Unsafe products can remain on the market for several years until their defects and dangers are discovered. A manufacturer may voluntarily recall that product when an issue is found to avoid further injuries. Sometimes, the manufacturer does not issue the recall until the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forces them to do so.
If you have been injured by an unsafe product that is now being recalled, you may wonder how that will affect your product liability injury claim against the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor.
Understanding the Basics of Product Liability
If you have been seriously injured by a product, you may have a claim against the manufacturer, distributor, seller, or third-party associated with that product. The claim can be based on inappropriate marketing, defective design, or defective manufacturing. If you have a valid claim, you can sue for compensation for your lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering.
How Recalls Work in the United States
Manufacturers are often made aware when there is a defect with their product. At that time, they may issue a voluntary recall. Other times, the manufacturer is forced to do so by a government agency. Once the recall has been decided, the manufacturer must notify the sellers and distributors of the product – including online retailers that may be selling their products.
Notices are usually issued to the general media as well. Depending on the extent, a customer may receive a notification from the manufacturer or seller that lets them know what to do with their recalled products.
Recalls Do Not Constitute Liability
Just because a manufacturer recalls a product does not mean that the product qualified for product liability. It is true that a court will allow the use of a recall during a civil liability claim, but issuing a recall doesn’t constitute liability itself.
Instead, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish the four elements of negligence. This includes showing that there was: (i) a duty owed by the manufacturer or defendant, (ii) that the defendant breached that duty, (iii) that this breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and (iv) that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
A Recall Does Not Reduce Liability, Either
A recall does not reduce or eliminate liability for the defendant, either. Instead, they must prove that the plaintiff received a notice of the recall and continued to use the defective product, which caused their injury. This is a large burden on the defense, since it may be difficult to prove that a plaintiff received a recall notice.
If the recall is poorly issued by the distributor or retailer, the manufacturer cannot transfer the blame to the retailer or distributor. A broadly issued recall is not enough to prove that the plaintiff had an opportunity to avoid injury.
Were You Injured by a Defective Product? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you have been seriously injured by a defective product, contact The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. to explore your options. Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for the quality and safety of their products. Hold them accountable for their negligence. Schedule a consultation with Clarke now at 912-200-5292 or request more information online.