Florida Product Liability Lawyers

Automobiles

Automobile product liability claims arise from defects in the design or safety of an automobile which result in some form of harm to a consumer.  A major shift that heralded the safety of automobile design and construction to the forefront of the American conscience came about in the late 1960’s.  Notably came the criticism of Ralph Nader’s polemic book, Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, which was critical of the automotive industry’s safety versus affordability attitudes.  Since that time, the auto industry has policed safety, and has been policed in safety, to create better and more effective vehicle designs.  Defects and design faults still occur despite these efforts.

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Cranes

A great deal of liability in the area of crane accident litigation stems from failure by employers to properly maintain equipment or train their employees.  Electrocution through contacting power lines, crane assembly and disassembly accidents, loading errors, dropped loads and upsets and overturns lend themselves toward negligence or civil tort actions.

Still, cranes buckle, experience failures with their rigging, collapse, experience metal fatigue and other mechanical breakdowns that lead to damages, injuries and sometimes death.  Crane design and product liability issues can, and do, frequently affect the crane industry.  A thorough understanding of level, fulcrum, pulley and energy management physics concepts are essential when isolating whether a failure was due to design or engineering defects.  At Podhurst Orseck, our counsel have worked these cases and have the scientific and legal understanding necessary to determine when a case has merit, and, if so, how to move forward on the merits.

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Forklifts and Ladders

Approximately 100 workers are fatally injured each year and it is estimated that over 34,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained related to forklifts and other powered industrial vehicles.  These statistics, published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Safety Research, underscore the potential products liability implications in the use of such machines.  Included in this class of devices are aerial work platforms (AWPs), powered industrial trucks, elevating work platforms (EWPs), “cherry pickers,” scissor lifts and a wide range of machines simply called “forklifts” from standard warehouse platforms to stand up forklifts.

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Marine Engine

Marine engine and propulsion system component failures are capable of incurring extremely costly damages.  The loss of a propulsion system can leave a vessel stranded dead in the water, lead to a grounding of the vessel, indirectly cause collision damage or even cause environmental harm.  Additionally, failure of an engine may cause damage to other parts of the vessel on which they are installed.  A propulsion system failure could lead to serious bodily injury or death to passengers and crew, as in the case of a fire, and personal property damage of property aboard the vessel.  These issues arise in the complex context of federal Maritime law under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal judiciary.

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Power Tools

Handheld power tools often provide welcome speed and assistance to a work project – whether it’s a small project around the house or part of an industrial project.  When these tools fail to operate safely, they can present the possibility of serious bodily injury or even death.

Product liability is comprised of three distinct types of product liability theories: design defects, manufacturing defects, or defects in marketing, which include failure to provide adequate warnings.  Many states enforce products liability under a strict liability standard.  Strict liability does not consider the negligence of the manufacturer.  Instead, if the product is legally deemed to be defective, there is liability.  All parties in the distribution chain of the product are potentially liable.  This includes point of sale merchants, distributers, wholesalers and product manufacturers.

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Vehicle Rollovers

Automobile rollovers are violent and often complex crash incidents that reflect the interaction of the driver, vehicle, road and environmental factors.  While other factors naturally play a factor in a vehicle rollover accident, vehicle design has often been demonstrated as a significant contributing factor to the harm.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rollovers account for one-third of all passenger vehicle fatalities.   They further state that over 10,000 people are killed annually in the United States in vehicle rollovers.  In their most comprehensive study on the subject published in March 2007, entitled, “An Analysis of Motor Vehicle Crashes and Injury Outcomes,” the NHTSA reported almost 250,000 vehicle rollovers in the United States occur every year.

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Tire Tread

Tire litigation is a type of product liability law that seeks to determine responsibility for damages caused by defective vehicular tires.  Such liability can rest anywhere throughout the chain of production, distribution, storage, sale or any combination of these areas.  While this type of litigation is most common in automobile tires, product liability can extend to all types of tires, including aircraft, farm and industrial use tires.

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