Posts tagged with "consumer protection"

3.4 million car recall may affect Massachusetts consumers

Automobiles are a mainstay of our culture, and may be considered a necessity by many. Every day Massachusetts residents drive their cars to work, school, shopping and to visit loved ones. No innocent driver expects to become the victim of a defective product. Yet defective automobiles have the potential to cause serious damage and injuries to people nationwide.

Four major automakers have issued massive recalls affecting nearly 3.4 million vehicles sold worldwide. The vehicles were sold with an allegedly defective airbag system. When the passenger side airbags deploy, they do so with enough power to cause fires or injure passengers with flying debris. The vehicles affected were made by Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Honda. All the airbags came from a single supplier. Although the vehicles are being recalled world wide, specifically, 561,000 Hondas sold in the United States and 170,000 Toyotas sold in the United States are subject to the recall. Nissans and Mazdas sold in the United States may also be affected, although it is not yet known how many vehicles will be recalled.

When a victim is injured due to a defective vehicle, in order to hold the manufacturer and seller of the vehicle liable, the victim may bring a lawsuit under the doctrine of strict liability. Through this doctrine, if the victim may be awarded damages if they can prove they were injured because the vehicle or one of its parts were unreasonably dangerous. In addition, the victim must show that they were injured even though they were using the vehicle in its intended manner and had not altered the vehicle in any substantial way. It is becoming increasingly common for punitive damages to be awarded in strict liability lawsuits, as a means to hold the makers and sellers of defective vehicles accountable and to encourage these entities to fix these defects in the future.

Defective products, such as automobiles, can injure thousands of unsuspecting consumers. Those injured by defective products may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney, to see what compensation, if any, they may be entitled to.

Source: Christian Science Monitor “Toyota, Honda, Nissan recall 3.4 million vehicles for faulty airbags,” Schuyler Velasco, April 11, 2013

Farm Rich food products sold in Massachusetts may contain E. coli

Manufactured food products must be meticulously prepared with consumer safety in mind. The failure to do so could result in recalled products, sick consumers or even a product liability lawsuit.

Massachusetts residents are being warned of yet another instance of food contamination. This most recent incident involves certain products produced by Farm Rich, including mini-pizzas, mini-quesadillas and cheese steaks. The United States Department of Agriculture has recalled these products after determining they may have been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. The products were sold in Walmart stores located in several states, including Massachusetts.

One of the most common causes of food poisoning is the E. coli bacteria. This bacteria lives in the intestines of various livestock animals. Improper or unsanitary slaughtering techniques could cause the bacteria to be transferred to the meat. If the meat is not thoroughly cooked, a person could become sick. The bacteria can also be found on improperly handled leafy greens, raw milk and contaminated drinking water. It is easily spread between people if they do not take care to thoroughly wash their hands.

Symptoms of E. coli include bloody diarrhea and in some cases kidney failure. In the most severe cases, people may become blind or may need to have some of their bowel removed. Because these long-term consequences are so life-altering, those sickened by E. coli bacteria may wish to pursue a products liability lawsuit against the company that produced the food that caused the illness. These victims may be able to recover for past and future medical expenses, as well as other damages.

Safe food handling both at the manufacturing plant, at stores and at the home can all contribute to ensuring no one falls ill to E. coli. But should someone become sick due to unsafe food products, they may be able to bring a products liability suit to recover for their losses.

Source: WoonsocketPatch, “State Health Department Warns of E Coli Contamination,” Rob Borkowski, April 2, 2013