Most of us take for granted the fact that the vast majority of items we buy, whether it’s in the grocery store, the department store, or even on the car lot, are safe for consumption or use. Unfortunately, many people have to find out the hard way that this isn’t always the case. When products are recalled, it means you could possibly have a lawsuit on your hands.
What Are Recalled Products?
Generally speaking, there are two reasons we have recalled products here in the United States. One is that the manufacturer discovers a problem with one of their products after it’s already been on store shelves. Sometimes they don’t catch it, though, and it’s the FDA that raises concerns and essentially initiates the recall.
Recalled products are never something to take a risk on. By the time a recall has been made public, you can usually take the item back to where you purchased it from for a full refund.
If the item that was recalled had something to do with your health, if it was medicine or a medical device, speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
Lawsuits Based on Recalled Products
That being said, it’s also essential that you fully understand your options moving forward. Oftentimes, you may have a lawsuit on your hands and, given the potential for damage that recalled products have, it probably makes a lot of sense to pursue it (in such a case, don’t bring the item back). Many people have filed lawsuits against companies even before a recall was initiated. A lot of times it’s the very thing that actually sparks the recall.
You Don’t Have to Be the Original Purchaser
Just because you didn’t pay for the item doesn’t mean you can’t sue if it functions in a dangerous manner. Say, for example, you’re using a stroller that was handed down to you from an older sibling who also has kids. One day, your child hurts themselves because their hand dangled too close to the wheel. For whatever reason, your sibling’s kids dodged this pitfall, but now your child is injured. You can still sue the manufacturer for this issue, even though you don’t have a receipt.
It’s not a matter of ownership in the least. If you were making tea at your neighbor’s and the kettle cracked open from the heat, burning you with steam, you have a right to seek damages.
The Limitations of Lawsuits Regarding Recalled Products
That being said, like all laws, the ones regarding recalled products have their limitations. An important one to consider in this area is negligence. Simply put, you can’t sue a manufacturer if a product harmed you or your children because it was being misused. When filing a suit for a recalled product, you have to prove that it was being used in a reasonable manner.
To go back to our earlier example, there’s nothing unreasonable about your child’s arm dangling outside the stroller. However, if you were using the stroller while you went jogging through a local forest and something went wrong, the manufacturer could probably respond that you were using their product for something unintended.
What to Do after a Product Has Been Recalled
First and foremost, seek legal representation immediately. It’s also essential that you preserve the product as is. Don’t go cleaning it (you can clean it up, of course, if the item broke and left parts lying around) or trying to make repairs on your own. Obviously, no one must use it anymore.
Also, preserve any relevant documents. This includes the receipt if you have it and any papers that might show it was once repaired.
Finding out you owned a recalled product can be very scary, especially if it was a vital component of your life. That being said, the important thing is moving forward and seeking justice for any danger you or your family were put in.