Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case that raises interesting issues for Florida product liability plaintiffs who have been injured as a result of an improperly designed or maintained vehicle. The case required the court to determine if a used-car dealer could be held liable for injuries caused by carbon monoxide poisoning that was a result of the car being sold without a muffler. Interestingly, although the plaintiffs purchased the car “as-is,” the court concluded that the dealership may still be liable.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs purchased a used car from the defendant dealership “as-is.” Given that there were 180,000 miles on the vehicle and that the asking price was $1,500, the plaintiffs were aware that some mechanical work was needed. However, they were not told that the vehicle’s muffler was missing.
The plaintiffs noticed a gasoline smell in the vehicle and had the oil changed, but the smell persisted. The mechanic who changed the oil noted several issues with the vehicle, but again, the lack of muffler was not noted. The plaintiffs took their minor son to see an apartment to which they were considering moving. However, the landlord was late, and the plaintiffs were forced to wait in their car for 45 minutes.