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Product liability and car sales

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Home » Automobile Dealer Law - Franchise Disputes » Product liability and car sales

Florida automobile dealers must frequently deal with recalls of cars in order to repair or replace defective parts. There are many state and federal laws and regulations at work in these recalls, but they all relate to the legal theory of product liability.

Product liability is the legal theory that allows injured consumers to hold manufacturers, sellers and others liable for their damages after they are injured by defective products. Over the years, certain principles have developed in product liability through state and federal laws and court decisions. One of the most important of these is the principle that products may be defective in design, manufacture or marketing.

In the context of car sales, a marketing defect usually means a failure to warn consumers about a dangerous aspect of the vehicle in question. For example, consumers must be warned about a certain car’s unreasonable risk of skidding on slick roads.

Another principle of product liability law is that liability can attach to almost any party that put a defective product into the stream of commerce. This can include the auto manufacturer, a distributor or a dealer. In some cases, dealers of used cars or even individual sellers of used cars may be held liable.

In practice, plaintiffs will probably file suit against the manufacturer in a products liability case involving a defective car or car part. However, the possibility of being held liable should make every auto dealer concerned. By speaking to an attorney with experience in automobile dealership law, dealers can learn about how to protect their businesses.