By Dan Christensen, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney and Owner of DC Law
Every day, we use and consume products manufactured from around the globe. We trust that they are safe to be consumed or used in our lives, as there are many agencies and safety measures in place to ensure that’s the case. On occasion, however, unsafe or potentially life-threatening consumer products and foods make it onto the market, compromising the safety and health of our families, pets, and selves.
When a product is recalled, it’s done so either through a consumer complaint or when a manufacturer finds that its product is defective and potentially hazardous. What then happens, a report is filed with the corresponding federal agency that oversees the safety of that specific product, and a press campaign is launched asking for the return of the product for either a replacement or a full refund. If it’s a part of an automobile, for instance, then either a recall and replacement of the part is called for or augmentations to the car itself are made to make the part safe. Most of the time, these recalls pose low actual risk and are taken to ensure the safety of the public. But in some instances, there can be serious health or safety repercussions of a faulty product, up to and including death.
Here is a list of the U.S. agencies and the products they oversee:
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – The CPSC is responsible for monitoring more than 15,000 types of consumer items used in homes, schools, and sports.
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA regulates food, medicine, and other products used for the body, including medical devices, vaccines, cosmetics, pet food, tobacco products, and prescription medications.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – The USDA receives recall requests pertaining to meat, poultry, and eggs via a subdivision called the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The EPA receives reports regarding defective products that pose a risk to the environment.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – This agency receives reports pertaining to defective automobiles and automotive parts.
United States Coast Guard – This agency is responsible for monitoring reports regarding boats and watercraft.
What To Do If You Have a Defective or Recalled Product
If an Injury Occurs
First and foremost, if you or someone in your family have been harmed by a recalled product, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you do seek medical attention, be sure to document every visit. You may also be entitled to compensation for any injuries that were sustained by a faulty or mislabeled product and should seek legal advice from a product defect lawyer to discuss your options.
Stay Calm & Read the Recall Notice
If you discover your family may have been affected by a product recall, it's important to remain calm. Most recalls are not going to put your family in immediate danger, but they do require immediate action. From there, you should seek out the official recall notice, which will include important information about the manufacturer and how to contact them, pertinent product information (i.e. a description, a serial or series number, date code, etc.), details about the nature of the recall, and more.
Properly Dispose of the Product
The recall notice should include details on how to properly dispose of or return the recalled product. It's important to follow those instructions step by step to ensure the safety of your family.
Check if You're Entitled to Free Repairs
Depending on the nature of the recall, you may be entitled to a free repair or replacement for your recalled product.
Contact the Manufacturer
If you still have questions about why a product was recalled, what to do with a defective product, or how to seek out a repair, you can contact the manufacturer for more information and guidance.
Working With a Defective Product Lawyer
When all is said and done, the biggest priority is the safety of you and your loved ones. We know hearing about a recall or experiencing the consequences of a faulty product can leave you feeling scared. Ease that fear with the above steps. Keep yourself informed about what’s happening, and try to remain calm.
You also don’t have to navigate this process alone. If you’ve been harmed by a consumer product, defective product lawyers can help you navigate the legal process to ensure your family recovers for any damages suffered. Remember, you have rights and there are processes you can take to protect your family and get the compensation and justice you deserve.