You Were Hurt by a Defective Product in Florida – What's Next?

You Were Hurt by a Defective Product in Florida – What’s Next?

You Were Hurt by a Defective Product in Florida – What's Next?

Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers.

When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may be possible to recover damages through a product liability suit. However, proving product liability is an in-depth process, and will require that you take action quickly after the accident, collecting evidence to demonstrate that certain elements were present.

Types of Product Liability Recognized in Florida

Most Florida defective product cases fall under the strict liability theory, otherwise known as a product liability suit. Product liability tends to fall into one of three categories: design defects, failure to warn, and manufacturing defects.

Design defects. If a product’s design is defective, it endangers the user even if it is perfectly manufactured. In order to prove that design defects caused the injury, the claimant must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • It was possible for the manufacturer to use a design that was less dangerous.
  • Using the less-dangerous design would have been technically and economically feasible.
  • The less-dangerous design would not compromise the product’s functionality.

Failure to warn. Under Florida product liability law, a product can also be considered defective if the manufacturer did not provide sufficient instructions or labeling for safe product use. This is referred to as failure to warn.

Manufacturers are required to warn of any potential hazards associated with the product that are not readily apparent. Further, manufacturers must provide instructions for safe use. Failure to provide this information could result in the manufacturer being held liable for resultant injuries.

Types of Product Liability Recognized in Florida

Manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect is a chance occurrence, and it is not present in every individual product. For example, tire tread defects may lead to a tire blow out.

Elements Needed to Prove Liability in Florida

In order to win a product liability suit, you must be able to prove certain elements to establish that the manufacturer is liable for damages.

Injuries occurred. You must able to prove that injuries occurred. Evidence of the personal and financial damages resulting from these injuries is also helpful in seeking damages.

Injuries were due to the product in question. You must be able to demonstrate that your injuries occurred due to the product in question.

The product was defective. You must be able to demonstrate that the product in question was defective, usually due to one of the above specific defects.

What to Do if You Are Injured by a Defective Product in Florida

Product liability suits are fact-based, meaning every element of the case must be thoroughly documented. Therefore, if you are injured by a defective product, it is important to be aware of exactly what evidence you need to collect immediately following the injury.

Save the product as evidence. Product liability hinges on the product itself, which will serve as the most important piece of evidence in your case. Therefore, it is important to save not only the product, but also any packaging, manuals, and safety warnings. If you can provide a receipt or proof of purchase this will also be helpful., along with any accompanying warranty information.

Seek medical attention. To protect your safety, we advise that you seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Further, waiting to seek medical attention can also cast doubt on the severity of your injuries in a product liability suit. Keep all records of emergency room and doctor’s visits such that you can document that you sought medical attention.

Document your injuries. To seek damages, you must be able to document the extent of your injuries. Keep all medical records, including emergency room or office visit summaries, and results of diagnostic tests.

Taking pictures or videos of your injuries may also be helpful. This documents the extent of your injuries, and also how they affect your life. Pictures and videos may also be more relatable than written documentation in medical jargon.

Document what happened. To prove that the defective product caused your injuries, it is important to document the events that led to your injury. As soon as possible, write a time and date-stamped account of the accident (for example, using email or a cloud server), and include as much detail as possible.

If witnesses were present, ask them to provide a written account as well. They may also need to testify in court.

What to Do if You Are Injured by a Defective Product in Florida

Keep medical bills, pay stubs, and tax returns. To demonstrate the financial damages caused by your injuries, save documentation such as medical bills, pay stubs demonstrating lost wages, evidence of sick days used, and tax returns.

Product liability suits are an important means to protect consumers from dangerous defective products. However, winning a product liability suit, requires a significant amount of clear, well-documented evidence supporting your case. This means that if you are injured by a defective product, you should be proactive by collecting the necessary evidence and seeking out legal guidance as soon as possible.



About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

3 Types of Defective Product Cases in Florida

3 Types of Defective Product Cases in Florida

3 Types of Defective Product Cases in Florida

We just got through the season of giving, but that also makes it the season of getting for a lot of people. If you or someone love was injured due to a seeming defect in one of their new toys – literal or figurative – you might be feeling angry. You might be wondering if you have a legal case against someone because of the problems cause by their product.


