Have you purchased a car recently in the state of Florida only to have it give you endless trouble? Has its defects interfered with your daily routine? Or maybe they’ve become downright dangerous, imperiling your life? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then it’s time you familiarized yourself with product liability law.
Product Liability: Four Major Claims
Four claims are commonly associated with product liability:
- ¬†Strict Liability
- ¬†Breach of Warranty
- ¬†Consumer Protection Laws
Product liability claims require that certain circumstances be proven before the claim can be considered successful. These circumstances frequently concern manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn, or marketing defects. Manufacturing defects are those defects that occur during the manufacturing process. These defects can be attributable to inherently dangerous or useless design. Design defects are likewise attributed to inherently dangerous or useless design. And marketing defects are those defects that elude consumer consciousness because of inadequate warning about potentially dangerous, yet not readily obvious, components of a product.
Breach of Warranty: An All Too Common Consumer Complaint
A breach of warranty complaint is perhaps the most familiar product liability claim to the average consumer. Warranties are statements by a seller or manufacturer about the product made during a commercial transaction, and they require direct interaction between the wronged party and the manufacturer or seller of the defective good.
There are usually three types of breach of warranty-based product claims:
- Breach of express warranty, which entails specific claims about the product made by the manufacturer.
- Breach of an implied warrant of merchantability, which entails expectations common to all products unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer or seller.
- Breach of an implied warranty of fitness for a specific purpose, which entails the inability to live up to promises made about a specific purpose.
Breach of Warranty in Florida and the Lemon Law
Perhaps the most familiar warranty law to the average American is the so-called “Lemon Law,” which protects consumers from defective motor vehicles. With respect to new motor vehicles, a warranty refers to obligations of the manufacturer or seller for defective materials or workmanship or, under implied warranties, for motor vehicles to be fit for ordinary use or reasonably intended purposes. The term “warranty” may also include representations in the owner’s manual and advertisements if those representations led the consumer to purchase the vehicle.
Lemon laws vary by state. Florida has its own rules and requirements for manufacturers and sellers of motor vehicles. Since its inception in 1988, the Florida State Lemon Law Arbitration Program has granted Florida state residents hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds and replacement vehicles. In order to qualify for the State Lemon Law Arbitration Program you must file a claim within two years of the original delivery of the motor vehicle. You then have 60 days to file your State Arbitration Request with the department.
Does Your Vehicle Qualify for the Florida State Lemon Law Arbitration Program?
The Florida Lemon Law does not cover used cars, or motor vehicles that run only on tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, motorcycles, mopeds or the living facilities of recreational vehicles.
In order to qualify for the Florida Lemon Law, your vehicle must suffer a defect or condition that compromises its safety, use or value. You must take your vehicle to a repair specialist or dealer at least three times for the same substantial defect or condition. You are also eligible for the Florida Lemon Law if your vehicle has been out of service for at least fifteen calendar days due to a substantial defect.
Minor or trivial defects are not covered by the Florida Lemon Law. Also, defects caused by accidents or abuse are also not covered by the Lemon Law.
Are You The Victim of A Defective Product?
If you are the victim of a defect in your motor vehicle, or if you suffered injury from another type of consumer product, you have the right to receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the defective product. The best way to secure adequate compensation in the case of a consumer complaint is to hire the services of an attorney trained in product liability. Only an attorney trained in product liability can help you navigate the often confusing process of filing a product liability claim and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
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