Product Recalls and Defective Product Injury Claims
If you’re hurt by a defective product, you might immediately start to wonder if there are any recalls for the product that hurt you. There are many active recalls in the United States at any given time.
There are recalls on all kinds of products like cars, strollers, food, industrial equipment, and cosmetic products. When an accident occurs, it’s important to know how a recall might impact your defective product claim. Here’s what you need to know from our experienced Las Vegas product liability attorneys.
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Does a Recall Impact a Defective Product Personal Injury Claim?
A recall may impact a defective product personal injury claim. Typically, the fact that a company issued a recall doesn’t affect a defective product claim itself; a product is either unsafe, or it isn’t regardless of whether there’s a recall.
The jurors must decide whether the recalled item is defective without considering whether the company issued a recall. However, if a company is negligent in the way that they issue the recall, their actions may add to their legal liability or create an entirely separate cause of action when an accident occurs because of a defective product.
If There’s a Product Recall, Is the Product Manufacturer Free of Legal Liability?
A product recall doesn’t free a product manufacturer of legal liability. The law requires product manufacturers to create safe products. That duty doesn’t change just because they issue a recall for their product.
Instead, the product manufacturer remains liable for damages that result when their product has manufacturing, design or instruction defects. A product manufacturer is not immune from legal liability just because they issue a product recall.
Can You Sue if a Product Is Recalled?
The recall itself doesn’t create a products liability legal cause of action against a product manufacturer. You may receive a replacement product, a refund or repairs, but you don’t receive additional compensation just for the fact that the product is unreasonably dangerous.
Of course, if the product defects result in an actual accident with physical injuries or property damage, you have a legal cause of action based on products liability. However, there is no products liability claim unless an accident occurs.
How Do Product Recalls Work in the United States?
A product recall in the United States may be voluntary by the company, or the United States government may impose it. When a product recall is voluntary, the company decides that the product is too dangerous. They issue the recall in hopes of protecting consumer safety and avoiding accidents that lead to legal liability.
An involuntary product recall occurs when the United States Government requires the company to issue the recall. In the event of an involuntary recall, the company must follow federal laws that dictate how to conduct the recall.
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Product Recalls
The company that makes a product may issue a recall at any time. They may decide when the product is too dangerous and take action to recall it. For the U.S. government to order a company to issue a recall, the government must have legal authority. The government can force a recall only when the product violates laws or mandatory safety standards. Both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may issue a mandatory recall.
Violation of Consumer Laws May Be Proof that a Product is Unsafe
To win a products liability case, the injured victim must prove that the product is unsafe. Ordinarily, the standard is a general reasonableness standard; that is, what a reasonable product manufacturer would have done with regards to product safety. However, if a product violates a law or regulation and the defect results in an accident, the law or regulation violation may be automatic proof that the product is unreasonably dangerous.
When an accident occurs, checking for recalls is an important part of preparing a products liability claim. If there’s a recall on the product, it can be a starting point to investigate how the accident occurred and what went wrong. If the recall defect is the cause of the accident, the recall can be a very helpful investigative tool as you work to build your products liability claim.
Is There a Legal Cause of Action for a Negligent Recall?
Different state courts have come to different conclusions about whether there’s a cause of action for negligent recalls. Some states say that if the manufacturer is negligent in the way that they conduct the recall, the negligent recall may be its own cause of action against the manufacturer. Other states say that the negligence during the recall is grouped into the original products liability claim. Still, other states say that there’s a post-sale duty to warn consumers if they fail to issue a recall for a dangerous product.
When you have a personal injury claim, it’s important to work with your attorney to understand the laws that apply in your state. You must bring your case in accordance with your state laws. Every state’s laws are a little bit different.
Is Evidence of a Recall Admissible in a Products Liability Case in Nevada?
Evidence of a recall may not be admissible in a products liability case in Nevada. Nevada law 48.095 says that evidence of subsequent remedial measures is not admissible to prove negligent conduct.
In other words, if the manufacturer takes steps to prevent accidents when they realize a product is unsafe, you can’t admit evidence that they took those actions to prove that the product is defective. However, you may be able to admit evidence of the recall for another purpose like proving the manufacturer did the recall in a negligent manner.
Contact Our Nevada Defective Product Attorneys
Were you hurt because of a dangerous product? Are you wondering what your options are after a product recall? Our Nevada product liability attorneys can help. We can help you examine your case and determine your best options under Nevada law to win a fair recovery in your case. Call us today for a free and confidential conversation about your claim.
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