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The Two Tests Florida Courts Apply When Hearing Product Liability Cases

When someone is injured while using a product, that person is entitled to file a product liability case against the manufacturer of the allegedly dangerous product to seek compensation for their injuries. In most cases, the injured party will not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent; however, an injured party will need to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous.

Florida courts allow product liability plaintiffs to prove dangerousness in one of two ways:  the risk-utility test or the consumer-expectations test. A recent Florida appellate court opinion briefly mentions each test and notes how under the current state of the law, a jury may be instructed on the elements of both tests.

Florida’s Risk-Utility Test

One way in which a Florida product liability plaintiff can establish that a product was dangerous is through the risk-utility test. This test asks the jury to consider the risks posed by a product’s design and weigh those risks against the benefits of the design. Courts applying this test look at a number of factors, such as the obviousness of the danger presented by the product and the availability of other reasonable designs that may be less dangerous. Since it can be argued that most products present some risk, this test is less plaintiff-friendly in most circumstances.

The Consumer-Expectations Test

The other means by which a plaintiff can prove product dangerousness is through the consumer-expectations test. The consumer-expectations test simply asks the jury to consider whether the product’s design functioned as safely as a reasonable consumer would expect it to function. Since the consumer-expectations test requires a juror to determine what a “reasonable consumer” would expect from the product, this test introduces more of an element of subjectivity.

The Current State of Florida Jury Instructions

As the recent Florida appellate opinion briefly notes, the current jury instructions in Florida provide for elements of both the risk-utility test as well as the consumer-expectations test. This area of Florida personal injury law is constantly evolving. Thus, it is very important for anyone considering bringing a Florida product liability case to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss their case and the applicable law.

Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous Product?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while using any kind of dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida product liability lawsuit. As noted above, these cases can be very complex, and they present cutting-edge legal issues in an environment with constantly changing and evolving laws. Contact the South Florida personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana to ensure that you have a dedicated attorney who is prepared with persuasive arguments that are based on the most current court decisions. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you seek the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Boating Accidents in South Florida, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 1, 2017.

Florida Children Exposed to Toxic Gas at Indoor Pool, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 7, 2017.