Keeping Your Family Safe with Product Recalls
In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 304 products, ranging from crib mattresses from IKEA that posed an entrapment hazard to infants to Kenmore Elite gas ranges that can cause gas leaks and fires.
Each of those 304 products was recalled because they posed danger to people. This shouldn’t be the case. We shouldn’t fear for our safety when we use a product, but if we’re not vigilant, our families can suffer.
Fortunately, keeping your family safe with product recalls is easier today than it has ever been. There is a wealth of information families can use to stay aware of what products have been recalled, whether it’s a kitchen appliance or a vehicle.
Here, we’ll talk about where you can go to find product recalls and how you can take action with a product liability attorney if you own a recalled product – or if someone you love is injured by a defective product.
WHERE TO FIND RECALLED PRODUCTS
Only in some cases will a product recall be notorious enough to be in the news. Unfortunately, oftentimes product recalls occur without most people knowing. Simply put, you can’t depend on the news to keep your family safe. You have to be proactive. When it comes to product recalls, knowledge equates to safety for those you love.
Learning about product recalls is easier now than it’s ever been, thanks to the internet and the federal government. Here are a few places you can go to find whatever you need about the products you own and whether or not they’re safe:
Recalls.gov – This website provides a list with all the recall notices issued by federal agencies. You can even sign up for email alerts whenever a new recall notice is issued.
Safercar.gov – Here, you’ll find all recalls that are issued for vehicles and things to do with vehicles, such as car seats for children.
Foodsafety.gov – This is the federal government’s main portal for recalls from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), covering food and pharmaceutical products. (In addition, you can check out each agency’s recall website: FSIS.USDA.gov and FDA.gov.)
If you want to report an incident you’ve had with a product, or want to voice a concern you have with a product, you can go to SaferProducts.gov. You can also search for other incident reports filed by consumers like you.
Before you buy a product, do yourself a favor – check these portals first to see if the product has been recalled. You don’t have to do this for every product, but it’s highly recommended for products that can directly affect safety, such as car seats, vehicles, kitchen ovens, and anything to do with children.
WHAT TO DO WITH RECALLED PRODUCTS
What happens if there’s something in your home or possession that has been recalled?
The recall notice will generally give you information as to where to go next. For example, in the Kenmore Elite Ranges recall notice, the suggested remedy was to repair the defective range. The notice directs consumers to contact Sears, the retailer for the Kenmore line, and provides contact information.
Sometimes, you can return the product to the manufacturer or retailer and have them repair it for you. Sometimes, they’ll replace it. In other situations the manufacturer may refund your money and instruct you to stop using the product and dispose of it.
If you have a vehicle that has a recall, you can take it to the dealer and have them fix the defect free of charge.
Note that manufacturers and retailers are required by law to provide a suitable recourse of action for one of their products that has been recalled. This isn’t optional. If you have a product that is the subject of a recall notice and the responsible party won’t take action to make it right, you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general or with the CPSC itself – and may have grounds for a legal action.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INJURED
I sincerely hope your family never has to endure an injury from a defective product, but it does happen. In the event that this happens to you or a family member, you may need to consider legal action.
This is particularly true if there are medical bills that need to be paid as a result of the injury. You may also suffer from lost wages from being out of work, bills for ongoing treatment or therapy, and the pain and suffering that you have had to endure as a result of the product’s deficiency. If this is the case, you deserve to be compensated for your troubles.
Note that a business taking care of a product that has been recalled – either by fixing it, refunding it, or swapping it out for a new version – does not absolve itself from liability for any injuries that have been sustained by people who used the product.
Indeed, if you’ve been hurt by a product, chances are others have been, too. So, if you do decide to take action, be assured that there are likely others in the same position as you.
After you receive medical treatment, contact a product liability lawyer. We’ll be able to listen to your story and give you our honest opinion about your legal options. I can’t say that everyone has a case. But I can give you an honest evaluation of your options under the law and make an informed recommendation as to what you should do next.
If you do have to file a claim against those responsible for the dangerous or defective product, a trusted attorney will be invaluable.
If you have questions about product recalls and protecting yourself from them, contact a product liability attorney. Being proactive is the only way to make sure you and your family can stay safe.