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Why do dangerous products go unreported?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2021 | Firm News

Louisiana consumers should be able to trust that the products they buy will be both safe and effective. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dangerous products out there. Despite an early warning system that has been in place for more than 30 years, dangerous and defective products still manage to stay on the shelves while continuing to cause serious harm.

According to federal law, companies are required to alert the Consumer Product Safety Commission of lawsuits that allege their products caused serious injury or death. This law is more commonly known under the name Section 37. According to Consumer Reports, Section 37 is largely a broken system.

How is Section 37 supposed to work?

When lawmakers originally proposed the law in 1990, Section 37 would have required companies to report every lawsuit alleging injury or death. Lobbying efforts led to a change in the requirements. Section 37 now requires companies to report to the CPSC only when three lawsuits for a specific product are found or settled in favor of the plaintiff. Companies only have to report these lawsuits when all three are resolved within a two-year period.

Consumer advocates say that Section 37 is ineffective because of the loose requirements for reporting. A company could be facing dozens of lawsuits for defective products but never have to report any of them to CPSC. As such, CPSC is unlikely to be aware of any problems and therefore unable to take action or investigate.

Do companies even know about Section 37?

Laws cannot be effective if no one knows about them. Many companies simply do not know about Section 37. According to CPSC’s acting chairman, they receive fewer than 15 reports a year.

However, ignorance of Section 37 is not the only reason for the lack of reports. Some companies appear to intentionally withhold this information from CPSC, including the popular art company Rose Art. Rose Art had to pay $300,000 for allegedly failing to notify the agency about a defective product in a timely manner.

Defective products cause serious harm

Companies have a duty to protect their customers from unnecessary harm and danger. Sadly, some companies prioritize profit over safety. Even consumers who do their best to research product safety are not immune to dangerous products. Some of the harm that defective products can cause include:

  • Blindness
  • Burns
  • Amputation

If you suffered an injury because of a dangerous product, you may need help to get your life back on track. Victims in your situation often struggle to keep up with their medical bills, especially if they are out of work and without a paycheck. Successfully pursuing a product liability lawsuit to completion is just one way in which you can secure compensation for your injuries.