How Does a Recall Affect My Injury Lawsuit?
If you have suffered injury from a defective product and have instituted a claim against the manufacturer, you are probably not the only person to have been affected. Many people may be involved in similar litigation. What happens to those lawsuits when the manufacturer of the product that has caused such harm chooses to recall it?
The sad truth is that a defective product can remain on the market for months or even years before its defects come to light and its manufacturer finds itself forced to recall it. Sadly, many prefer to turn a blind eye to the entire debacle until a consumer watchdog group or the Food and Drug Administration makes a recall impossible to evade. In the meantime, that product continues along its harmful path. Do those whom it injures during that time still have any recourse?
The Elements of a Product Liability Claim
Anyone who has suffered serious harm due to the use of an unsafe product has the right to sue its connections for damages. Potential objects of the lawsuit include the product’s:
The claim can single out anything from the time the product first appears on the engineer’s drawing board until the day it hits the retailer’s shelves, and the object of your lawsuit can include anyone who had an involvement along the way. If your claim should prove to be a valid one, you can request compensation for pain and suffering in addition to lost wages and medical expenses.
The Recall and the Lawsuit
Once a product has been recalled, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to notify the media in addition to anyone involved with its sale and distribution. However, the fact of the product’s recall does not necessarily endow everyone who has suffered from its use with permission to sue for damages. For one thing, not every recalled product will qualify for product liability. Furthermore, if the injured person wants to bring a lawsuit against any of the parties involved with bringing the product to market, he or she will need to prove that negligence played a role. This will require establishing that:
- The defendant owed a duty to provide consumers with a harmless product.
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The damages to the plaintiff resulted from that breach.
Although the mere fact of a product’s recall does not give its victims unlimited freedom to sue for product liability, neither does it eliminate or even lower the culpability of those involved with having made the product available to consumers. If the manufacturer in this type of case can prove that the plaintiff continued to use the product after receiving the recall notice, the law may give it a pass. On the other hand, proving that the plaintiff was aware of the recall notice could be difficult.
If You Repair the Recalled Product
In many cases, a person who receives a recall notice will bring the product in for repairs. If the manufacturer or dealer can successfully resolve the problem, an injured consumer will have a tough time blaming that product for injuries received after the repair date. On the other hand, some defects are impossible to correct. In this case, the consumer has the option of using the product despite its recognized flaws, but any injuries that may result would be his or her own responsibility.
Of course, it is incumbent upon the manufacturer to be sure that the public receives adequate notice of its product’s defects. If his notification methods fail to pass muster or he is counting on the dealer or distributor to do the job for him, the fact of the inadequately issued recall will place any subsequent blame directly upon his shoulders, and despite the recall, the injured user of the product may still have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Weiner Law Group Can Help
Have you suffered harm at the hands of a defective item that has undergone a product recall? If so, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. The product’s manufacturer and distributors are ultimately responsible for its safety, and the recall itself may not insulate them against accountability for your suffering.
To discuss your options and review your chances of success, contact Weiner Law Group today. If you stand to receive compensation of any kind, our personal injury attorneys will fight to see that you get it.