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Product Defects: Whose Fault is It?

Whose Fault Is It? Defective ProductsWhat would you think about a coffee pot whose handle came off when the pot became hot enough to, oh, make coffee? Or a ladder that would collapse under the weight of an average person? How about a refrigerator with defective wiring that starts a house fire? Don’t laugh. All of these things (and many, many more) have actually happened. Defects in design, workmanship, or materials are no laughing matter, especially when the end result is serious injury or even death.

Better Safe Than Sorry

To avoid purchasing or using a defective products, you can protect yourself and your family staying up-to-date on product recalls. To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six US federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create www.recalls.gov — a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls. Visit this site periodically or before making an important purchase (i.e. a new car, a baby stroller, an electric heater, etc.)

Recent Recalls

Feb. 12: Toyota is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Toyota Tacoma and Lexus RX350 vehicles and certain model year 2012 Toyota Rav4 vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the brake system contains a brake actuator that adjusts the fluid pressure of each wheel cylinder. An electrical component within the actuator may experience an increased resistance resulting in the illumination of various warning lights, including those for the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, Antilock Brake System (ABS), and Traction Control system. If this occurs, these systems could become inoperative, reducing the directional control assistance, increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota will notify owners, and Toyota and Lexus dealers will update the software for the Skid Control electronic control unit, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

Feb. 16: BebeLove™ Baby Walkers failed to meet federal safety standards. Specifically, style number 358 can fit through a standard doorway and is not designed to stop at the edge of a step as required by the federal safety standard. In addition, style number 368 contains leg openings that allow the child to slip down until the child’s head can become entrapped at the neck. Babies using these walkers can be seriously injured or killed. If you purchased one of these baby walkers, you are urged to call BebeLove toll-free at (888) 464-1218 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at www.bebeloveusa.com and click on “Recall Contact” for more information.

Even though litigation in product liability cases can often be complex and convoluted, Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. attorneys understand product liability law, know what to investigate, and are here to serve you.

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