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How does a product recall work?

Previous blog posts discussed products pulled from the shelves of stores because of a recall. While a product recall might give the impression that a product is unsafe and has caused injuries, such is not always the case. It is important for residents of Camden County, New Jersey, particularly those who have been hurt by unsafe products, to understand how a product recall actually works.

The most important thing to remember is that a product recall is not designed to compensate New Jersey consumers for their injuries because of a defective product. The only remedy a resident can expect from a recall is that they will get a new, safe product, a refund or a free repair of the product to make it safe. If someone wants to get compensation for his or her injuries, he or she will have to file a products liability lawsuit to do so.

New Jersey residents should also remember that a product has been recalled does not mean a products liability lawsuit is going to be a slam-dunk case. Products are recalled for a variety of reasons, and a recent recall could have nothing to do with a person's injuries and may even relate to a completely different aspect of the product at issue.

Perhaps, more importantly, product recalls are usually done "voluntarily," in that the regulators rarely, if ever, have to legally force a company to take a dangerous product off the shelves. In many cases, the maker of the product self-reports a potentially unsafe condition in a product long before any actual injuries happen.

Finally, there is no central product safety regulator as many different agencies have authority to recall different types of products, depending on that agency's area of expertise. As a result, there is no one precise standard for how "unsafe" a product has to be before it is recalled.

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