If you have been harmed by a product, you may be able to file a product liability case with the manufacturing company. If the product was recalled, this can serve as evidence in your case but will it negatively or positively affect your case? Manufacturers regularly recall their products when prompted by a government agency or on their own.
What is a Product Liability Case?
Product liability is when a manufacturer is held liable for selling faulty products to consumers and as a result, the consumers are harmed by the product. If you were harmed by a defective product, you can sue the manufacturer, seller and distributor.
You can base your claim on defective construction, failure to adequately warn of a risk, or a defective design that inherently makes the product dangerous. You can sue for all the financial losses caused by any physical harm by the product.
How Does a Recall Work?
A manufacturer may realize the defect in a product either through a government agency like CPSC (Consumer Production Safety Commission) or on their own. The manufacturer can voluntarily issue a recall of the product. If they fail to do so, the government agency will do it for them especially if it’s a potentially widespread defect.
All distributors, sellers and buyers of the product will receive a notice that the product has been recalled. The notices will be put on trade journals and distributed to the public through general media. The recall will warn every one of the immediate danger of the product and it will instruct them how to have the product replaced or repaired.
A Recall Doesn’t Automatically Mean Liability
Many courts allow a recall to be used as evidence that a product was defective but this does not mean that the manufacturer of the product will automatically be held liable.
There are other elements of a product liability case that must be proven. You can use several legal theories to prove your case. There are three theories that you can use:
1. Strict product liability
You must prove that:
- The product sold was unreasonably dangerous or there wasn’t adequate warning of the dangerous condition the product was in.
- The manufacturer intentionally distributed the product without removing the defect in it.
- You were injured or your property was destroyed because of the defect in the product.
2. Breach of Warranty
You must prove that:
- There was an implied warranty to the product
- The warranty did not work as expected.
You must prove that:
- The manufacturer made certain representations of the product
- The representations were false
- The manufacturer knew the representations were false
- The manufacturer made false representations of the product so that the consumer would buy it.
- You were justified in relying on the manufacturer’s representations
- You were harmed as a result of the manufacturer’s false representations
The strict product liability theory is the most used because it poses a bigger threat to the manufacturer. The other theories are not usually effective because you will need to prove more elements to win the case. It’s much easier to meet the “burden of proof” in a strict liability case.
However, if you successfully meet the burden of proof in a fraud theory, the manufacturer may also have to pay punitive damages based on intentional deception.
A Recall Won’t Let the Manufacturer Off the Hook Either
While a recall doesn’t prove liability, it also doesn’t mean that they can get away with it. They must prove that you received notice of the recall and there was enough warning on the product label to show you that the product was dangerous. The court does not consider a broadly issued recall without successful efforts to direct the notice to the consumer to be enough.
The manufacturer cannot also blame the distributor for not issuing consumers with a direct recall notice although they may be able to sue the distributor afterwards.
Consult with a Plymouth Product Liability Lawyer for Free
There are laws in Massachusetts that will protect you from the many ways that a product injury can affect your case. When you work with our product liability lawyers in Plymouth, you will be protecting other people from going through the same ordeal as you.
Let us help you get the settlement that you deserve. Call us at 508-746-2700 or visit our offices in Plymouth to get a free consultation.