • Parts manufacturer
  • Assembling manufacturer
  • Packaging company
  • Wholesaler
  • Retailer

How long do I have to file a product liability lawsuit?

Each state has laws governing the length of time you have to file a claim for products liability. This law is known as the statute of limitations.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for product liability claims is two years from the date of injury or death that occurred as a result of the product. These time frames often vary even more if the defendant is a governmental entity. These statements do not apply to all cases and it is best to speak with an attorney if you have specific questions about the statute of limitations or rules applying to your claim. The length of time may vary from state to state and product liability cases are usually litigated in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred.

What damages can you claim for a product liability case?

Your product liability claim should account for all of the damages you have sustained. This may include economic and non-economic losses:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Anticipated medical expenses for future treatment and rehabilitation
  • Loss of past income
  • Loss of future wages or reduced earnings capacity
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

How does my attorney get paid?

We work on a contingency basis, so we don’t get paid unless you do. We cover all of the upfront costs and only collect a fee if we win your case. If we cannot get you a financial recovery, you owe us nothing.

What should I do if I have been injured by an unsafe or defective product?

If you are injured by an unsafe or defective product, make sure you have your facts in order. Create a record:

  • Keep the product if you can safely keep it in your possession
  • Do not alter or fix the product
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Assemble any documentation you have related to the product including purchase records, technical information, owner’s manuals, and/or user instructions.
  • Take photos of the product
  • Arrange a free consultation with our Unsafe & Defective Products attorneys as soon as possible
  • Do not discuss the case with anyone other than your attorney

Can a Florida product liability lawyer help me if I do not live in Florida or if the incident occurred in a different state?

Absolutely. We litigate cases across the nation and will travel as necessary to conduct investigations, interviews, and assessments of the defective product. Cohen Milstein is a national law firm with the experience and resources required to handle product liability cases across the United States. In some instances, we may partner with local reputable law firms to handle certain aspects providing them with the additional resources and expertise to pursue a case to its fullest extent.