Defective product laws are in place to protect consumers from products that put them at risk.
As much as we want to trust the companies selling us products, every year tens of thousands of people file product liability cases on their own or as part of a class action because they have had problems with consumer and medical products.
Defective products don’t work as advertised, they pose risks to consumer health, or they contain defective parts that can cause the overall item to malfunction.
What Do Consumers Need to Know about Defective Products?
There are many defective products on the market, but this alone does not warrant legal action.
To have a claim against a manufacturer, you must show you were injured or made ill, or that your property was damaged.
Another option available when a product didn’t injure anyone, but consumers were misled by claims about the product, is to participate in a class action. When a group of people (class) all have a similar complaint about a product, even if they were not injured, there might be issues related to product misrepresentation.
Are Defective Products Recalled?
They certainly can be, but this is not always the case. And all too often, a recall is not issued until after several people have been injured by a product.
Manufacturers are reluctant to issue recalls on their products, for obvious reasons, and because they believe user error can be blamed for the occasional injury.
Unfortunately, this means the health of consumers is put at risk until enough people are harmed that the manufacturer and/or the appropriate government agency deems there to be significant enough a problem to issue a recall.
Once a recall does occur, it’s still possible for people to be injured by a defective product. Sometimes the media isn’t even alerted regarding a recall, so unless consumers are following recall notices they have limited means by which to know there’s been a problem with a product. In most cases, if there is a risk to consumers, a recall will be made public.
If a defective product is not recalled, the manufacturer might offer other compensation for consumers. For instance, they might be able to return their product for repair or exchange their product for one that is not defective. They might also be offered a coupon or voucher for a replacement product or for other free merchandise.
Examples of Defective Products
Any type of consumer product can be recalled for a defect, but there are certain categories of products that are most often associated with defects, including:
- Vehicles and vehicle parts
- Household products and appliances
- Car seats
- Human and pet food
- Medical devices
Legal Action Related to Defective Products
Consumers might have the option of taking legal action against a manufacturer that sells a defective product.
Tens of thousands of product liability claims are filed annually in US courts and awards are often in the multi-million range. Consumers are holding manufacturers accountable for their false claims using defective product laws.
Additionally, any of the following entities can be held liable if a defective product causes harm:
- Materials or component part supplier
- Medical professional who prescribed the product
In order to receive compensation for a defective product, a consumer must show:
- Injuries or a financial loss occurred because of the product
- Product has a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect
- Product was used as intended and problem still occurred
Plaintiffs in a defective products lawsuit can be compensated for medical expenses associated with their injuries, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, psychological trauma, and any other damages the court believes are associated with the defective product.