Product liability personal injury lawsuits have the second highest damage awards at $300,000. Thanks to efforts made by government agencies, consumer rights in the United States are becoming better protected from dangerous products, but people still suffer injuries from products. Here are a couple of examples of famous product recalls.
One of the more recent major recalls in the United States was in 2009 and involved peanut butter products that had been contaminated with salmonella during the manufacturing process. The peanut butter, which was manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America, infected hundreds of people in more than 40 states before the source of the contamination was found.
When it was discovered that peanut butter was what was infecting people with salmonella, a recall was introduced for years’ worth of peanut butter made by the Peanut Corporation of America. According to The New York Times, the manufacturing plant in Georgia was the source of the contamination, and the Food and Drug Administration (which protects consumer rights) found that due to the state of the factory it should not have been producing foodstuffs at all.
Cabbage Patch Doll 1997
The number of toy-related injuries in the United States in 1997 was 141,300. That same year, Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime Kids dolls were recalled, and in this case it was the result of a flaw in design that made the toys dangerous for children and caused injuries.
According to The New York Times, the toy featured a mechanical jaw which opened and closed to mimic chewing. The toy came with plastic carrots and french fries, but had no off switch and could not tell the difference between the accompanying toys and the fingers and hair of the children who played with it. The toy was eventually recalled.
Basically, product liability and consumer rights comes down to three types of problems. The first is a defect in manufacturing, which is exemplified by the first case described here. The formula of the peanut butter was okay, but a mistake made during the manufacturing caused it to become dangerous. The second type of product liability is defects in design, which is exemplified by the second case described here. The dolls were manufactured to specifications, but the initial design of the doll had a dangerous flaw since it could not differentiate between a child’s finger and the plastic food. The last type of issue is failure to warn, which involved a product that causes injuries because a lack of or an inadequate warning label.