Can You Still Sue After Missing a Product Recall?
When you purchase an item, you have a right to assume it’s going to be reasonably safe to use. But in many cases, defects won’t become evident until it’s been on the market for a while and many people have already purchased and used it. When this happens, either the manufacturer or a government agency will issue a recall for the product, offering impacted consumers a replacement product, a repair to fix the issue, or in some cases, a refund.
Depending on the nature of the defect, defective products can potentially be very dangerous. But what happens if a person is injured by a recalled product, but they didn’t know the product had been recalled? While there have been plenty of highly publicized product recalls in recent memory, like the Takata airbag recall, the GM ignition switch recall, and the Samsung Note 7 recall, it’s very important to remember that most product recalls don’t get nearly that much publicity. It’s actually quite easy for consumers to not hear about recalls.
When a product is recalled, manufacturers will try to send notices to anyone they know has purchased the item, which is what typically happens with items like cars. But with how many people buy used cars, it’s very common for people to unwittingly buy cars that have open recalls on them. Used car owners also very often don’t receive notices for new recalls. If manufacturers don’t keep track of who purchases products from them, they’ll notify stores that sell the product so they can notify customers. Recall notices are also posted online, in newspapers, or in other publications. But unless you just happen to see those notices or you’re in the habit of regularly looking for recall notices, it’s entirely possible to have a defective product in your home without knowing it.
If you’ve been injured by a product you believe is defective, it’s important to contact a product liability lawyer as soon as you can to find out what your rights are. Many states have a statute of limitations for product liability cases. If the product involved in your case was subject to a recall, a lawyer will help you better understand what that means for your case.
In many cases, a consumer is still able to file a lawsuit even after a recall. Issuing a recall doesn’t necessarily absolve the manufacturer of all liability. One important thing that would need to be considered is how the recall was handled. Did the manufacturer attempt to directly contact owners or was there simply a notice placed online with little fanfare? It’s entirely possible a court might rule that a manufacturer would be liable since they didn’t do enough to contact consumers.
It’s important to note that there is a distinction between missing a recall notice and ignoring a recall notice. If you receive a recall notice, it’s very important to make sure you follow its instructions to get the remedy offered by the manufacturer as soon as you can. If you ignore a recall notice and then are injured by the product, the manufacturer will very likely try to argue that since you were sent a recall notice, they can’t be held fully liable for your injury.