If you’re like most people, you’ve received at least one safety recall notice in your life. Usually, we see these recalls issued for motor vehicles. If you have a young child, you’ve probably read about the Fisher-Price baby sleeper recall lawsuits.
Manufacturers are required to issue a recall notice whenever they realize that their product is dangerous or defective. The question is what happens when somebody gets injured while using a recalled product and how can a mass tort attorney help?
How Does a Recall Typically Work?
Thousands of new products hit the market every year. For the most part, they are safe and cause no problems for their users. However, every now and then, a product is released either too early or without regard for how safe it is.
When a manufacturer is put on notice that one of their products is dangerous, they are legally required to notify their customers. They must notify them of the specific defect. It is up to the manufacturer as to whether they choose to issue a general recall or a direct recall.
Some Recalls Offer Customers a Refund and the Dangerous Product is Taken Off the Market
When a company issues a recall, they have a couple of different options. If the product itself is so dangerous that it cannot be repaired, the manufacturer may decide to take it off the market.
When this happens, consumers are given the option of returning the defective product and getting a full refund. Usually, this only happens when it would cost too much money to redesign the product or repair it. It may also be the case that the product is inherently dangerous and cannot be rectified.
Other Safety Recalls Offer Consumers the Chance to Get the Product Repaired
The other option manufacturers have with a recall is to offer customers the chance to get the product repaired free of charge. This is what our mass tort attorneys see with automotive recalls.
For example, you may receive a recall stating that the seatbelts in your car or SUV are defective. You are given the chance to take it to the dealership and have them fix the issue. They will replace the seatbelts with ones that are safe.
If a customer receives the recall and chooses not to get the issue resolved, they won’t be able to hold the manufacturer liable for any injuries caused by the defective product. If they were to get hurt and their mass tort attorney filed suit, they would be hard-pressed to receive damages.
Manufacturers Have Two Ways of Issuing Safety Recalls
Once a company has decided how they want to issue the recall, they then need to decide how they’ll notify customers. If there is no way to track down the customers who purchased the item, the only way they can issue the notice is by a sweeping, broad notice.
This can be done by issuing a statement online or by sending notice of the recall to stores and distributors. Of course, this doesn’t mean the manufacturer can blame the retailer or distributor for any injuries that ensue. It just increases the odds of a customer learning about the defect or dangerous condition.
Some Safety Recalls Are Issued Directly to Customers Who Purchased the Product
When the manufacturer can identify the people who bought the defective product, they will usually directly notify them of the recall. This can help them should they get sued for damages at a later date.
For example, if you bought the Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper, you would’ve received a recall notice from the manufacturer. They issued two of these. One on April 12, 2019, and another one on January 9, 2023.
The reason Fisher-Price would have wanted to directly notify you is so they can say later on that you knew the product was dangerous. Of course, that isn’t going to insulate them from liability. It is just one way they can try to defend themselves.
Your Mass Tort Attorney Can Use the Safety Recall as Evidence
If you or your loved one are hurt by a defective product, your mass tort attorney will use proof of the recall to help prove your case. Now, this doesn’t mean that the manufacturer will automatically be held liable.
Your mass tort attorney still has to prove that you were injured. They also have to show that your injuries were caused by the defective nature of the product.
Proof of a Safety Recall Does Not Make the Defendant Automatically Liable
Some of our clients think that the fact that a safety recall was issued is enough to win their case. This isn’t true. It certainly helps to show that the defendant issued a recall. This proves that they had knowledge of the defect.
At the same time, if the recall was issued prior to your injury, it can hurt your case. If the defendant can show that you directly received a safety recall notice, they’ll argue that you were partially at fault.
Your Mass Tort Attorney Still Has to Prove the Elements of Product Liability
Even if the court allows your mass tort attorney to submit a copy of the recall notice, they still have to prove your case. In any product liability case, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:
- The product was defective.
- You used the product as instructed.
- You were injured.
- Your injuries were directly caused by the defect.
If your mass tort attorney can prove these elements, there’s a good chance you’ll receive the compensation you deserve.
Reach Out to One of Our Mass Tort Attorneys Right Away
If you or your loved one was injured by a defective product, you may have a claim for damages. The only way to know for sure is to speak with an experienced mass tort attorney. They can review whatever information you have and let you know what your options are.
We suggest you contact our office so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. The manufacturer will have a team of lawyers working for them. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage. Since the consultation is free, you have nothing to lose.