Can product liability be alleged before a product recall issues?

Ford Motor Company recently announced a recall of its Ford Ranger pickup trucks due to an issue with the vehicles’ airbags, made by Takata Corporation. In some cases, the chemical propellant in the air bags may become explosive. An estimated 400,000 Ford pickup trucks may be affected. 

However, the recall is not specific to Ford, but rather many other vehicles containing airbags made by Takata. The latest estimate is around 28 million vehicles, involving 14 different motor vehicle manufacturers. 

Unfortunately, the instant Ford recall is not entirely proactive. Over 100 injuries and 10 fatalities have been attributed to the defect. This begs the question of how a consumer injured by a defective product can protect his or her rights before a recall has been issued.

Our law firm focuses on personal injury law, including product liability claims. Our website describes our approach to investigating a potential product liability claim. In our first meeting, we assess the severity of the client’s injury and whether the element of causation is present. In other words, we evaluate a client’s prospects of being able to prove that his or her injuries resulted from the alleged defect.

At the same time, we assess whether a prospective client’s damages warrant the time and cost of litigation. Many costs can go into a damages calculation, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and/or loss of consortium. That assessment includes an analysis of the litigation risks, which may be higher in the event the defendant could assert defenses such as contributory negligence, product misuse or assumption of the risk.

Source: al.com, “Ford Ranger recall: 400,000 trucks recalled due to possibly deadly airbag problems,” Leada Gore, Jan. 26, 2016

Related Article: Birmingham Bar Association, “Product Liability Claims,” Nat Bryan, Aug. 23, 2002

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