In the United States and in Florida, there are product regulations regarding consumer products that make sure they’re safe to use as intended. Still, it’s not uncommon for a product to be discovered to cause harm after it’s been released. In those cases, it is recalled.
Recently a large salad dressing manufacturer recalled two of its products. This product recall was voluntarily done, because the dressings contained egg, which wasn’t noted on the label. This could potentially spell bad news for anyone who is allergic to eggs, since they could have a life-threatening reaction to the product.
While companies do their best to make sure those who can be impacted by a recall are aware of it, the information doesn’t always reach everyone. You probably know that if a product hurts you, then you may be able to sue for damages under product liability law. But what can you do if you’re injured by a product you didn’t realize was recalled? Read on to find out.
Product Liability Claims in Florida
In the Sunshine State, the law allows someone who has been injured by a product that is defective to bring a lawsuit in order to recoup losses and cover damages. In most cases, it is possible for someone injured by a product to pursue product liability claims against one or several of the entities involved in bringing a product to the shelves for a consumer, such as:
- The manufacturer of the product
- The seller of the product
- The distributor of the product
- The retailer of the product
Who is responsible for losses and damages due to the product’s defectiveness depends on the facts surrounding the case. But under Florida law, there are three product liability categories recognized, which are:
This occurs when a product has a design that is inherently dangerous, even if it was used in the way it was intended and manufactured safely.
A product can be designed correctly and in a safe way but, due to a defect during manufacturing, it becomes unsafe. This situation may entitle someone to seek damages if the product caused them harm or injury.
If a product wasn’t properly labeled to warn of any risks associated with its use, then a failure to warn case may be warranted.
How Do Products Get Recalled?
In Florida, there are usually two ways that a potential defect can come to the attention of a manufacturer. These include:
- Through user complaints or their own inspections
- Through discovery by a regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration
If a manufacturer does not issue a product recall themselves, agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Food and Drug Administration will make the call. A recall normally involves the information a consumer needs to understand the risks the defect can pose to them and how to replace or repair it if they’ve purchased it.
Product Liability Claims and Recalled Products
Many people wonder how a product recall can impact their ability to seek damages from a defective product. Many courts in Florida view product recalls as evidence that a product has some kind of defect, so that’s a good thing.
However, anyone who is bringing a claim of product liability still must show the court that the product that led to your injury was defective, and there’s a direct link between the injury sustained and the defect.
If you knowingly used a product that was recalled for safety reasons, then that may negate your claim for liability and have your case dismissed. This is a tactic that a company may use to try to get out of a lawsuit – to claim you knew you were using something that was defective.
It’s important to note that they must still prove that you knowingly used a defective product. They might need to show evidence that you received a direct notice that the product was recalled. Thus, you were made aware of its risks.
That doesn’t mean a product recall issued through a press release or a website is enough to absolve the manufacturer of liability. In most cases, you must be directly informed of the recall of the product. If you were not directly informed, then you may still have a case for product liability.
If you have been injured by a defective product, even one that was recalled, there are legal options to help you get the compensation you deserve. Reach out to an experienced attorney to help and let them take a look at your case.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.