The Florida Bar

Product Liability

December 13, 2022

Product liability laws vary from state to state, and are based on the premise that companies generally have a duty to protect consumers from potential hazards. Generally, a product is typically required to meet the ordinary expectations of a consumer: when a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet those expectations.

Types of Product Defects

There are three types of defects that might cause injury and give rise to manufacturer or supplier liability:

  • Design defects are present in a product from the beginning, even before it is manufactured.
  • Manufacturing defects occur in the course of a product’s manufacture or assembly.
  • Marketing defects are flaws in the way a product is marketed, such as improper labeling, insufficient instructions, or inadequate safety warnings.

Defenses to Product Liability Claims

Because a plaintiff must be able to connect the product with the party or parties responsible for manufacturing or supplying it, one defense often raised in product liability cases is that the plaintiff has not sufficiently identified the supplier of the identified product. Another defense is that the plaintiff substantially altered the product after it left the manufacturer’s control, and this alteration caused the plaintiff’s injury. And another defense is that the plaintiff misused the product in an unforeseeable way, and that their misuse of the product caused the injuries.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.