It can be difficult to determine liability when you purchase a defective product. So, who is responsible if a product defect is caused by a distributor mishandling or modifying it? Generally, Florida does not hold a consumer accountable for product defects caused by someone else.
In fact, the distributor may hold liability for any injuries that occur if such a defect causes an accident that injures you. In other situations, the manufacturer may maintain liability for your losses. Learn more about product liability negligence and who you can hold accountable for your damages.
Who Is Responsible for a Defect in a Product?
Many consumers in Florida worry they may end up responsible for a product defect, especially if a distributor modified or mishandled the product before making a sale. However, we do not usually see this situation legally.
Instead, any company included in the product’s distribution chain may hold liability for your accident. Potentially liable parties include:
- Qualify-control engineers
- Distributors or wholesalers
- Consultants or contractors
A product liability lawyer in Florida can review what caused the problem with the product that led to your injuries. Taking this step can help identify the liable party, allowing you to move forward with a product liability claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (239) 334-3933
Are Distributors Liable for Defective Products Accidents if They Modify a Product?
The Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) reports information about injuries caused by faulty products.
In most product liability cases, the manufacturer holds liability for the accident. However, there are cases where liability may fall on the distributor if they modify or mishandle a product, causing it to work improperly.
However, distributors generally only move products from place to place. They do not generally make changes to a product before bringing it to its end destination in Florida.
What a Company Sells a Defect Product, What Is Their Responsibility?
Sometimes, companies sell a product that has a dangerous defect. Are these companies considered legally responsible for your accident in this situation?
Generally, the manufacturer maintains liability in this situation, as the manufacturer designed and created the product. However, the retailer may have a degree of responsibility if the company knew about the defect and sold the product anyway.
Additionally, a retailer may have some degree of responsibility if it removes safety warnings or instructions from a product, resulting in an accident or injury. In all these situations, you should not be responsible for a product defect caused by a distributor mishandling or modifying it.
Can You File a Defective Product Lawsuit if a Distributor Mishandled the Product?
You might have a legal chance to file a lawsuit if a distributor mishandled or modified a product, causing a dangerous defect. However, before you can file a legal claim, a lawyer may need to demonstrate that:
- The product displayed a hazardous defect
- The defect caused your injury
- You were using the product as intended at the time of the injury
- You did not substantially change the item in any way
Note that if the distributor made significant changes to the product, you cannot generally pursue a claim against the manufacturer.
A product liability lawyer can assess your situation to determine if you have a valid claim. Once you speak with a law firm, you can decide if you want to move forward with a legal claim or not.
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How do Lawyers Successfully Resolve Product Liability Claims?
Generally, the court treats cases involving manufacturing errors as “strict liability” claims (Fla. Stat. § 768.81(d)). Strict liability means that the manufacturer holds liability for the accident if they created a product that caused your injuries, regardless of their intention.
However, strict liability may not always apply in cases involving a distributor mishandling or modifying a product. In these cases, lawyers may have to establish negligence instead.
Individuals or businesses display negligence if they make unreasonably dangerous choices that directly lead to an accident or injury. Changing a product before selling it could constitute an act of negligence in some cases.
How do Lawyers Determine Who Is Responsible for Product Defect Claims?
Lawyers often perform an investigation when handling product liability claims in Florida. They may take steps to assess who caused the defect, looking at the manufacturer, distributor, and other businesses.
The law firm may gather evidence during its investigation to build a claim for your case. Your lawyer provides individualized care based on the facts of your case.
What Damages Can You Receive if a Distributor Mishandles or Modifies a Product?
Are you responsible if a product defect is caused by a distributor mishandling or modifying it? Generally, the distributor holds liability for these accidents, and the company may have to cover your losses.
Individuals in Florida who file product liability claims may receive funds to cover their:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages for the time they took off work
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
The amount of financial compensation for a product defect you receive may vary based on the severity of your injuries. Not everyone receives the same financial coverage after a defective product accident.
You may also have a chance to secure compensation if you lost a family member due to a product defect caused by a distributor changing a product. In this situation, a compassionate lawyer can help your family file a wrongful death claim.
Talk to Us if a Defective Product Hurt You in Florida
Are you responsible if a product defect is caused by a distributor mishandling or modifying it? Generally, the distributor holds liability in this situation, not the manufacturer or the consumer. You can find out more about the specific legalities with our team at Viles & Beckman, LLC.
Discuss your options by calling us or filling out our online contact form.