How a Recall Can Affect a Product Liability Lawsuit
Posted on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 at 5:04 pm
Manufacturers often issue recalls of products they have discovered are dangerous or defective and are likely to cause harm to consumers. In some cases, these recalls come after some injuries are reported to the manufacturers, and sometimes before any injuries are reported and the manufacturer wants to prevent injuries.
Not all product recalls are high profile recalls, but most manufacturers who issue a recall try to do so in a manner that is most likely to reach as many consumers as possible, such as press releases and mailing notices to known consumers. However, many consumers who purchase a defective product do not receive notice of a recall. Some consumers only learn that a product is defective after a recall because they are injured by the product. When a consumer suffers injuries as a result of a defective product, he or she can file a product liability lawsuit.
In Georgia, a product liability lawsuit is generally based on one of three claims made by the consumer:
- That a product was inherently dangerous;
- That the product did not come with adequate warnings of risks involved in the use of the product; and
- That the product was defectively designed.
Product liability lawsuits are considered strict liability lawsuits, where the manufacturer or anyone in the chain of distribution of the product can be held responsible for a consumer’s injuries if the product is proved defective and to have caused the injuries. The defendants can be held responsible despite showing that it took steps to ensure the product was not defective.
Whichever one of the three claims the consumer makes, he or she has to show that he or she suffered economic injuries or personal injuries as a result of the defective product. A product recall does not defeat a product liability claim, but it also does not mean that a manufacturer is automatically liable for a consumer’s injuries because the manufacturer recalled a product.
The manufacturer may want to use the recall in its favor in a product liability lawsuit to show that the consumer should have been aware of the defect. To do this, the manufacturer has to show that the consumer received personal notice of the defect and recall, and chose to ignore it and use the product anyway.
A consumer filing a product liability lawsuit may be allowed to use the fact that a manufacturer recalled a product as circumstantial proof that the product was indeed defective. However, the reason for the recall has to be the defect that caused injuries to the consumer. For example, if a manufacturer recalls a tool because it fails to shut off when it overheats, and the consumer is injured because a safety guard on the tool is improperly designed, evidence of the recall will likely not be allowed to prove the consumer’s case.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Product liability lawsuits are complicated. They may involve multiple defendants, and the consumer will be required to prove that the claimed defect caused injury. If you have been injured by a defective product, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for more information on how to pursue a claim. Contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to speak to a Georgia personal injury attorney today.