It depends. Under Florida law, there are three different general ways that a product can be deemed defective. Understanding these three defect categories can both give you a decent sense of whether you have a viable case and let you know what type of case you are likely looking at if you decide to file a claim.


Below, we’re going to detail the three types of product defect categories and explain what protections you have under Florida law.


Defective Design


If the design intended by the manufacturer turns out to present an unreasonable hazard to the consumer, the manufacturer may be held liable for defective design in your case.


Florida courts will determine reasonable hazards based on a test of consumer expectations. If a reasonable consumer would expect the product to be safe under intended use, but the product fails to meet this reasonable expectation, the manufacturer’s liability would be primary.


An example of this would be an improperly designed battery storage component on a toy, which could lead to burns from leaking batteries.


Defective Manufacturing


This type of defect occurs during the manufacturing process itself. That means the product design was safe, but as it was being made, flaws in the manufacturing process created unreasonable danger.


The manufacturer can be held liable for a product that causes injury due to defects that occurred between the design process and the packaging or distribution process.


For example, a foreign object could enter a bottle of pills during the manufacturing process, leading to contamination.


Failure to Warn


If a manufacturer or distributor fails to place adequate and appropriate warnings on the packaging of the product, this is another way that they can be held liable for consumer injuries.


A common example of this would be a drug that does not include complete warnings of possible side effects for overdoses. The product may have been designed and manufactured properly, but the packaging failed to reasonably warn the consumer of the known dangers.


With this kind of product defect case, your attorney will need to prove that the risk of injury would have been lowered or eradicated with a reasonable warning.


How Florida Liability Claims Work


Statute of Limitations. You have a limit of four years to file a product liability lawsuit in Florida. What that means is that you have four years from the date that you discover the problem to file a claim.


However, it is also important to note that there is also a 12-year statute of repose. This means that 12 years after a product is delivered to the first purchaser, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for harm in most cases.


Comparative Negligence. Florida courts use the comparative negligence rule in product liability cases. This means that if you are found partially at fault for your injury, the court will award payment to you based on the percentage of liability.


For example, if a product caused $50,000 in damage to your home, but you were found 50 percent liable, your maximum award would be $25,000 from the at-fault party.


The court will take into account the scientific and technological knowledge of the designer and manufacturer at the time the product was made and consider how that bears on the overall liability.


South Florida Defective Products Lawyers

Get Legal Assistance


Product liability cases tend to be complicated and hard-fought, and they can be difficult to win on your own. Companies are reluctant to admit fault and will pull out all the stops to shut your case down. To give yourself the best chance at success, you need the help of an experienced Florida injury attorney who will fight on your behalf. Call today for a free case review.



About the Author: 


Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.




Can You Sue in Florida after a Tire Blowout Injury?

Can You Sue in Florida after a Tire Blowout Injury?

Can You Sue in Florida after a Tire Blowout Injury?

The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived.


On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along Alligator Alley. The SUV was submerged upside down in 30 feet of water and stuck in four feet of mud. Emergency personnel had to use a winch and cable to pull the vehicle up, but both husband and wife were pronounced dead at the scene.


The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the left rear tire tread separated and that was what led to the crash. Brian Livingston, Kevin’s brother, said the SUV was in excellent condition and that Kevin had recently replaced two of the tires.


It remains to be seen whether a wrongful death claim will be filed by the families in this case. If they choose to file, they would likely try to hold the tire manufacturer responsible for the accident.


How Do Florida Product Liability Cases Work?


A product liability lawsuit can be filed to pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses, personal property replacement, repair costs, loss of past and future income, and other economic losses stemming from the auto accident. The lawsuit can apply to negligence, warranty breaches, or failures of design, formulation, manufacturing, installation, or assembly of a product.


Tire blowout accidents are common on Florida roadways. A blowout of your own tire or another driver’s tire can cause accidents, injuries, and property damage. Liability in a tire blowout case can be more difficult to determine than in other vehicle accidents. Negligence and/or product liability may be involved, which will complicate the case. An experienced Florida injury attorney can help you navigate the filing terms.


If you can prove that the defective tire caused the blowout, you can sue the manufacturer for damages. If you can prove that you were hit by another driver who had a tire blowout, you may be able to sue for both negligence and product liability. Driver negligence will be easier to prove than product liability, which often requires expert testimony.


You must file a product liability lawsuit within the statute of limitations. The standard is four years from the original purchase. However, some exceptions may apply under the discovery rule, which begins from the date when the problem should have been discovered.


