There are three major reasons why a product may be recalled. There might be a defect in the design of the product, there might have been faulty marketing, and there may have been a manufacturing defect. Defects in the manufacturing occur when the product did not perform as it was intended because of a slip in the assembly process. Many people get confused over manufacturing defects and design defects. The major difference is that with manufacturing defects, there is a flaw in an otherwise safe product. With design defects, there is a defect in the structure of the product itself. Even if these products were to be manufactured correctly, they would still pose a safety threat to consumers.
Once it has been determined that the manufacturing was faulty, the next factor to consider is whether it was planned or unplanned. If a product was found to be defective and the defect originated with the design itself, then this was a planned accident, so to speak. Most cases of manufacturing defects are unplanned. These cases operate then on the basis of strict liability. The product manufacturer is liable in these situations, yes, but they were not negligent. You see, negligence connotes some kind of wrongful intent on behalf of the manufacturer. While a faulty product can mean the manufacturer is at fault, it does not mean that they planned for their product to cause harm.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the governmental agency that is responsible for recalling defective products. The commission will announce product recalls so that the general public can be warned of them. Recalled products should immediately stop being used so as to avoid injury. The CPSC will have instructions for what consumers should do if they find out they have a defective product in their possession. Anyone can report an unsafe product to the CPSC for investigation.
If you or someone you know was injured by a product, even though it was being used properly, then you can file a report. Typically, if there are multiple similar reports, then a product or a certain batch of products will be recalled. Products that have been distorted by manufacturing defects typically get recalled in batches, since only some products were likely affected. Not all claims are investigated by the CPSC, and only some claims will be sent to the product manufacturer for review.
Intended Use of a Product
An important factor to consider before filing a product liability claim is whether or not the product was being used as it was intended to be used. Those who improperly use a product and are injured as a result will not be entitled to a claim, because the injury would have been their fault. You may also not be entitled to a product liability claim if the product was recalled and you continued to use it after it was recalled. This makes it extremely important to keep track of recent recalls, which you can do on the CPSC website. Buying products second hand, such as from thrift stores and yard sales, can be dangerous because they are not prone to the same regulations as retail stores. Provided that you purchased a product first-hand and used it as intended, if you were injured, then you may have a case on your hands.
To learn more about your legal options, contact Arnold & Itkin today.