A product recall occurs when the majority of a product becomes unsafe to use. Either a government agency or the manufacturer of a product alerts the public in order to recommend that they take a particular action, in order to ensure their safety while using the product. The Consumer Product Safety Act specifically is what protects consumers from exposure to products that create an unreasonable risk of injury to the user.
Product recalls serve as a way for manufacturers or companies to remove the product and offer a remedy for the injured party. Government agencies ensure that products with defective design are immediately recalled in order to warn the customers of their defects. The following government agencies have the authority to require a product recall:
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission;
- The Food and Drug Administration; ,
- The Food Safety and Inspection Services;
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
- The Coast Guard; and
- The Environmental Protection Agency.
The rules that govern product recalls differ among the government agencies. As such, it is useful to research their website in order to determine their guidelines required for recalls.
Once a product has been recalled, the manufacturer must take specific actions. Some examples of such actions include, but may not be limited to:
- Contacting their regulators;
- Notifying their insurers; and
- Seeking legal counseling in order to evaluate the company’s liability exposure and financial stability.
An example of this would be drafting a plan for paying a certain amount of money in settlements to those injured by the products. Such a plan would serve a better purpose if it were created prior to recalling a certain defective product from the market. This allows for adequately warning the consumers, and limits the exposure to greater liability for the manufacturer.
There are legal consequences for recalling a defective product. An example of this would be how a recall can open doors to class action lawsuits. Additionally, a simple recall for the defective product may not be sufficient for the government agency who is overseeing the process.
When Would Baby Clothes Be Recalled?
Baby clothes recalls occur when a clothing product is considered to be dangerous for consumers to use, so the manufacturer discontinues production of the product in response. Distributors and retailers generally remove the products from their sales shelves.
Infants can be injured by products that are subject to a recall. Alternatively, a recall may be triggered when many infants are injured by the same health and safety risk. Some common types of health and safety risks associated with baby clothes recalls include, but may not be limited to:
- Choking hazards, mostly caused by items detaching from the clothes and posing a risk of ingestion;
- Clothes that are constructed of materials that fail qualifications for flammable items;
- Sharp parts on the clothes that could cause lacerations or other injuries; and
- Clothes that contain toxic chemicals.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Injuries Caused By Baby Clothes?
In terms of defective products in general, any consumer who has been injured by a defective product can recover for their injuries. Any of the following parties could be held liable for the product defect:
- The product’s manufacturer;
- A manufacturer of the component parts;
- A party that assembles or installs the product;
- The wholesaler; and/or
- The retail store that sold the product to the consumer.
In order to determine which parties should be held responsible, you will need to determine the specific type of defect the product has. Once that has been established, you can determine which party is responsible based on the actors involved in the process.
It is important to note that in order for the doctrine of strict liability to apply, the product must be sold in the regular course of business hours. Because of this, any purchases made at a garage sale or other similar circumstances are excluded.
In many instances of a baby clothes recall, the manufacturer of the clothes can be held liable for injuries caused by their products. Common defects associated with baby clothes include:
- Warning Label Defects: These defects are related to a lack of warning labels, or when the warning label contains false or vague information regarding the dangers of the product. Another example of a warning label defect would be when the label is attached to the product in such a way that it is impractical or impossible to read;
- Manufacturing Defects: Manufacturing defects are caused by an error in production or manufacturing. When a manufacturing defect occurs, there is nothing wrong with the product design; rather, an error that is made while the product is being manufactured is what results in the product having dangerous effects, leading to consumer injuries. An example of a manufacturing defect would be to attach the product’s parts incorrectly; and
- Design Defects: Design defects involve an error in the way the product was designed. Because the defect is a flaw in how the product is designed, the defect generally affects the entire product line, rather than just one specific item. An example of this would be structurally unstable products, such as a table that is designed for all four legs to be at different lengths.
Alternatively, a retailer may be held liable if they continue to sell baby clothes that they knew or should have known were already subject to a recall.
What Are The Legal Remedies For An Injury Caused By Baby Clothes?
Similar to other personal injury cases, lawsuits related to injuries caused by baby clothes are generally remedied with monetary damages. This is intended to compensate the injured person for their losses, and can cover expenses such as:
- Medical costs;
- Hospital and medication bills;
- Permanent disfigurement; and
- Pain and suffering.
Many lawsuits associated with a baby clothes recall are filed as a class action suit. This is especially true when many people have been injured by the same product. Everyone involved is required to share similar legal issues, and there must be enough individuals involved that it would not make sense for each victim to bring separate lawsuits.
In order to receive compensatory damages, the plaintiff will need to prove several aspects of their claim. Generally speaking, they will be required to prove that a loss occurred, and that it was caused by the other party. Another way of saying this is that they must show that the defendant’s conduct is what caused the loss or injury. This loss will usually be caused by some sort of negligence on the part of the defendant. An example of this would be if the defendant’s negligent driving caused an accident that injured the plaintiff.
Proving a claim such as injuries caused by baby clothing will require various forms of evidence to support your case. Some common examples of such evidence include, but may not be limited to:
- Witness statements;
- Photos or video associated with the accident or incident;
- Documentation such as medical bills or police records;
- Physical evidence, such as broken glass, dents, or other damage; and
- Any item or evidence that can help the court to calculate a monetary amount for your damages.
Do I Need an Attorney For a Baby Clothes Recall?
If your child has been injured due to a defective product, or your child’s clothes have been recalled, you should consult with an experienced and local consumer lawyer. An attorney will be best suited to helping you understand your state’s laws and restrictions regarding product recalls, and can determine whether there are any existing class action lawsuits you can join. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.