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Florida House Passes Automaker Immunity Bill

Posted on February 15, 2011

The Ford Motor Company has some friends among Florida lawmakers. House Bill 201 was recently approved by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and it essentially lets Ford off the hook for millions in liability costs associated with auto accident injuries, reports WCTV. The measure is intended to reverse a 2001 Florida Supreme Court opinion that found a driver’s actions leading up to a car crash were irrelevant when it came time to decide the damages portion of his case. The bill encourages jurors to hear evidence whether the driver should be considered at-fault for causing his own injuries instead of a defective automobile in a product liability lawsuit. The bill has the backing of business groups who want to share the blame with the driver and reduce the costs of expensive defective product litigation.

Some lawmakers expressed concern that the issue of a defective product that explodes on impact could be clouded if information is introduced that the driver was also drunk, for example. Expect the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the auto industry and Ford to encourage putting the burden back on the accident victim. The bill now goes onto the House Judiciary Committee and there is a similar version in the Senate.

Product Liability Law
There are three types of defects that can be the basis of a product liability lawsuit. A product, such as an automobile, can be considered defective if someone is injured due to a defect introduced during the manufacturing process. A design defect can be responsible for injuries and the inherent problem will then be seen in a number of products. Lastly, there is a failure to warn of a potential danger through a complete label or by failing to disclose information that fully informs consumers of the danger.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death because of a defective product, the Florida product liability attorneys at Farah & Farah will be glad to sit down and discuss your potential product liability case.