Fort Lauderdale Product Liability Lawyers


It is possible to file a claim even if you are partially responsible for the incident. Florida law assigns comparative fault to all parties involved in a product liability case. This means that each party will be held responsible for damages according to percentage of fault, as determined by the court.


For example, a judge could hold a driver 50 percent responsible for the maintenance of the tires, and the tire manufacturer 50 percent responsible for the tire product quality. The driver who filed the claim would then only be able to recoup 50 percent of the total damages from the tire manufacturer.


Where to Start If You Have Been Injured By a Defective Product


If you think you have been injured due to a defective product, don’t hesitate to contact our offices. We’ll look at the details of your situation to determine whether your case has a good chance of obtaining compensation under Florida’s product liability laws. Schedule your free case review today.



About the Author: 


Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.


Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Products

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Products?

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Products

As a consumer, you place a great deal of trust in the products you buy and the companies that produce them. It is not uncommon for a person to find one brand of a particular product and stick with it, essentially forming a relationship with that brand because it has proven itself time and time again. But what happens when the brands or products that we know and love—and trust—let us down?


Recently, Kraft recalled 6.5 million boxes of Mac and Cheese after consumers reported finding shards of metal in the boxes. A few months ago, a woman in Texas reported that she bit into a metal object while eating M&Ms. Unfortunately these are not isolated incidents. Accidents like these do happen from time to time, even from major companies like Kraft and Mars. But should major companies bear all the blame themselves?


If you have suffered in any way as a result of a defective product, you need to know that there are more parties involved than you may think.


Product Defects: Who is to Blame?


Generally, we think of defective products as corporations’ problems. If a consumer finds bits of metal in a box of Mac and Cheese, most people’s minds will jump first to Kraft, the company behind the product. But what about the store where the product was purchased? And what about the distributor that supplied the product to the store? Can these parties—or others—be held accountable? Yes, they can.


In fact, any party that is involved with a product before the product reaches the consumer can be held liable for a defective product. Typically, there are three parties who could be to blame:


  • The manufacturer
  • The wholesaler
  • The distributor


All of these parties can be equally liable in a defective product case. By selling their products, each of the above parties either explicitly or implicitly ensures the consumer that the product is safe and ready for use. If any supposedly safe product results in your harm or bodily injury, each or all of these three parties has essentially let down their end of the deal.


Receiving Compensation


South Florida Product Liability Attorney

A defective product claim may fall under one of three categories:


  1. Strict product liability, where a plaintiff does not need to prove direct negligence on the part of the manufacturer or seller but must only show that a certain product was defective
  2. Negligence, where the consumer must prove that he or she sustained harm as a result of a product failing to operate as it was supposed to
  3. Breach of warranty, where a consumer can show that a certain product performed in a way that went against its stated or implied warranty


Each of these categories comes with a number of nuances and details, all of which a knowledgeable attorney will be able to discuss with you in detail.


In a product liability case, it’s important to remember that your case is not about choosing one party to deem responsible and bear the brunt of the blame and all the associated consequences. On the contrary, it is simply about holding responsible parties accountable. To ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve and to ensure that the responsible parties improve their practices for the future, it is imperative that you take action.


If you have experienced a defective product that has caused you harm in any way, you deserve justice. Contact the lawyers at The South Florida Injury Law Firm today to start fighting for the compensation that you deserve.


Keurig Coffee Maker Product Liability Lawyer

Burned by Keurig? You’re Not the Only One

Keurig Coffee Maker Product Liability Lawyer
As many of us have learned from stepping on a child’s seemingly innocent Lego—sometimes, it’s life’s most wonderful pleasures that bring the most agonizing pain.


Sadly, hundreds of individuals were brought to this conclusion yet again after being burned by their Keurig machines while waiting for their coffee to brew. As NBC recently reported, Keurig is currently recalling almost 7 million coffee makers that were produced between 2009 and 2014. The company stated that it had received about 200 reports from users stating that scalding hot water inexplicably sprayed from their machines. Ninety of these incidents resulted in burn-related injuries.


Product Defects


This is a huge recall for Keurig, the coffee brewing company that has become a household name for many Americans. But large-scale recalls like this are far from unheard of, even for major corporations.


