Product recalls are requests made by a product’s manufacturer to have that product pulled from sales shelves and returned. In return, the manufacturer will generally issue a refund, or a similar product in exchange. Recalls are most commonly issued when a product’s manufacturer believes that the product poses some health or safety risk to the average consumer.
By issuing a product recall, the manufacturer is attempting to avoid violations of public safety laws, while also decreasing the potential of being held legally liable for products liability injuries.
A products liability claim involves the manufacturer or seller of a product being held accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. Any party that is found to be responsible for any part of the manufacture of the product can be held liable, just as any seller may also be held liable. Product liability will be further discussed later on.
Why Are Strollers Recalled?
Strollers are used to transport infants, babies, and sometimes small children. They come in many different sizes and models in order to suit different needs, and may be able to fit more than one child at once.
As with any children or baby products, strollers can pose certain health and safety risks to the infant or child being pushed in the stroller. Some examples of the most common injuries and accidents associated with strollers include, but may not be limited to:
- Stroller tip overs;
- Stroller falls, specifically falling from the stroller;
- Injuries resulting from broken or collapsed parts; and/or
- Injuries due to sharp or pointed edges.
A stroller recall is a specific request from a manufacturer to have its product removed from stores, and returned to the manufacturer. The manufacturer may also request that consumers of the product return it for a refund or product exchange. An example of this would be how in late 2014, Graco recalled 5 million strollers after a baby’s finger was amputated while riding in the stroller.
As previously mentioned, products are generally recalled when they are considered to be defective for some reason. There are three different types of defects that could result in liability to one or all of the parties involved in the manufacturing of the stroller:
- Defective Design: Design defects are just as they sound; they are defects contained within the design of the product. What this means is that regardless of how well the stroller is manufactured, or how thoroughly the customer is warned about the product, the product’s design is inherently flawed and could result in liability. An example of this would be if a stroller is designed with a defect that does not allow the stroller to carry a specific weight, which makes it more prone to fall accidents;
- Warning Defect: This may also be referred to as defective warnings. Warning defects involve the manufacturer failing to provide adequate warning regarding any of the risks associated with the stroller. These are risks that are unavoidable given the nature of the product. An example of this would be the risk of getting a finger pinched by two parts of a collapsible stroller, while the stroller is collapsing. A warning label may also be considered defective when it is too small to read, misleading, and/or hard to understand; and
- Manufacturing Defect: This refers to the way in which the stroller is assembled. The stroller is put together in such a way that the resulting product is unsafe in some way. This error in how the stroller is assembled causes the product to become too dangerous for consumer use. An example of this would be if a screw was omitted from the manufacturing process, which caused the stroller to be subject to collapsing.
Is a Product Recall The Same Thing As A Defective Product?
Although product recalls and defective products are closely related to one another, they are not the same thing. A product recall is what prohibits the sale of a product, because the product has some sort of safety hazard which could result in the injury of the product’s user. The process of recalling a product will also include recalling all items, including the ones that have not yet broken or injured anyone.
Another notable difference would be that while product recalls are generally initiated by the company, there are rare instances in which the government can demand a recall. However, it is much more common for companies to voluntarily recall their own product in order to minimize liability, as well as generate goodwill in association with their brand image.
Alternatively, a defective product is a specific, physical product that does not function as intended by the manufacturer. A defective product may not always be recalled by the manufacturer; the manufacturer may provide customers with a quick fix in order to make the product work properly. This would be in lieu of a monetary refund. A defective product can also be a one-time instance due to a unique defect in the item.
What Are The Legal Remedies For Stroller Injuries?
Cases associated with stroller injuries are generally remedied in much the same way as other personal injury claims. A monetary damages award will be granted, with the intent that the award will cover any losses experienced by the injured party.
Special damages generally include quantifiable damages that can be calculated, such as:
- Medical expenses;
- Property damage; and/or
- Loss of wages or earnings.
General damages may be awarded for losses that cannot easily be determined through monetary calculations. Some examples of general damages can include losses connected with:
It is important to note that state laws generally vary regarding compensatory damages. Some states may place limits on compensatory damages, especially general damages.
The government holds baby products including strollers to a higher standard of care. What this means is that companies that knowingly leave a dangerous product on the market can face serious repercussions, such as punitive damages.
In order to be awarded compensatory damages, the plaintiff will need to prove several aspects of their claim. Generally speaking, they will be required to prove that a loss has occurred, and that that loss was caused by the other party. To put it more simply, they must show that the defendant’s conduct is what caused the loss or injury.
Such a loss is most commonly 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 by speeding, and that was what injured the plaintiff.
In order to prove their claim, the plaintiff will want to preserve and gather various forms of evidence that can be used to support their claim. Some common examples of suitable evidence include, but may not be limited to:
- Statements collected from any witnesses;
- Photos or video associated with the accident;
- Documentation, such as medical bills or police reports; and
- Physical evidence, such as broken stroller components.
A product recall can greatly reduce a manufacturer’s liability, especially if a consumer knowingly continues to use a product that has been recalled. However, it may still be possible to recover damages even after a product has been recalled. If you have been injured by a product that has not yet been recalled, you should file a report with the manufacturer and ask about compensation. Your next step may be to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Do I Need An Attorney For a Stroller Recall Lawsuit?
If you or your child were injured by a defective stroller, especially if the stroller is being recalled, you should consult with an experienced and local consumer lawyer. Because state laws can vary widely in terms of defective products and liability, an area attorney will be best suited to helping you understand your rights and legal options under the laws of your state.
Additionally, they will most likely be aware of any class action lawsuits that you may be able to join. Finally, an experienced and local consumer lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.