American households buy countless consumer items every year, from clothing, furniture, and toys to electronics, vehicles, and appliances. Many of these products include warranties in their printed materials and specifications, which are essentially assurances about the item’s intended functions and how they work. Consumers take these promises seriously and consider them when making purchasing decisions, so warranties are regulated under federal law. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is an important consumer protection law that sets requirements when a manufacturer decides to include a warranty, though companies do not have to offer them.
When a product carries a warranty, the statute mandates that the language must be easy to understand and unlikely to mislead consumers. It is common for manufacturers to apply an expiration date on warranties, which raises important questions if a victim suffers injuries because of a defective product. A Miami product liability attorney will explain how the laws apply to your circumstances, and some background is informative.
Legal Effect of Product Warranties
A warranty is a promise about a product that tells a consumer what to expect through the use of the item. There are express warranties, which are included in the product’s labeling and make specific promises. The law also recognizes implied warranties, in which there is no specific promise, but it is generally understood that the product will function in a certain way.
Still, both express and implied warranties are statements of the quality of the product. When the warranty has an expiration date, the manufacturer is telling the consumer that the effectiveness may start to falter with continued use. A warranty is not a statement about the safety of the item, so the expiration of the warranty does not absolve a manufacturer from liability if the product injures someone.
Strict Liability for Defective Products
Though the expiration date may not impact your case, most cases involving injuries from product defects do not proceed through a breach of warranty claim. While negligence is the most common theory of liability for personal injury cases, it may also not be suitable in some dangerous product cases.
Instead, victims fare better with their claims against manufacturers when they pursue the theory of strict liability. You do not need to prove fault, as you would with breach of warranty and negligence cases. A victim must have evidence showing that:
- The company produced a product that was defective because of mistakes in manufacturing, design, or labeling;
- The flaw in the product caused bodily harm to the victim; and,
- The victim suffered losses because of being hurt.
Our Miami Product Liability Lawyers Will Pursue All Options
Many people assume an expired warranty affects their rights, but product liability laws in Florida still provide you with remedies if you were hurt because of a defective product. Our team at
Gerson & Schwartz, PA, can explain your rights, so please call (305) 371-6000 or go online to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to meet with you at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.