Product Liability Lawyers
On May 1, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning to consumers to immediately stop using LayZ Board hoverboards. In its investigation of a Harrisburg house fire that killed two children in March, the CPSC found that a LayZ Board that was plugged into an electrical outlet to recharge started the fire.
Hoverboards, the two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters that hit U.S. stores in 2015, have been blamed for at least 60 house fires. These devices are manufactured in China and are often equipped with unstable lithium-ion batteries that do not meet U.S. electrical standards.
Many consumers may be unaware that thousands – if not millions – of products are recalled every year due to potentially dangerous defects. Sadly, many of those recalls occur only after products have caused serious injuries.
If you’ve suffered an injury and believe a faulty product is the cause, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our product liability attorneys at Wapner Newman to request your free consultation: 1-800-LAW-6600.
Companies are required by law to report to the CPSC when they learn of a product defect that has a “substantial risk of injury to consumers” or an “unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.” That law applies not only to product manufacturers, but also to importers, distributors, and retailers. Yet, many companies fail to report defects in a timely manner, and they continue selling dangerous products.
The CPSC has issued large civil fines to companies for knowingly deceiving regulators about defective products. These were among the biggest fines in the past six months:
- In April, Viking Range agreed to a fine of $4.65 million for failing to report a serious defect in its ovens. The CPSC said Viking received 170 reports between 2008 and 2014 that the ranges had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off, generating extreme heat. Two people suffered burns trying to disconnect the power to the appliances. There were also five reports of property damage caused by the extreme heat.
- In February, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., agreed to pay $5.8 million for failing to report a defect that caused hot water, coffee, and coffee grounds to spray out of Keurig coffeemakers, burning at least 100 consumers. Some consumers suffered second- and third-degree burns.
- Last November, PetSmart Inc., agreed to pay a $4.25 million fine for not immediately reporting a dangerous defect, and for then misleading the CPSC about the number of products subject to the recall. PetSmart received 19 reports between 2011 and 2014 that its Grreat Choice and Top Fin fish bowls had broken or shattered unexpectedly and seriously injured at least a dozen people. Some people suffered severed tendons. The CPSC said PetSmart then knowingly misrepresented the number of fish bowls to be recalled, stating the defect applied to 10,200 products, when in fact an additional 81,300 fish bowls bought had the same defect.
Other Types of Risk
Some products come with a certain amount of risk. Lawnmowers, for example, can cause serious injuries. Manufacturers avoid liability for those injuries by attaching warning labels and including text in the owner’s manual about safe usage. But when those warnings are missing, companies could be held responsible if their products cause injuries.
Labeling is especially important for food, drinks, medication, medical devices, and cosmetics, because some people are severely allergic to certain ingredients. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates these products and handles related recalls.
Several products have been recalled this year, due to the presence of undeclared egg, milk, and nuts. The FDA recently recalled a frozen lasagna product because its label did not disclose that the product contained egg. One person with an egg allergy suffered anaphylaxis after eating the product. Anaphylaxis is a dangerous allergic reaction that can cause hives, swelling of the mouth, constriction of the throat, and breathing problems.
Last year, the FDA announced a nationwide recall for a brand of frozen vegetables contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause severe illness, miscarriage, and fatal infections. Seven people in three states were hospitalized with Listeria after eating the product.
Justice for Injury Victims
When you think a mislabeled or defective product is what caused your serious illness or injury, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you cover your lost wages and medical costs. And by talking to a product liability attorney, you’re helping to spread the word about dangerous products, which could in turn protect other people from the same injury or illness.
Don’t wait to ask for help. Call our office today, or contact us online, to ask for your free, no-obligation consultation: 1-800-LAW-6600.