In any South Florida personal injury case, one of the judge’s primary roles is to instruct the jury on the applicable law of the case. To help make sure that all Florida judges are providing similar instructions to juries across the state, a set of standard jury instructions has been created. The standard jury instructions provide the jurors with guidance, asking the jurors to answer individual questions that eventually lead to the ultimate conclusion. Once the jurors answer the questions, the judge will announce the decision and render a verdict.
In Florida, there are several types of product liability claims, including manufacturing defect and design defect claims. When a Florida product liability case is brought under a theory of strict liability, Standard Jury Instruction 403.7 applies. Strict liability can be seen as “liability without fault,” meaning that a defendant manufacturer can be found liable without a determination that the manufacturer was negligent. In other words, the mere fact that the product was unreasonably dangerous is sufficient to establish liability.
Instruction 403.7 pertains to both design defect and manufacturing defect claims, and it allows for a manufacturer to be held liable when a product is “unreasonably dangerous.” The instruction defines an “unreasonably dangerous” product as one that “fails to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used as intended or when used in a manner reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer and/or the risk of danger in the design outweighs the benefits.”