Food and Beverage Product Liability: Be Careful What You Eat

The last thing anyone wants after they’ve enjoyed a meal is to become mysteriously and violently ill. If you’ve been hit with a bad case of food poisoning, you are unfortunately familiar with the horrible side effects that can come with eating contaminated or spoiled food.

While many people have experienced food poisoning, few are aware that there are legal remedies for victims. If you fell ill from food poisoning, you may be able to seek financial compensation with the help of a skilled food product liability lawyer.

Common Sources of Food Poisoning Our Firm Sees

In food product liability, there are two types of claims: food contamination and food poisoning. Food contamination refers to food that had a foreign object in it, like rocks, animal parts, glass, and more.

Food poisoning happens when food-borne pathogens make their way into the food. These can result from a number of conditions, such as:

  • Unsanitary food preparation conditions
  • Improper food storage
  • Improper handling of food
  • Not washing hands
  • Contamination from toxic chemicals, animal waste, polluted water, and other environmental hazards
  • Not cooking food for long enough
  • Leaving food out of the fridge for too long before preparing it

Food poisoning can occur from eating various types of food and at any location. Even if you’re eating at a restaurant that seems clean, it’s still possible that the kitchen is not maintaining the proper health code standards.

Many cases of food poisoning come from the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Seafood
  • Frozen foods
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products

Exercise caution when eating out. If a food or beverage seems off, it’s safer to avoid it rather than assuming it’s okay to eat.

When you eat at a restaurant, it’s reasonable to expect that the food you consume has been sourced from a reputable place and prepared correctly in safe conditions. However, parties in the food distribution chain cut corners to save time and money, leading to food-borne illnesses that cause people to become extraordinarily ill.

Who is responsible for a contaminated food claim or food poisoning?

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for the food contamination or which party failed to properly care for the food. It could be anyone in the food’s chain of manufacturing and distribution, including:

  • The company that grew the food
  • The company that sourced the food
  • The food’s producer
  • The wholesaler
  • The retailer
  • The grocery store that sold the food
  • The restaurant that served the food

Investigating the exact cause and source of the food poisoning can be incredibly complex. A food product liability lawyer can help determine which party is negligible.

Common Illnesses from Food Poisoning

At best, food poisoning can pass within a couple of days, leaving the victim weak but in stable condition. However, at worst, food poisoning can lead to even more serious medical conditions including:

  • E. coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Botulism
  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Norovirus
  • Toxoplasma
  • Shigellosis
  • Salmonella

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience food poisoning. It’s also helpful to track what and when you ate and the location.

If you purchased the food, take note of which grocery store you bought it from and save the rest of the food and the packaging. Keep those until you have a chance to speak with a food product liability lawyer.

Contact a Leading Florida Food Product Liability Lawyer Today

If you have been the victim of food or beverage poisoning or contamination, contact our firm to speak with an experienced Florida food product liability lawyer. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will help you claim the compensation you are entitled to.

Call us at 561-655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation with one of our skilled product liability lawyers. We look forward to speaking with you.

What are the 3 types of product defects?

types of product defectsWhen you use a product, you expect it to not only perform as promised but to also be safe and reliable. When a product turns out to be dangerous or poses a threat to its user, this is usually due to a product defect. There are three main types of product defects: 

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Labeling errors

At times, a combination of two or more of these types of product defects can lead to serious injuries and even death. Determining how and why a product caused an injury can be a complex battle to fight; in some cases, there are multiple parties in the chain of production that could have played a role in causing the product defect. 

If you believe you or a loved one were injured due to a product defect, we urge you to contact an experienced product liability lawyer right away.

 

What is a design defect?

Sometimes, a product defect is not a mistake, but rather by design. A design defect makes the product inherently dangerous even when used as directed. Inadequate or uncontrolled testing, negligence during the initial design phase, and a lack of oversight can all lead to a design defect. 

Even if a product uses high-quality materials, Inherent flaws in the design can lead to serious injuries, property damage, or death. Examples of design defects include:

  • Top-heavy SUVs that are prone to rollovers when turning a corner
  • Electric heaters that catch fire when the heat is set to a high level 
  • A crib with bars that are far enough apart for a child to stick their head through them 
  • Heavy machinery that fails to provide enough protection for the user’s hands while using the product

Companies have a duty to design products that are safe and reliable to use. A crucial component of this is having a design that’s been analyzed for possible risks and tested rigorously. 

