Can Product Recall be a Defense to Defective Product Liability?
Despite extensive testing, manufacturing defects sometimes only become apparent after items are used by the public. When a manufacturer or retailer becomes aware of a defect, they should take steps to minimize their risk by recalling the product as quickly as possible in order to avoid further accidents.
Companies that know their product is defective should:
- Contact customers directly, if possible ― For high value items, such as new cars, it may be possible to contact purchasers directly since their information is often known to the seller, and many of these purchasers will have warranties and insurance as well
- Publicize the defect widely ― Notices in newspapers, magazines and on TV and radio demonstrate the intention to notify customers of potential problems
- List the defective item with the Consumer Product Safety Commission ― The CPSC lists recalls on its website with details of the problem and proposed remedies
- Offer to collect the defective goods ― Making life easy for customers by collecting defective items reduces the chance that an item that is deemed defective will be used
- Provide a replacement ― If the item is something needed by its owner on a regular basis, providing a replacement while the defect is being repaired provides additional incentive for the customer to promptly return it
Remedial actions do not provide definitive defenses
The effectiveness of these factors as a defense against liability depends greatly on the type of item that is defective, the defect itself and the type of injury or damage it caused. A manufacturer or retailer that does all of the above may be more successful in defending itself against defective liability claims than one that does nothing, but none of these actions are absolute defenses and every claim will vary depending on the circumstances of the individual case.
If you have been injured because of a defective product ― whether or not you had notice of the defect ― a consultation with a product liability lawyer who is familiar with the laws of New Jersey can help you with your case against the company who made the product or sold it to you.
Hoffman DiMuzio is a New Jersey-based law firm that handles many defective products cases. We serve clients in Southern and Central New Jersey and South Eastern Pennsylvania.
Publication approved by Ernest L. Alvino, Jr., Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio