Consumer Recalls – Product Liability
When someone is injured due to a product that is faulty or dangerous, this is known as a Product Liability lawsuit. These lawsuits stem from poorly manufactured, unsafe, unlabeled or mislabeled products – like a gas grill that leaks and catches fire; a faulty tire that explodes on the highway; a helmet that pops off because the strap was faulty – you get the idea.
How would you know if a product you are using is faulty? Well, it’s wise to pay attention to recalls.
Are you aware of an organization called the US Consumer Product Safety Commission? The CPSC collects, retains and shares information on injuries and recalls regarding consumer products sold in America. Not a bad website to check out periodically, and save to your bookmarks: www.cpsc.gov
Each year in the U.S., thousands of consumer products are recalled because some aspect of them is unsafe. You hear about toys with parts children can choke on, or car seats that fail to protect the child. These dangerous products don’t just cause injury, they sometimes cause a tragic death. In a Product Liability lawsuit, the manufacturer and retailer can be held responsible for the pain and injuries (or loss of life) caused by the product. In many cases, manufacturers are aware of the defect yet allow the product to be sold. If someone is killed, this also becomes a Wrongful Death lawsuit.
If you own an appliance, a toy, any item that gets recalled– note that this does not mean you will definitely get your money back. Recall announcements state the details of the recall provide instructions on reimbursement if it is being offered. Anyone who discovers that any product is faulty or dangerous can report it to the CPSC. They receive 10,000 reports from the public each year, on average!
You may be surprised to know that products are not tested by the government before they hit the market. Product designers and manufacturers are responsible for safety testing. We ‘trust’ them to create safe products and use safe parts. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that some companies do not even test their products. This means that oftentimes, a product having something about it that is unsafe is not discovered until an injury has happened. Note that product liability applies to foods and medicines as well.
Remember, you only receive a Recall Notice in the mail if you registered the product/sent in your warranty. Most of us don’t take the time to do these steps when we buy something, but we should. Recall announcements also appear in newspapers and on several websites including cpsc.gov
Often it is pressure from complaints and public outcry that lead to a manufacturer recalling a product or ceasing production. When defective products injure a number of people, this case becomes a ‘class action lawsuit’. If you or a loved one is every injured by any product, please contact our personal injury law firm to determine if you have a product liability case.
Some good advice: When you purchase items, read labels and instructions carefully. Before purchasing appliances, cars, grills – big ticket items – look online for product reviews or warnings.