Product Recalls: Not a Perfect Defense in a Product Liability Case

Product Recalls: Not a Perfect Defense in a Product Liability Case

We usually get one of these on our favorite produce every two years or so; usually due to some kind of bacterial outbreak. And when someone becomes sick from the consumption of an item and a product-related epidemic develops, the distributor issues a product recall.

Recently, Channel 3 News Las Vegas reported a Las Vegas resident died in a car accident that also injured her 4 grandchildren. And after investigations concluded, it was determined by witness accounts from her grandchildren that she lost control of the vehicle.

What Channel 3 News LV also found out was that Toyota issued a recall in 2010 that included 2007 Toyota Camry models, a model of which she happened to be driving.

To be more specific, the recall mentioned that the accelerator pedal could become stuck in a partially pressed down position, thus increasing the risk of a crash.

From here, the average person might think that after the manufacturer has issued the recall that they’re 100% off the hook for the defective product in a personal injury lawsuit, but that’s completely untrue.

In a case of product liability, even though the manufacturer issued the recall, the manufacturer still has to prove the recall reached the plaintiff in question. Also, not issuing a recall altogether leaves immense cracks in their defense should any kind of product liability claim be made.

Then, potential jurors will be asked if they received the recall notice. If they did, they’d be ineligible to serve because any testimony would be considered biased.

Finally, in order for a product liability claim to be successful, you must prove the basic elements of a product liability case; that the product in question had a defect and that the defect caused your injuries, which can be done with photos, eyewitness reports, and other evidence.

Now if the grandchildren were to get legal representation through a family member or guardian, it’s highly likely that they would win the case as it has already been established that the car was defective due to the recall.

The children also told family that the car started speeding on its own and their grandmother said “to just hold onto anything.” A scenario that matches an effect of the defect stated in the recall.

One only needs to put two and two together to see the defect caused the injuries and death, and if Toyota wants to avoid penalties, they’ll need to prove that the grandmother received the recall, but their success in this is highly unlikely especially considering she’s already deceased.

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