Even though a product is on a store shelf, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Defective products can and do make their way into the marketplace. When they do and injuries happen, the manufacturer and sometimes other parties in a product’s distribution chain can be sued. Manufacturers can be sued even if a recall notice has been issued for the faulty product. Though product makers might try to argue otherwise when facing legal claims, recalls do not protect them from liability. Read on to learn about product recalls and what to do if you’re injured by a recalled product.
Can You Sue Over Product Recall if You Weren’t Injured?
You can’t sue a manufacturer simply because you bought a product that was later recalled. In a product injury lawsuit, you must prove that the specific product you are suing over caused your injuries. You must also show that you suffered damages because of your injuries. If you weren’t injured by the product and didn’t suffer damages, you can’t sue just because it was recalled. You can, however, expect to get your money back or otherwise have the issue resolved.
What Should You Do if You Own a Product That Was Recalled?
If you own a product that was recalled, stop using it immediately. You could be injured if you continue to use it, even if the defect might seem minor to you. And if you use a product that you know was recalled for a defect and you’re injured, you’ll have a harder time getting compensation for your injuries.
Contact the store where you bought the product or the manufacturer for a refund or replacement. In some cases, depending on the specific product and nature of the recall, the product may be repaired and given back to you.
Who Recalls Defective Products?
When manufacturers become aware of safety problems with their products, they may issue recalls. If manufacturers don’t voluntarily recall their faulty products, there are several U.S. government agencies that can step in and require companies to issue recalls. Some of these government agencies include:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees recalls relating to medicines and cosmetics as well as some foods. (There are other agencies that handle food recalls as well.)
If you sustained an injury and want to find out if the product was recalled, visit recalls.gov, which lists recalls from all the U.S. government agencies.
Can You Sue the Manufacturer of a Recalled Product?
Can you sue the manufacturer of a recalled product? As discussed earlier, the answer to this question is “yes.” If you were injured by a recalled product, you have the right to file a lawsuit to get compensation. You should know, though, that when recalled products cause injuries, the manufacturer and their attorneys may try to put the blame on you. A common defense that companies use in recall cases is that, because a recall notice was issued, you knew about the dangers and used the product anyway.
Of course, just because recall notices are issued, this doesn’t mean consumers are aware of them. Typically when recalls are issued, everyone responsible for manufacturing, distributing, and selling products are notified. Consumers may or may not be notified, depending on the type of product. Media outlets report on recalls, but how much reporting and attention recalls get depends on how dangerous the products are and how many people have been hurt.
So the company you are suing would need to prove that you knew. And you might have to show that you didn’t know about the recall to be successful in a suit. Product injury lawsuits are often very complicated, and when recalls are involved, they can be even more so, which is why it’s especially important to have the assistance of an experienced product injury lawyer when suing a manufacturer or other party.
In addition to manufacturers, others who are involved in the production, distribution, and sale of products might also be liable. For example, if a retail store owner continues to sell a product that they know has been recalled and a buyer is injured, the owner could be liable in addition to the manufacturer.
How Does a Product Injury Lawsuit Work?
A product injury lawsuit asks for money for the damages you’ve experienced due to the faulty product. Texas law recognizes design, manufacturing, and failure-to-warn product defects. Failure-to-warn is when a manufacturer doesn’t provide adequate instructions or labeling about a product’s use. Damages that may be asked for in product injury cases include money for:
Current and future expenses for all doctor, hospital, rehabilitation, prescription drug, and other medical bills related to the injury
Lost wages from time missed at work while recuperating
Lost earning capacity when an individual’s injuries don’t allow them to work anymore or they must work in a lower-earning job
Pain and suffering for chronic physical pain and mental and emotional suffering
Punitive damages meant to punish companies for gross negligence.
When you file a product injury lawsuit, your attorney will typically try to negotiate a settlement. If the manufacturer won’t settle, the case may have to be resolved at trial.
What Should You Do If You are Injured by a Recalled Product?
Knowing what to do if you’re injured by a recalled product is the first step toward potentially getting compensation for your injuries. Here are steps to take following a product injury:
Get medical attention right away. Seeing a doctor is necessary for your own well-being and it also ensures that your injuries from the faulty product are documented.
Take photographs to build an evidence file. Take photos of the defective product and your injuries if they are noticeable.
Document what happened. Sometimes memory grows fuzzy so, as soon as possible, write down how the injury happened. Include where you bought the product and the date if you remember it.
Keep the defective product as evidence, if possible. Also, hold on to the packaging and any instructions that came with it.
Those are the basic steps to take to develop evidence of your product injury. Also, consider speaking with an attorney with experience in handling product injury cases. Manufacturers have high-priced law firms working for them to help them avoid paying compensation in product injury cases. You stand a better chance of being successful in a recalled product injury claim if you have an experienced attorney on your side.
Reach Out to an Experienced Houston Product Injury Lawyer
At the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant, we fight to get compensation for people who’ve been injured by defective products. If you’ve been hurt, we’ll review your situation and advise you about your options for filing a product injury lawsuit. Our attorneys, including our firm’s founder, Terry Bryant, who is a former Texas judge, have the experience it takes and the resources to pursue product injury cases. To schedule a free consultation, call our Houston-based law firm today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
Terry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]