In 1982, Tylenol recalled approximately 31 million bottles after 13 people died after taking the iconic pills (an event that eerily predicts our current problem with prescription drug defects). In 2007, 1 million Easy Bake Ovens were recalled after Hasbro received several complaints about young children being burned on the toy. And just last year, car manufacturer GM recalled approximately 26 million cars with faulty ignition switches that had led to 31 auto accidents.


Is any company—or product—safe from recalls? Unfortunately, probably not. There are simply too many things that can go wrong in the assembly process that can result in products being defective in any number of ways.


Boca Raton Product Recall Attorney

Product recalls are generally a result of one of three types of defects:


  1. Design flaws. Design flaws are generally those that permeate all products in a certain line, because the problem is inherent in the very blueprint of the product. Design flaws are present in products even if they were manufactured perfectly.
  2. Manufacturing flaws. Manufacturing flaws are those that occur as a result of a manufacturing error – a mistake made during the physical process of building the product. These defects are usually only present in one type of product—that is, one particular product that had to undergo a specialized manufacturing process—and do not apply to an entire product line.
  3. Failure to provide adequate warning. This is the most easily avoidable type of defect. So-called “failure to warn” defects are those that fail to provide adequate notice about the proper way to use a certain product. These defects are particularly dangerous on products that can be seriously damaging to the user if used improperly, such as power tools or large appliances.


Because any of the above product defects can result in harm to you or your family, and because manufacturers have a duty to create products that won’t cause harm when being used properly, it is vital that you hold them responsible.


What Can You Do?


Unfortunately, product defects can sometimes result in serious personal injury. From minor bruises as a result of an improperly assembled chair to severe physical injuries and even death that can occur due to an improperly manufactured brake pedal.


Even if you find yourself going up against a large corporation, don’t be afraid to stand firm and defend yourself. Companies have a responsibility to consumers to keep them safe, and if any company fails to do so, you need to fight back both to keep something like this from happening to another person and to get the compensation you need to adequately cover your pain, suffering, and expenses. Contact the law offices of The South Florida Injury Law Firm today and get the justice you deserve.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.


Boca Raton Product Liability Lawyer

Defective Gifts May Cause More Than a Return Hassle

Boca Raton Product Liability Lawyer

The holiday season is over. We’ve all eaten too much horrible, delicious food, entertained relatives well past their expiration date, listened to Michael Bublé for the first time in a year, and (hopefully) found the perfect gifts for everyone on our list. Lights, trees, menorahs, and other artifacts of the season are soon to come down, if they haven’t already, and most of us are ready to move on.


But not quite yet. We’re still trying on new clothes and playing with toys made for kids of all ages, and many of us may even be planning a trip to the store to return or exchange something (remember to bring your photo ID, because this year retailers are really trying to crack down on return fraud).


And then there are those for whom the hassle of remembering to bring a license would be a luxury. They received something that ended up being defective. If they’re lucky, that just meant that it was broken in some way and didn’t do what they wanted. But if they’re unlucky, it’s quite possible that the defect in the product may have caused harm to them or someone they love. In extreme cases, people have even been killed by product defects.


What do you do if this has happened to you? Get in touch with a defective products attorney as soon as possible and document everything as thoroughly as possible. These kinds of cases can be complicated and contentious, so the more evidence you have and the earlier you can start building a case, the better off you are.


How Do You Know If a Product Is Defective?


Boca Defective Product Attorney

Dealing with a defective product can be scary, dangerous, and difficult, but there are ways that you can protect yourself and stay out of this situation. The first and easiest is to head to and look to see if a product you have is on the list and why. But because a product doesn’t have to be recalled to be dangerous, and because companies sometimes fight back even after a recall is made, it can also be smart to do a Google search for problems with your specific item. You might be shocked to discover that several people have complained or written reviews about something that seems like a serious problem for a product that’s still readily available – this kind of thing happens all the time.


So, what should you look for if you’re worried about a particular product but there’s nothing out there – yet – that speaks to a specific problem with it? Since we’re talking about things received around the holidays, let’s take a look at toys specifically. Many toys will have labels warning you about potential problems, but often these are incomplete because the manufacturers simply don’t account for all of the creative ways that kids can hurt themselves.


Loose parts. If a toy easily comes apart – even if the effect is intentional – be wary. Small parts can be choking hazards, and large parts may end up causing cuts.


