A government safety agency estimates that deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. The majority of the serious product recalls in the U.S. each year involve children’s toys, cribs, sleepers, heaters, strollers, food, auto and pharmaceutical industry products.
Once a product is released and is in widespread use, unforeseen safety issues can lead to a recall. Sometimes companies discover a problem and recall products on their own. Other times, a company is forced to recall a product after consumers, safety agencies and lawyers raise concerns.
Because so many products are put to market every day, several large U.S government safety agencies work to regulate safe commerce. These include:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also work alongside these agencies, and alert the public when they discover a potential consumer and public health hazard.
A product recall is a warning to consumers after the discovery of safety issues or product defects that could endanger consumers or patients, or place manufacturers and distributors at risk of legal action.
Unfortunately, some products on the American market pose dangers for months or even years before a recall is issued, often only when a company is forced to recall a product or when legal pressure mounts from an Ohio Product Recall Lawyer. Common consumer product recalls often include the following:
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati Product Liability Attorney and Ohio Product Recalls Lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of catastrophic injury and civil litigation claims.
A product recall issued by a company or safety agency is a recommendation to return a product to the manufacturer due to a faulty product or a consumer safety issue. The U.S. Consumer Protection Agency works to protect the public from defective products that have the potential to cause injury by burns and fires, electrocution, toxic exposure, and inherent design defects.
Many products produced abroad and imported into the U.S. must meet safety guidelines regardless of where they are manufactured. Manufacturers or retailers may be held responsible for any injuries sustained by consumers, and can be accountable by product liability laws.
It is important to note that not all product recalls are handled by the U.S. Consumer Protection Agency. The FAA oversees aerospace safety, the FDA handled drugs and medical devices, and the NHTSA handles automotive products. A few other government agencies handle the remainder, including contaminated foods.
Serious injury caused by consumer products can prompt safety agencies to either issue a warning to recall a consumer product. It is crucial for individuals, manufacturers, and retail distributors to report serious injuries that occur from use of a defective product. Be sure to always report a product-related injury to the proper safety agency.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) aims to protect the public from risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products. They work to ensure the safety of products like commonly pose dangers, such as home gym equipment, children’s toys, clothing, cribs, power tools, and household chemicals.
Consumers and families face potential injury from products that pose fire, electrical, chemical, and mechanical hazards. The most common hazards that prompt Ohio product recalls include the following:
• Fire and burns
• Choking, suffocation and strangulation
• Fall Hazard
• Electrocution / Electric Shock
• Vehicle Accident
• Poisoning (lead, carbon monoxide)
• Explosion / Projectiles
Food safety is a huge issue through the nation each year. According to the CDC, one in six Americans get sick from contaminated food each year. More than 3,000 annual deaths are attributed to food-related illnesses, most of which are preventable.
The CDC works with the Food and Drug Administration to identify health risks in consumables, but the outbreaks are sometimes overwhelming and spread too quickly to prevent public health risks.
When an FDA-regulated product like a drug or medical device is either defective or potentially harmful, the FDA is responsible for issuing product recalls, which is the most effective means for protecting the public.
The FDA is usually alerted of an issue when a company discovers a problem, the agency inspects a manufacturing facility and determines the potential for a recall, or the FDA receives reports of health problems through various reporting systems.
In many cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contacts the FDA, often after the drugs and devices have already injured or possibly caused the death of unknowing consumers. FDA guidelines categorize all recalls into one of three classes, according to the varying seriousness of the hazard:
• Drugs for human use
• Drugs for animal use
• Medical devices
• Radiation-emitting products
• Blood and blood-related products
• Transplantable human tissue
• Animal feed
• Contaminated foods
Defective drugs and unregulated nutritional supplements fill the U.S. market each year, endangering consumers and American patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiates weekly recalls for defective drugs, often after injuries have occurred and lawsuits are filed against negligent drug makers and pharmaceutical companies.
The FDA recalls defective drugs for a myriad of safety issues, including a lack of pre-market testing, drug contamination, and drug injuries reported by patients. Sometimes only after hundreds or thousands of adverse event reports are filed by doctors and patients are drugs taken off the market, discontinued or voluntarily recalled by manufacturers.
Warning labels and “black box” warnings may be applied, and consumers are left wondering if the drug they have been taking for years may be dangerous or the root cause of an existing injury or illness.
Pharmaceutical companies tend to understate the risks of a drug and hype the benefits of a drug, in order to sell more and build profits. Even as the FDA works to regulate the giant drug market, their efforts often lag and injury cases must be filed by plaintiffs and an Ohio defective drug lawyer and product liability attorney.
In the auto industry, the number of product recalls has increased recently. Low priced production often leads to a hit in quality throughout the supply chain. As a result, technical failures are more likely to occur now than in the past.
In a recent, massive consumer product crisis, nearly 70 million Takata air bag inflators are under recall in the U.S. The defective Takata air bag inflators show a high risk of ruptures during air bag deployment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the risk posed by the airbag inflators in recalled vehicles is grave, and it is critical they be repaired now to avoid more deaths and serious injuries. Eight confirmed U.S. fatalities have been found due to Takata ruptures.
The oversight of the CPSC, FDA and NHTSA has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years, however, each year many new dangerous products still hit the market and face recalls.
Because of the risks posed, and the negligence of manufacturers, there are thousands of pending lawsuits against makers of unsafe consumer products. Victims of hazardous products, such as contaminated food, faulty drugs and medical devices, and defective auto parts may have claims against a company and receive compensation. Contact an experienced attorney to find out what legal options may be available.
Product liability law holds manufacturers responsible for a large portion of liability regarding injuries directly related to defective or faulty consumer products.
America’s manufacturers have a moral and legal duty to ensure the safety of all products they market and distribute. More importantly, they have a responsibility to properly warn consumers of any defect their product may contain and issue prompt safety recalls.
In the event of an injury or death, compensation can be sought to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for negligence and a disregard for the safety of consumers.
For a complete investigation and to build the strongest case possible, contact an attorney with considerable experience in product liability law and Ohio product recalls.
Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.
In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.
A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:
(1) Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:
These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).
As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.
(2) Defective design and/or formulation:
Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.
Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)
(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:
All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.
The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.
The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.
Risks: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product: (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.
Benefits: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)
Defenses for Defective Design: (1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).
A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective airbags, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.
Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.
The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care. Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.
Manufacturing Defect Examples:
In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:
Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims: (1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).
Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.
Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.
Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:
The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.
Our Firm will help you find the answers. The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered.
Experience: Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.
Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.
Results: Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury, automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases. The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of the largest companies in the world
Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.
Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their Cincinnati product liability lawyer
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law.
(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.
(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.