Most people can relate to a hectic life: Getting up early, commuting, work responsibilities, taking kids or pets to school or the vet, grocery shopping, paying bills, remembering to call your aunt on her birthday… The last thing you need to do is add another task to your “To Do” list because a negligent manufacturer is recalling a product that you own.
Yet, every month, like clockwork, there seems to be an announcement of a product recall: car tires, booster seats, airbags, dog treats, lettuce… The list is long and the reasons for concern are many.
What can you do if you receive notice that a product has been recalled, or if you’ve found out too late: after you or a loved one were injured?
Product Recalls in Texas
There are different types of product liability cases in the state of Texas: Defect in design, in the manufacture, or a failure to warn.
In some instances, a manufacturer will notice a defect before the consumer does and issue a recall to prevent injury from occurring. Generally, however, the manufacturer will send a notice in the mail to known consumers, as well as issue public notices that are disclosed in the news and on social media. Specifically, in Texas, the Department of State allows users to sign up for email updates on food alerts and recalls.
A notice won’t necessarily mean that everyone who has the product will experience harm, but that they’re at risk of injury. For example, while some recalls are inherently dangerous (as was the case with the Ford Pinto back in the 1970s), other instances could be a failure to warn about allergens or how the product could affect consumers with a pre-existing health condition.
In the event that a company realizes there is potential for harm and they choose not to notify consumers, their legal liability will increase substantially.
Can You Sue After a Recall?
A product recall is a result of negligence somewhere along the line. In order to find someone liable for negligence, there are four criteria that must be met:
1. Duty. The creator and manufacturer of a product have a duty of care toward the consumer. For example, if there are specific laws and regulations regarding product safety, the duty of care includes following those laws. This includes everything from design, research, construction, and quality assurance.
2. Breach. Somewhere along the line, someone breaches the duty of care owed. Whether it’s the designer or manufacturer, if someone failed to comply with required safety regulations, there has been a breach of the duty of care.
3. Causation. Not only do you have to show that a product caused your injury, you also have to establish that the injury was the direct result of the breached duty. For example, if a manufacturer failed to follow a law that requires testing of a blender’s blades, and your injury results from untested faulty blades, there’s causation between the breach and the injury.
4. Damages. Damages include medical costs for injuries sustained as a result of the breach, repairs to your property, lost wages for missed work, loss of future wages if you can’t go back to the type of work you were doing before the injury, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering.
If all of the elements of a negligence cause of action are present, then yes, you may proceed to sue a manufacturer for your damages after a recall. Keep in mind, however, that under most circumstances, the seller of the product will not be liable, unless you can prove that he or she participated in the design or somehow modified the product.
Be aware that if you suffered an injury due to a defective product, there likely are tens of thousands of people with the same issue, making the case ripe for a class action lawsuit.
Civil Litigation Attorneys in Texas
If you’ve been injured by a recalled product and need to know how to move forward, the experienced attorneys at The Weycer Law Firm can help.
Discuss your case for FREE today by contacting us online or by calling (713) 668-4545.
Note: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.