Zippered animals. Some stuffed animals come with zippers that allow access to the “stuffing” part of the toy. Presumably, this is so parents can easily refill the animal if the need arises, but it also provides easy access to young fingers, and if your little one gets the stuffing out, it’s going one of two places – on the floor, or in their mouth. If the latter occurs, it’s a choking hazard.


Cords. Lots of toys have strings or cords, and in theory they’ve been designed with strict safety standards mind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t accidentally strangle your child. Keep close watch.


Balloons. Why are balloons dangerous? You guessed it – because kids can choke on them. This is actually an incredibly problematic item, because even older kids can choke to death if a latex balloon gets caught in their throat.


Chemicals. Who puts chemicals in kids’ toys? Lots of manufacturers. Most people know to watch out for lead paint, but toxic chemicals have also been found in things like chalk, toy jewelry, and more.


West Palm Beach Product Liability Attorney

Electronics. All electronic toys are potentially dangerous because you likely won’t be able to tell if there is a manufacturing or design defect until it is too late and they suffer a burn or the device shocks them.


Anything small. Young children put things in their mouths. It’s a universal truth. So if they receive any gift with small parts that might lodge in their throats – especially parts that look enticing in some way – either keep them away or only let them use the toy in your presence.


Of course, it’s not possible to know about many defects in advance, and the vast majority of products out there are completely safe. The best thing that you can do is to keep an eye on toys – especially new ones – when your child is playing with them, and simply know your son or daughter. If they act oddly every time they interact with a specific toy, something is probably going on and you should talk to a skilled attorney.



Defective Product Lawyer Boca Raton

How Do You Know If You Have a Defective Product?

Defective Product Lawyer Boca Raton

Ideally, all consumer products that go to market have been thoroughly tested to prevent them from unexpectedly harming anyone. But occasionally something slips through the cracks; maybe the marketing team fails to include adequate instructions for the product’s use on its packaging, or a manufacturer just doesn’t realize that a small part on a child’s toy could come loose and become a choking hazard. But since product defects aren’t always obvious, how do consumers know if they have a defective product on their hands?


One of the most straightforward ways to find out if you have a defective product is to pay attention to product recalls. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not always do a very good job of broadcasting their recalls, so consumers need to take a proactive approach to discovering if they have any defective products. Concerned consumers should frequently go to to search for recalled products by category or keyword.


But what if you don’t hear about a recall—or a company fails to issue a recall before you are harmed by one of their products? In that type of situation, how do you know whether you have a strong case against the company?


Proving Liability for a Defective Product


Proving Liability for a Defective Product

Fortunately, the people and companies who create and sell consumer goods are typically held to strict liability in defective product cases. This means that a plaintiff only has to prove that a consumer product is unreasonably dangerous in order to hold the manufacturer, designer, or marketer accountable. There are three main ways that a product may be found defective:


Product defects. Product defects affect an individual product rather than an entire line and typically occur at the manufacturing stage. For example, if a kitchen chair manufacturer failed to add several screws to one of their chairs and it collapsed when the person who purchased it sat down, that person could file a claim to recover compensation for their injuries.


Design defects. This type of defect affects an entire line of products, not just a single item. A relatively recent example of this is the defective ignition switch in certain GM vehicles that would unexpectedly turn off the vehicle’s power if a driver went over a bump or jostled their keys with their legs.


Marketing defects. There may not be a design or manufacturing issue with a product, but it can still be defective if it did not come with sufficient instructions and warnings for usage and a consumer suffered an injury as a result. For example, if a brand of sleeping pills did not come with dosage instructions, the company that produced and marketed the prescription drug could be found liable in the event of an overdose.


Res Ipsa Loquitor Cases


In some cases, a product defect is so obvious that a plaintiff would not even need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. Under the principal of res ipsa loquitor, which is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself,” the plaintiff must simply show that the product is defective and that he or she was injured by the product, and the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. Then, the defendant must prove that they were not negligent, rather than the plaintiff having to prove that the defendant was negligent. However, plaintiffs need to be careful about using this strategy, as the defendant may try to argue that if the defect was obvious, the plaintiff must have known of the danger and used it anyway.


If you are an accident victim and are unsure whether your injury was truly caused by a defective product, or are wondering how to show the court that a product is defective, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of The South Florida Injury Law Firm.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.


