When someone is injured while using a product, that person is entitled to file a product liability case against the manufacturer of the allegedly dangerous product to seek compensation for their injuries. In most cases, the injured party will not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent; however, an injured party will need to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous.
Florida courts allow product liability plaintiffs to prove dangerousness in one of two ways: the risk-utility test or the consumer-expectations test. A recent Florida appellate court opinion briefly mentions each test and notes how under the current state of the law, a jury may be instructed on the elements of both tests.
Florida’s Risk-Utility Test
One way in which a Florida product liability plaintiff can establish that a product was dangerous is through the risk-utility test. This test asks the jury to consider the risks posed by a product’s design and weigh those risks against the benefits of the design. Courts applying this test look at a number of factors, such as the obviousness of the danger presented by the product and the availability of other reasonable designs that may be less dangerous. Since it can be argued that most products present some risk, this test is less plaintiff-friendly in most circumstances.