There were two bills pending before the state's legislature which allow juries to hear evidence that the driver's negligence contributed to the accident in product liability cases involving automobiles. This would allow juries in Florida to consider all parties fault when determining damages in these legal proceedings.
Typical product liability defects are due to manufacture , design or failure to warn defects. Under the current law, the responsibility of a defective product rests completely with the manufacturer of that product. Both bills, in the House and in the Senate, however, would significantly impact those who have suffered damages as a result of product defects in auto products by assigning partial cause to an individual.
It is apparent that these bills are attempting to limit the amount of the financial awards in legal claims against auto and auto parts manufacturers by allowing jurors to allocate financial responsibility on drivers or any other person that contributed to the accident and resulting damages.
These bills arose after the Florida Supreme Court prevented jurors from hearing whether a driver was drunk and speeding, and therefore at partially at fault in contributing to the accident. In this case, the Court ruled that evidence regarding the fault of the manufacturer would be permitted, but excluded other evidence regarding the cause of the crash.