5 of the Biggest Toy Recalls in the US

5 of the Biggest Toy Recalls in the US

5 of the Biggest Toy Recalls in the US

As a parent, you have to be careful what kind of toys you buy for your children. Small parts are out if your child is of an age where they want to stick everything in their mouth, and sharp edges are always a bad idea. In general, you need to be sure the toys you buy are age-appropriate for your child, and you probably determine that in part by the toy labels that tell you exactly what age range each toy is designed for.


But what happens when those toys aren’t as age-appropriate or safe as they claim to be? Unfortunately, toy recalls are all too common, and children’s products accounted for 42% of all recalls between 2006 and 2011. Here’s a look at 5 of the biggest toy recalls from the last few years, and what you should do if one of your child’s toys undergoes a similar recall.


Mattel Magnetic and Lead-Contaminated Toys. Lead is banned in US toys because of the associated health risks, but in 2007 toy giant Mattel was forced to recall 436,000 toys depicting characters from the movie “Cars” because the Chinese-manufactured products were covered in lead paint. At the same time, Mattel issued another recall for 18.2 million magnetized toys because they realized that the magnets posed a choking hazard for young children.Mattel vowed to monitor their Chinese contractors and subcontractors more closely in the wake of these huge recalls.


Aqua-Leisure Inflatable Baby Boats. As the name suggests, this product was designed to allow infants and toddlers to float in the pool. However, the straps that held the baby’s legs in place had a tendency to tear, allowing the young child to fall through. Although it eventually came to light that Aqua-Leisure knew about the problem since at least 2003, the company did not recall the product until 2009—after there had been at least 30 drowning deaths.


Aqua Dots. Aqua Dots were a popular type of arts and crafts bead in 2007, until the Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered that the beads were coated in a chemical that, when swallowed, would metabolize into gamma hydroxy-buturate (better known as the date rape drug). Children who ingested the beads experienced symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and in extreme cases even went into a comatose state, and Aqua Dots’ manufacturer was forced to recall the product.


Lawn Darts. As you can probably imagine, a toy with extremely sharp, weighted points that children could throw around the yard was never a good idea, yet lawn darts became a popular product in the 1980s. Lawn darts caused the death of at least 3 children, and they were actually banned in the US once in the ‘80s, but the manufacturer challenged the ban and was able to continue selling the product as long as they were only marketed to adults. A father who lost his daughter in a lawn dart accident eventually convinced the CPSC to ban lawn darts outright and pull them from store shelves.


Product Recall - Lawn Darts

Cabbage Patch Snacktime Dolls. Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but one type of doll that was designed to “eat” small snacks using a motor turned out to be seriously dangerous. The problem was that the motor was triggered not just by snacks, but by children’s hair and fingers, and there was no power switch to stop the doll from causing injury. Mattel announced a voluntary recall on the dolls in 1997.


Make Sure Your Child Isn’t Playing with Recalled Toys


Make Sure Your Child Isn’t Playing with Recalled Toys

Wondering if any of your child’s seemingly innocuous toys pose a potential danger? Unfortunately, product recalls aren’t always as widely promoted as they should be, so you may have to be proactive to determine if any of your child’s toys have been recalled. You can search for the product by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission website or by using the Toy Recall Finder on If you discover that a toy has been recalled, get rid of it or return it to the company as soon as possible.


If your child is injured by a product that has either been recalled or should be recalled, seek medical attention and contact a personal injury attorney. Although it can be hard to think about taking legal action after your child has been harmed, filing a lawsuit against a negligent manufacturer may be the most effective way to ensure that your family receives compensation—and that the product is pulled from shelves before it can harm anyone else.



Widespread Food Distribution Makes Contamination

Widespread Food Distribution Makes Contamination a Huge Issue

Widespread Food Distribution Makes Contamination

The globalization of food production and distribution has made it so that American consumers can go to their local grocery store and find items from every corner of the world. While many appreciate the diversity and convenience, our food distribution system also makes it easier for more people to get sick—if one batch of bad food is shipped out all around the country, consumers from the east to the west coast may suffer the serious effects of foodborne illnesses, and it becomes difficult for the distributor to recall all the bad units before they do damage. Regardless, it’s the manufacturer’s duty to do everything in their power to stop consumers from purchasing and eating contaminated food, no matter how widespread its distribution.


