Protecting Your Family In The Event of a Product Recall
While product recalls are rare, they still happen. Recalls are the result of hazardous, defective, or unsafe products. In the United States, all manufactured goods must meet specific safety regulations and pass strict inspections before being approved for public use. But when a product is recalled, it is typically due to a mistake made by the manufacturer. Sometimes these mistakes are relatively small and sometimes they are large enough to cause serious injury or death.
When a defective product causes an injury, you may have a product liability claim. Although most products on the market are safe for use, there are some products that are dangerous and should no longer be available for sale. If a product is proved to be dangerous, then a manufacturer has an obligation to remove that product from the marketplace.
Once a product has been recalled, you can take steps to protect your family.
What is a Product Recall?
A product recall is an attempt to retrieve a product from consumers and retailers once the product has been found to be defective or unsafe. A product recall typically occurs when a large number of a product are found to be unsafe. Some recalls ask you to throw away the product, while others ask that you return the item for replacement or repair. Keep in mind that even if a product is recalled, it can still be found in homes, garage sales, secondhand stores and schools.
Government agencies involved in recalls include the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA recalls are assigned a numerical designation (I, II, or III) to indicate the relative degree of health hazard presented by the recalled product.
- Class I – a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that using or exposure to a defective product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
- Class II – a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a defective product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
- Class III – a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a defective product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.
How Are Products Recalled?
Products are recalled by various public agencies through a notice of the recall to consumers. This notice alerts consumers about the defect or safety issue so that they can stop using the product or return it for repair or replacement. Product notification usually takes one of the following forms:
- Direct Notification
Manufacturers alert wholesalers and retailers of a product recall directly. Manufacturers may request the wholesaler or retailer to notify consumers who bought the product from their store.
- Public Notification
Government agencies keep a public list of recalled products on their website so consumers can check and stay current on the latest product recalls.
- Media Coverage
Large scale or dangerous recalls are usually picked up by the media outlets and covered online or through the TV, radio, and in newspapers. Product recalls that affect millions of people are usually big news stories that the media reports on for days, weeks or months at a time.
The Importance of Registering Your New Products
Many Americans do not realize the importance of registering their new products. Filling out and sending in the registration card or registering the product online could someday prevent serious injury and even save your life or the life of a loved one.
When you register your product, the company will know who to notify if their product is ever recalled due to a dangerous defect. Unfortunately, such harmful defects have injured and killed thousands of people each year. A toy for young children could have small parts that are a choking hazard, or a defectively designed car seat could put your child at a high-risk of injury in an accident.
One of the best ways to keep you and your family safe and informed about recalls is to register to receive recall alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) by simply following the links and registering your email address. You can also check these sites for safety bulletins for products that have issues but have not been recalled.
Types of Recalled Products
- Contaminated Food and Beverages
- Medical Devices
- Prescriptions/ Medications/Ointments
- Children’s Toys and Accessories (such as strollers and car seats)
What Should You So If a Product is Recalled?
- Do not panic, but immediately stop using the product.
- Throw away any food products
- If you or your child has been affected, alert your doctor.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website if the manufacturer is giving a refund.
Learn About Recalls
You might hear about major recalls on the news, but products are recalled frequently and may not make the nightly news. Unfortunately, many manufacturers choose not to advertise their recalls. The best way to keep up to date on the latest recalls is to check the CPSC website. The website is updated every day and provides information on what to do regarding the recalled product. You can also search the website for recalls by product type and manufacturer.
Check for Recalled Products in Your Home
Using the CPSC database, you can check whether products in your home or in your child’s daycare or school, are recalled. Ask family and friends to check the products in their homes as well. Before you purchase a product from a secondhand store or garage sale, check to see if it has been recalled. If a product has been recalled, make sure you take the steps specified by the manufacturer for returning or repairing the product. And stop using the product immediately.
Do Your Research Before You Buy
Before purchasing a product, be sure to do some thorough research. Even though a product has been recalled, it does not always mean that they have been removed from all stores. Not all product recalls make the news, but you can search the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall list. You can also research to see if there have been any injuries associated with a product or whether there are any pending lawsuits involving the product.
Purchase Products from Established Companies
Before products are placed on the market, they should undergo rigorous safety testing. In addition, if a product is dangerous and has been recalled, retailers have a responsibility to ensure these products are removed from their shelves. Some companies are more thorough than others when responding to recalls. Resellers and individuals may not comply with recalls and may attempt to sell you a recalled product on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Listen to Recall Instructions
If a product in your home or your car has been recalled, make sure you thoroughly follow the instructions related to the recall. Some recalls involve returning the item to the manufacturer for a refund. Others involve a repair or replacement part that will make the product safe for use. You should always discontinue using a product if it has been recalled.
You can check the recall list to ensure that products in your home have not been recalled.
Reporting Safety Concerns
The government accepts complaints about unsafe and mislabeled products.
- FoodSafety.gov directs you to the correct agency to report unsafe food products. This includes pet food and food sold in restaurants.
- You can also call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854 or submit a report online to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accepts complaints about defective vehicles and car accessories.
- SaferProducts.gov allows you to report incidents and safety concerns with consumer products. You can also read about incidents reported by other people.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dangerous or defective product, contact an experienced DuQue Law Product Defect Attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. The statute of limitations requires that you file a lawsuit related to a product injury within two years, so you should speak with an accident lawyer as soon as possible to better understand your legal rights and options.
Product liability cases are difficult and require a skilled attorney. Do not try to take on the insurance company lawyers by yourself. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident.
Since our attorneys see many product related injuries throughout the year, we know how to obtain fair compensation for you. Contact our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we will reply to you quickly.