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Consumer Rights Following Product Recalls

Almost daily, news reports inform Americans of yet more product recalls. Tainted meat and produce lead to outbreaks of sickness or even death. Lead in the paint on children's toys may cause permanent brain damage. Faulty wiring or poor design of small electronics could result in fires. Tires may disintegrate. Car accelerators may stick. And the list goes on.

From food to furniture toys to vehicles, nothing seems completely safe. However, governmental agencies have collaborated to create an online resource, www.Recalls.gov, to inform consumers of potential or known risks in the products they use daily. Further, if a recall is issued, the website provides vital information necessary to respond.

Standard Remedies

In most cases, consumers have the right to return a recalled product for either a refund or a repair. In some instances, consumers may also have the legal right to additional compensation, especially if injury or death has occurred as a result of the defective product or products.

The defective or dangerous products that are often most likely to cause life-altering injury, or even death, are vehicles. Each year, unacceptable numbers of injuries and fatalities occur as the result of dangerous designs, systems or parts used in cars, SUVs, motorcycles and trucks. The unfortunate fact is that the majority of these accidents could have been prevented if manufacturers had taken appropriate safety measures before releasing the motor vehicles for sale. Tragically, corporate greed, rather than public safety, often influences automakers to quickly take a vehicle to market even if they have knowledge of defects.

Legal Options

One of the best steps a consumer can take after a product recall is to speak with an experienced product liability lawyer. In a consultation, the attorney will review the information and facts surrounding the recall and consider any incidents of harm the consumer has experienced as a result of the defective product. The attorney will then provide the consumer with information regarding legal rights and options.

Consumers who pursue civil lawsuit and win may receive financial compensation above what was already offered in the terms of a product recall. Because legal expenses may outweigh any financial award, however, it is important for consumers to consider all factors prior to moving forward. In the end, some choose to forego further legal action. But for others, even though civil litigation is costly, holding responsible parties accountable for their greed and negligence is priceless.

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