Two bills have been introduced in the Florida Legislature which would allow drivers and product manufacturers to share liability in products liability cases. These bills would let juries hear evidence about any role the driver played in causing a Florida car accident, even if the accident was partly caused by a defective automotive product.
Currently, Florida laws place the liability of defective products with manufacturers. Therefore, if under current laws a driver is in a car accident in a car with a defective part, only the manufacturer is held liable – not the driver. This is seen as the risk of doing business in the industry.
The two laws, including Senate Bill 142, have already been approved by Senate. Senate Bill 142 would make changes to Florida Statutes § 768.81. If passed, the bill would require juries in automotive products liability cases to consider the potential liability and fault of all parties – including the driver – before determining the distribution of damages.
Bill HB201 has already been given approval by the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee. This bill will allow evidence of fault to be presented in all automotive products liability cases in Florida where no defective product can be defined. This bill will allow liability to be allotted to all parties found to be partly responsible to the accident.
The bills have caused some debate. Some feel that the bills are fair because they take into consideration driver negligence rather than assigning all fault to manufacturers. However, some attorneys have expressed concerns that if passed the new legislation will deflect attention from poorly made or defective automotive parts by blaming drivers.
If you have been in a Florida car accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free initial consultation. The no obligation consultation with our experienced legal team is a chance to learn about your options and to ask questions about your case. You can schedule a consultation in our Miami, Homestead, or Hollywood offices or we can visit you in your South Florida home, workplace, or hospital.