As consumers, we rely on the laws to protect us from injuring ourselves every time we try out a new product or use an existing one. A product recall occurs when the majority of the product becomes unsafe to use.
A government agency or the manufacturer alters the public recommending the people to take a particular action to ensure their safety while using the product. The Consumer Product Safety Act protects the consumers from exposure to products that create an unreasonable risk of injury to the user.
How Does the Government Play a Role in the Product Recalls?
Product recalls provide a means for manufacturers of companies to remove the product causing the problem or injury and offer a remedy for the injured party. The government plays a significant role in administering this process and mandates some product recalls. Government agencies ensure that the products with defective design are immediately recalled to warn the customers of their defects. Therefore, it is crucial to check the government websites frequently to make sure any product you purchased is not on the recall list.
The following government agencies can 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 regarding product recalls differ among the government agencies. Therefore, it is useful to research and look through their website to determine the guidelines required for recalls. It’s important as a smart consumer to always check if the product has been recalled before purchasing it.
What Happens After a Product is Recalled?
After a product recall, the manufacturers need to take certain actions such as contacting their regulators, notifying their insurers, and seeking legal counseling to evaluate the company’s liability exposure and financial stability.
For example, it may be a good idea to draft a plan for paying a certain amount of money in settlements to those injured by the products. The plan would serve a better purpose if done before recalling a certain defective product from the market. This allows a way to adequately warn the consumers and limit exposure to greater liability.
There are legal consequences for recalling the defective product. For example, it can open doors to class action lawsuits after an issuance of a product recall. Additionally, a simple recall for the defective product may not be sufficient for the government agency.
The type of product defect determines the damages recoverable from the responsible party. There are three different types of product defects: a design defect, a manufacturing defect and an advertising defect.
How Do The Different Types of Product Defects Operate?
A design defect happens before the product is made; this makes the product dangerous to use. For example, for a toddler’s toy there can be choking hazards and it can become unsafe for the child to use.
Another defect is a manufacturing defect which occurs during the production process. For example, a baby’s crib could be missing a key component, and this occurred while the product was being manufactured. Therefore, if the crib breaks while the parent uses it, the baby can sustain serious injury due to this malfunction and the product manufacturer would be liable for the injuries caused to the baby.
Lastly, a marketing defect is when the product may be unsafe to use based on the advertising materials. An example of this would be improper labeling or failure to provide adequate warning for the consumer using the product.
How Do I Determine Which Party Is Responsible for the Defective Product?
Any consumer injured by a defective product can recover for their injuries. Any of the following actors could be held liable for the product defect:
- The product manufacturer;
- A manufacturer of the component parts;
- A party that assembles or installs the product;
- The wholesaler and;
- The retail store that sold the product to the consumer.
In order to find the responsible party, you need to determine the type of defect the product has. From there you can determine which party is responsible based on the actors involved in the process. It may be challenging to determine the responsible party due to the type of product defect.
For the doctrine of strict liability to apply, the product must be sold in the regular course of business hours. Therefore, this excludes any purchases made in a garage sale or other similar circumstances.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
If you have injuries resulting from a defective product or from a product that has been recalled, it may be useful to seek out legal advice from a consumer lawyer or a product liability lawyer about recovering for those injuries. Your attorney can advise you on how to proceed with a case against the company or the manufacturer.