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What does it mean when a company issues a product recall?

Parties that are responsible for making products available to the public may be held liable for the injuries they cause.

When parties including manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers, make products available to the public which cause injury or damage, they may be held liable for the resulting loss. This product liability may arise as a result of a variety of circumstances. There may be a defect in the manufacturing process or a defect in the product’s design. It could also result from the party’s failure to warn the public regarding a non-obvious but inherent dangers associated with the product. In some instances, a party may be held liable for product liability based on consumer protection laws which provide specific remedies for certain types of product defects such as, lemon laws for automobiles.

A product recall can minimize litigation expenses and help protect a company’s reputation.

A party that realizes that there may be an issue with their product that can lead to product liability may take proactive steps to minimize their legal liability and exposure to lawsuits. This can help save the company money as well as, minimize damage to their reputation. One way to do this is to initiate a voluntary product recall. A product recall provides the public with notification regarding the product’s defects and requests that the public no longer use the product. Often, a company that issues a product recall will replace the defective product and/or pay for injuries or damages caused by the product.

For example, a company that produces baby food recently recalled three of their products after learning of a manufacturing defect that resulted in spoilage of those products. The company is offering customers who purchased the defective products with product replacement vouchers.

In some circumstances, companies may be required to issue a product recall by the consumer production agency that oversees the type of product at issue.

However, not all product recalls are voluntary. In some cases, companies are ordered to recall their product because it fails to meet the minimum standards set by the federal or state consumer protection agency responsible for overseeing the defective product. These consumer protection agencies include the following:

· National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA);

· Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC);

· Food and Drug Administration (FDA);

· Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);

· Department of Agriculture (USDA); and

· United States Coast Guard.

Consumer protection agencies learn of defective products by tracking and investigating consumer complaints and other data that help reveal when a product is defective and hazardous to the public.

If you have been injured as a result of a defective product that has been recalled, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you may have a viable product liability case. If so, your attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.