Consumer goods do not always work the way that they should. They can fail catastrophically and may cause harm to individuals when they do. Power tools might catch fire or create electrical shocks. Vehicle components could fail in traffic, causing collisions. Items designed for infants could have small pieces that break off to become choking hazards.
When products fail and people get hurt, the parties affected by those incidents may have grounds for a product defect or product liability claim against the manufacturer. Such lawsuits can compensate people for property damage losses, medical expenses related to injuries and even lost wages if someone requires time away from work during their recovery.
Yet, consumers may understandably worry that a manufacturer recall will absolve an offending company of legal responsibility. If a manufacturer recalls a product, does that automatically prevent consumers from pursuing a product defect lawsuit?
Recalls only offer partial protection
When a business recognizes that a particular item or production batch of a popular product is dangerous, it can voluntarily recall those products. It is sometimes also necessary for consumer safety agencies to mandate the recall of unsafe products when manufacturers fail to take action.
During a recall, manufacturers have to notify consumers about the issue and provide a remedy. Sometimes, the remedy is a return and a refund of the purchase price. Other times, manufacturers can replace the defective item with one that is not dangerous. With more expensive items, like vehicles, manufacturers may opt to repair or replace the dangerous component.
Consumers can still get hurt after manufacturers initiate a recall. They may fail to communicate effectively with the public, meaning that someone is not aware of the recall. In recalls involving repairs or replacement products, there may be a waiting period. Consumers may have no choice but to continue using a dangerous or defective product until their scheduled appointment or replacement delivery date.
There is a significant gray area that still exists even when there is an active recall for a product. It is sometimes possible for injured consumers or grieving family members to pursue a defective product lawsuit even when a company has begun a recall. Establishing an issue with poor design or faulty manufacturing led to economic losses, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may help people pursue a product liability claim.