 

What is a manufacturing defect?

Another type of product defect stems from mistakes made during the manufacturing process. Products with manufacturing defects might have been made with a safe design but are dangerous because of the way they were produced. 

Using poor quality materials, missing crucial pieces, or not creating the product according to the original design can all lead to manufacturing defects. Examples of manufacturing defects include:

  • Vehicles with faulty brake pads
  • Medication that has been contaminated or exposed to toxic substances
  • Electronics that were erroneously wired and catch on fire 
  • Installing electric circuitry incorrectly leading to electrocution 

Manufacturing defects happen all too often and can lead to serious injuries. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you hold the manufacturer accountable for the defect in a product that led to your injury. 

 

What is a labeling error? 

Many products must include instructions or warning labels. These labels inform users of how to use the product correctly and warn them of the possible risks and dangers of using the product. Labels should be clear, easy to read, and fully explain the intended use of the product. Warning labels should clearly outline the possible risks associated with the product. 

When a consumer unknowingly uses a product incorrectly or exposes themself to a risk that wasn’t outlined in the warning label, they often sustain an injury that would have been otherwise preventable. 

Examples of labeling errors include:

  • Toys that fail to warn users that there are components that pose a choking hazard to children
  • Medication that fails to list the possible side effects
  • Big Tobacco’s failure to warn consumers that their products contained cancer-causing agents 

Consumers have the right to know what risks and hazards are associated with the products that they’re using. Companies and manufacturers commit labeling errors through either a failure to warn or a failure to adequately warn the user of the dangers of their product. When this happens, they should be held accountable for the injuries that occurred as a result of using their product. 

 

Contact a Florida Product Liability Lawyer Today

If you were harmed or injured by a defective product, you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit. Contact the experienced Florida product liability lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Our legal team can help you fight for justice by holding the liable parties accountable for their negligence or wrongdoing. 

Product defects cause serious injuries and can lead to a long recovery timeline for victims. Call us today at 561-655-1990 or send us a message to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to assisting you! 

What To Watch Out for When Given a Defective Product for the Holidays

defective productHolidays are typically times where we can enjoy family, delicious meals, and celebrations. The last thing that we expect is for a gift that another gives us to result in our injury. But unfortunately, defective products and design flaws often go unnoticed until it’s too late. And in some circumstances, these defective or flawed products result in significant injuries to us and others. 

With that said, who is to blame for our injuries from a defective product given as a holiday gift? Let’s discuss what you should watch out for while giving and accepting gifts, and what to do if you suspect that a product you received caused your injury.

Who is liable when a dangerous or defective product injures someone?

When someone suffers an injury while using a product, they may think that they are at fault. However, this is not always the case, depending on what the product is and whether it was used as intended. If you believe that your injury is due to a defective product, it is always a good idea to discuss your accident with an attorney.

Typically, it is the manufacturer’s duty to provide safe products to consumers. They generally oversee the manufacturing of the products they sell to consumers. Therefore, it is their job to locate and stop defective products from being sold. Failure to do so can show negligence on the manufacturer’s behalf.

With that said, sometimes a manufacturer does not need to be negligent to be found liable for your injuries. This is true with products that are inherently dangerous or come with known health risks. Although this adds some complexity to defective product cases, it gives peace of mind to consumers who know that manufacturers must sell products that are as safe and reliable as possible.

What holiday gifts most commonly have defects?

Over the holidays, a lot of our gift-giving centers around providing toys to children. Unfortunately, children often lack caution while using toys, which can lead to injury. Although a majority of toy-related injuries do not lead to serious health consequences, some do lead to hospitalization and even result in fatalities. 

Here are some of the most common causes of toy injuries:

A toy presents a choking hazard.

Children’s toys are often small and may contain small pieces that children put in their mouths. If a child chokes on or swallows an item not meant for consumption, this is often a serious incident that requires medical treatment. This is something to watch out for with gifts that are not preassembled, which often contain several small parts.

A toy presents a suffocation risk.

A toy itself or even its packaging could be a suffocation risk for a child. Even if someone suffers an injury from packaging, the manufacturer may still be at fault. This is the case if the manufacturer fails to warn about suffocation risks with the product or packaging.

A riding toy, such as a scooter or another children’s transportation device, can lead to an accident.