We’ve seen several major food recalls in the last few weeks alone. Lansal Inc. was recently forced to recall seven tons of their hummus products, which are marketed under the Trader Joe’s and Archer Farms labels, due to fear of Listeria contamination. Listeria is an organism that can cause high fever, headaches, nausea, and muscle aches. There have been fatal cases of Listeria infections, mostly in children and adults over 65.


Just before Memorial Day, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a recall in nine states (including Florida) for beef that may have been contaminated with E. coli. E. coli causes severe gastrointestinal distress and has symptoms that typically last for three or four days, but the bacteria can be fatal for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune system. The USDA named Gordon Food Service Marketplace and Giorgio’s Italian Delicatessen as two chains in Florida that may have received beef tainted with E. coli, and consumers who bought beef with a production date between March 31st and April 18th are urged to throw the meat out or return it for a refund.


Food Contamination Can Turn into an Epidemic


Food Contamination Can Turn into an Epidemic

So far, there have been no reported Listeria infections, as a result, of Lansal Inc.’s hummus—the company voluntarily recalled their product after routine testing turned up traces of Listeria–but eleven people in four different states are suspected to have become ill due to the recalled beef, and the USDA recently expanded their recall to include nearly 2 billion pounds of ground beef. Although it’s unfortunate that even eleven people have become sick, it’s a relatively small scale outbreak compared to some of the major food contamination issues of the last several years.


According to the CDC, roughly 1 in 6 Americans fall ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die, as a result, of foodborne diseases every year. One large recall of a popular food product or ingredient can leave hundreds of people sick, and dozens hospitalized.


The largest food recall in the US occurred in 2008, when the Peanut Corporation of America (CPA) issued a warning about millions of dollars’ worth of peanuts and peanut products that were believed to be contaminated with E. coli. The warning, unfortunately, came too late for the more than 700 people across the country who became ill and at least nine people who died after eating the contaminated products.


Massive foodborne illness outbreaks like this should be a wake-up call to those working in the food processing and manufacturing industry. Consumers generally trust that the food available to them at grocery stores and restaurants has been thoroughly inspected to ensure its quality, and not only is food contamination a breach of trust, it’s dangerous to a wide swath of people nationwide.


Food manufacturers should perform standard tests for bacteria and other health-hazards as soon as food arrives at their facility and again when it has been through production. If there is a contaminant, this will help food manufacturers determine whether it’s coming from their own facility or the supplier. Food manufacturers and distributors also need to keep detailed records of both suppliers and recipients so that they can warn consumers of any contaminated products as soon as possible. The industry needs to take all reasonable actions to keep consumers safe, or they risk being liable for releasing a defective product.


What Consumers Can Do to Stay Safe


What Consumers Can Do to Stay Safe From Food Contraminatio

While it is the responsibility of the food supplier, manufacturer, and distributor to ensure that their product is safe to eat, there are precautions that consumers can take to prevent falling ill when a foodborne disease goes through the supply chain unnoticed.


Check sell-by dates. Some grocery stores will sell food products up to or even after the sell-by date, often putting the sooner-to-expire items at the front of the shelf with the offer of a discount. This can be especially dangerous when it comes to bagged greens, which provide a better environment for E. coli to grow the older they are.


Don’t leave perishables in your cart for too long. If you’re doing a big weekly grocery shopping trip, load up the non-perishable items first and grab perishable items like meat, produce, and dairy last. If you have a long drive home from the grocery store, consider bringing a cooler to stick the perishable items in.


Wash hands while preparing food. You should always wash your hands with soap and warm water before you start preparing food and after handling raw meat or any other animal products. You should also use hot water and soap to wash any cutting boards, kitchen surfaces, or utensils that you used when preparing your food.


Invest in a meat thermometer. If you don’t already own a meat thermometer, it’s well worth purchasing. In order to ensure that you’ve killed any bacteria, check to see that your meat is cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.


If you do suspect that you’ve become sick, as a result, of something you ate, see a doctor as soon as possible. One reason foodborne illnesses are able to become so widespread is because the first few people who become sick do not always recognize that their symptoms are related to contaminated food.


If you or a loved one becomes seriously ill or even have to be hospitalized because of a contaminated food product, you should focus on recovering first, and then contact an injury attorney who has experience with defective product cases. Food manufacturers need to be held to a high standard of safety, and you need to hold them responsible if they caused you to suffer.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.