The Effect of a Recall on your Product Liability Claim

Graco recently recalled 3.7 million child car seats and the U.S. government has requested the recall of another 1.8 million, in one of the biggest car seat recalls in U.S. history. Although the defect does not affect the ability of the seat to restrain a child in the event of an accident, it may be difficult or impossible to unlatch the child in the event of an emergency.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the Graco defect, and the company has been wise to respond to the issue promptly. Consumers, however, should not be misled into thinking that a recall means that a company is no longer responsible for injuries sustained after its announcement is made—a product recall does not in any way affect the ability of a person to sue for injuries sustained before, during or after the recall.

Nor does it guarantee a successful lawsuit.

Recalls Do Not Create Automatic Liability or Immunity for Manufacturers

The major issue in a products liability case concerning a product that has been recalled is whether or not the recall can be cited as evidence. Some courts disallow evidence of a recall, concerned that it may make a jury prejudiced and that the jury members will not look seriously enough at the other evidence—this has been the case in some of the recent “Google Mistrials”. Others allow evidence of a recall in certain circumstances to establish the harmful nature of the product or to show that the manufacturer was aware of the defect that caused the injury.

Recall evidence is generally permitted to:

  • Show that a recall was involuntary or was otherwise controlled by another party
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of an alternative design or precautionary measure
  • Impeach a witness

In any event, to win a products liability case, you have to prove that the particular product that you were using was defective and that that particular defect was the cause of your injuries. A defendant may be able to exclude evidence of a recall if it is not deemed relevant under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Get the Money You Deserve

Although a recall is no guarantee of success or failure in a products liability lawsuit, it does show the existence of a large-scale problem of which the manufacturer is aware. If you have been financial or physically harmed by a defective product, a consultation with an experienced products liability attorney is highly advisable to assure that you get the money you deserve.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS  (1-800- 474-4487)  We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.