There is a Latin phrase caveat emptor which means “let the buyer beware.” Essentially, the phrase stands as a warning to consumers that those manufacturing or selling products do not always have their best interests in mind. In fact, those driven by profits may do things that are dangerous for others.
You cannot trust businesses to always abide by best practices for the industry or even to comply with state and federal product regulations. When a company releases a dangerous product, you can typically hold them accountable with a product liability claim.
However, your rights may seem less clear if the company has recalled the product in question. Do you lose your right to hold the company accountable if the product that injured you is subject to a recall?
Recalls do not absolve a manufacturer of all liability
Initiating a recall when a company discovers defective components or issues with a product’s design can help the business substantially limit its liability. The faster they take defective products off the market or make repairs to expensive products like vehicles, the less risk consumers have in the lower the chances of major claims against the company.
Those who buy products do not always learn about recalls until after something goes wrong. Especially when companies are not proactive enough about reaching out to those who have purchased their products or publicizing the recall, they may have some liability for any injuries or property damage that occur because of their defective products even after the recall. Consumers who didn’t know about the recall or who couldn’t access replacements or repairs in a timely manner may still have rights.
You may file an insurance claim or go to court
Depending on the circumstances, a product liability claim might lead to an insurance claim. Many businesses that manufacture products carry special insurance to minimize their liability if someone gets hurt because of their products.
If there isn’t appropriate insurance or if you suffer extraordinary losses because of a defective product, you may need to take a business to civil court to seek full compensation for the consequences of their negligent practices. Understanding when you can take action if you get hurt by a defective product can reduce the long-term losses you suffer.