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Affected by a product recall? Here’s what you need to know.

When you spend money on a consumer product, whether you buy a new vehicle or a kitchen appliance, you expect the product to perform its primary functions properly and to do so without putting you or others in your household at risk. Unfortunately, defective products reach the market all the time.

Companies don’t adequately test their designs, leading to preventable and major issues, like appliances that tip over. Other companies outsource some of their components and fail to test them for safety and reliability. An example of this kind of defect might include the waves of vehicle recalls in recent years initiated because of defective airbags all produced by the same company. Even a bad day on the production line might mean that unsafe products make it to retail stores and consumers.

What are your rights if you suffer property damage or injuries because of a defective consumer product?

You can potentially hold the company accountable

There are numerous factors that determine your rights when dealing with the fallout of a defective product situation. Whether or not the company initiated a formal recall and whether they notified you of that recall will be a major consideration. The extent of the injury or damage caused by the defective product is also important.

Just because a manufacturer recalled a product does not automatically and completely absolve them of responsibility when that product fails. Provided that you did not have an opportunity to return or repair the product in a timely manner or that your incident occurred prior to the announcement of the recall, you may be in a good position to request financial compensation for your injuries and lost wages, as well as any property damage losses you incurred because of the defective product.

You can ask for compensation after a recall

A company recall won’t end your legal rights. A recall might even help your claim as you can show that the manufacturer knew that the product could be dangerous and failed to advise you of that risk or to help you correct the matter quickly enough to protect you. Businesses frequently have product liability insurance or general liability insurance policies that can reimburse those who suffer injuries or massive property damage because of a defective product.

However, insurance companies and business lawyers alike may be quite pushy when working with those hurt by defective products. You might face high-pressure negotiation tactics or feel like you have to accept an unfairly low settlement. Those facing off against a big business because of a defective product may need help building their case and getting the full compensation they deserve.

Understanding your rights when dealing with the aftermath of a defective product can limit the lasting damages you and your family suffer because of a company’s negligence.