The most common accidents occur with riding toys. This can involve non-motorized items like bicycles and scooters, or powered ride-on vehicles. These accidents often involve a misunderstanding of how to operate the riding toy. For example, injuries often occur when a child rides their toy into a body of water or on unfamiliar terrain.

What should I know about product liability?

There are several types of product liability claims to know. Defective products, defective designs, and a failure to warn are different types of product liability that can determine how you prove your holiday defective product claim.

A defective product alone is not a reason to bring forward a claim. Instead, the use of a product must lead to specific injuries and damages that you can prove in court. An attorney will help you determine whether you have a case. They can also help you determine which party or parties are liable for your defective product injuries.

What should you do next if you received a defective product that caused your injuries?

Whenever a loved one purchases a gift for a family member or friend, they expect that gift to work properly. If you have purchased or received a defective product that accidentally injures you, we can help. The law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will explain complex product liability claims in terms that you understand. 

Contact us using the live chat feature on our website, or by phone at (561) 655-1990. During your free consultation, we can help you decide whether to file a lawsuit and determine what your next actions should be. Contact us today.

What is the Difference Between Product Liability and Strict Liability?

what is difference between product liability and strict liabilityWhen you purchase and use a defective item that results in injury, who is to blame? Unfortunately, this can be a puzzling question to answer. Yet, when you want to hold someone accountable for the damages you faced from using your product, there must be a legal answer. Otherwise, it will be hard to bring forward a lawsuit when you have not determined all the parties involved. For this reason, there are two law terms you should know: product liability and strict liability. But what is the difference between product liability and strict liability?

Let’s discuss these two terms so that you have an easier time understanding which party is at fault for your product-related injuries.

Defining Product Liability

When a product that you use results in an injury, you will use a product liability lawsuit to hold the manufacturer accountable. Product liability cases require you to prove that the manufacturer’s negligence resulted in your injuries. There are three main ways that your West Palm Beach product liability attorney can do this.

Design Defects

First, you can prove negligence by showing that the product had a design defect. For example, let’s say that your vehicle’s accelerator gas pedal is too close to your brake pedal. One day as you are driving, you slightly miss the brakes. Instead, you press the gas pedal and slam into the car in front of you. This is an instance of a design defect. If your gas and brake pedals were further apart, you would never have injured yourself, nor damaged the car ahead of you.

Manufacturing Defects

Second, you can show negligence by proving that your product had a manufacturing defect. As an example, let’s say that your airbags are defective. As you cross an intersection, another vehicle slams into you but your airbags fail to operate properly. Instead, the airbag explodes and sends metal shards flying toward your face. In this case, a device that was manufactured to protect you made the accident worse. 

Failure to Warn

The final way you can prove negligence is by explaining that a product that injured you failed to warn you about its appropriate use. For instance, imagine that you are in your car driving to work. On the way there, you are rear-ended. During the collision, your car seat suddenly jolts backwards, injuring your head and neck. 

After an investigation, it is determined that your car seat only functions normally in a crash if you weigh less than 200lbs. If the product manufacturer was aware of this problem but failed to notify you, then the manufacturer has product liability.

These three examples would all prove product liability. If you could prove these details, you would be able to bring forward a lawsuit against a product designer, manufacturer, or retailer. But how does product liability differ from strict liability, and why does it matter?

Defining Strict Liability

In some cases, you can prove that another party is liable for an accident without showing negligence. This is defined as strict product liability. Unlike with cases of product liability, strict liability usually occurs whenever you are injured by a product or activity that is inherently dangerous. 

Under these circumstances, you can receive compensation even if a manufacturer warned you about the potential risks of using their product. Likewise, because there is a different burden of proof, you will not need to show that the defendant is at fault.

What is the burden of proof with strict product liability claims?

With these facts in mind, what is the difference between product liability and strict liability regarding burden of proof? Essentially, with product liability claims you must prove that your injuries were a result of a defect, carelessness from another party, or negligence.

With strict liability cases, you must prove that you used your product as intended. Your attorney will also need to show that the product was defective and resulted in your injuries. No negligence or carelessness needs to be proven.

Talk To a Product Liability Attorney Today

Understanding the difference between product liability and strict liability is important. This is especially true if you plan to bring forward a lawsuit due to injuries caused by a specific product. If you would like to speak about your case and receive a consultation, please contact the attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. 

Our experienced lawyers can help you recover damages in either a product liability or strict liability claim, and help you receive compensation for your injuries.