If you have been injured by a dangerous product, holding the manufacturer accountable could be important for your long-term physical, emotional and financial well-being. Product-related accidents can have significant financial and non-financial costs, and it is not an exaggeration to say that they can impact all aspects of victims’ (and their family members’) lives.
When it comes to holding product manufacturers accountable, one potential option is to file a warranty claim. If you have a warranty claim, you can hire a breach of express warranty lawyer to file your claim on your behalf. If you don’t have a warranty claim, you may have other options, and your lawyer will be able to help you explore these options as well.
Product Warranties: What You Need to Know After a Product-Related Accident in Florida
Most consumer products sold in Florida come with warranties. By law, product manufacturers must provide certain “implied” (or non-written) warranties unless they specifically disclaim these warranties in writing, and many manufacturers opt to provide “express” (or written) warranties as well.
To determine whether a product is covered under an express or implied warranty, it is necessary to carefully review all documentation that comes with the product. This includes the product’s packaging, any instructions or labels, and even the manufacturer’s website in many cases. When seeking to discern whether a product comes with a warranty, there are two main factors to consider:
Does the manufacturer disclaim the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose?
Florida law allows product manufacturers to disclaim the implied warranties in writing. If a manufacturer’s documentation includes a valid disclaimer, then these warranties do not apply. The law allows manufacturers to use various types of disclaimers, including language that specifically disclaims the warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, as well as general language such as “As is” or “There are no warranties which extend beyond the description on the face hereof.”
Does the manufacturer provide any express warranties for the product?
Express warranty language will usually be labeled as such. Many manufacturers label their express warranties as “Limited Warranties” to make clear that they are subject to certain restrictions. This includes common restrictions such as time limitations (i.e., the warranty is only valid for one year) and limitations on the types of accidents covered (i.e., the warranty does not apply to accidents caused by misuse or ordinary wear and tear).
Warranty language can be complicated. If you have questions about filing a warranty claim, you should hire a breach of express warranty lawyer to determine what warranties (if any) apply. While most consumer products come with warranties, some don’t—and express and implied warranties may both only apply in certain specific scenarios.
Other Options for Holding Product Manufacturers Accountable
Let’s say you were injured by a dangerous product, and let’s say that you don’t have a warranty claim under the circumstances at hand. What other options do you have available?
Even if you don’t have an express or implied warranty claim, you may still have a claim against the manufacturer. For example, in many cases, victims of product-related accidents (and their families) can file claims based on product defects.
A product can be considered “defective” under three primary scenarios. First, a product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous by design. If a product’s design is flawed, then every single copy of the product has the potential to be dangerous—and this can lead to widespread recalls and large numbers of product-related accidents.
Second, a product can be defective as a result of an issue arising during the manufacturing process. This includes improper assembly, use of substandard materials and a variety of other issues. Third, a product can be deemed defective if it lacks adequate warning labels to inform consumers of potential dangers. This type of “failure to warn” defect is also common, and it triggers many widespread recalls as well.
In addition to warranty and product defect claims, individuals and families who are coping with the effects of product-related accidents can also file claims for negligence. Even if a product does not qualify as “defective” under Florida law, it could still be dangerous for other reasons. Since warranty claims, product defect claims and negligence claims can all arise under different scenarios, it is important for victims and their families to consult with a lawyer who can fully assess their legal rights.
What About Commercial Products?
So far, we’ve focused specifically on consumer products. These are the products we buy to use in our everyday lives—everything from kitchen appliances and personal electronics to cars, trucks and SUVs. But what about commercial products? Do these products come with express and implied warranties?
Generally speaking, everything we’ve discussed above regarding consumer products applies to commercial products as well. Commercial products can come with implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or manufacturers can disclaim these warranties in writing. Likewise, manufacturers of commercial products can choose whether (and to what extent) to offer express warranties to their business customers.
How Long Do I Have to File a Warranty Claim in Florida?
If you have a warranty claim related to a consumer or commercial product in Florida, how long do you have to file a claim? The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances.
Generally, contract-based claims (including warranty claims) are subject to a four-year statute of limitations in Florida. This means that you have four years from the date of your (or your loved one’s) accident to file a claim. But, just as manufacturers can disclaim (or choose not to provide) warranties, they can limit the amount of time victims and families have to file claims as well. With this in mind, if you think you may have a claim, you should consult with a breach of express warranty lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to a Breach of Express Warranty Lawyer About Your Legal Rights for Free
Do you have questions about filing a claim for a product-related accident? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a breach of express warranty lawyer at Brais Law Firm, call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can help online today.