K&F IN THE NEWS: James L. Ferraro, Equity Partner of Kelley & Ferraro, LLP representing 52 former Black franchisees of McDonald's for racial discrimination.

Product liability claims happen when consumers lose confidence

No one is perfect, and people are not the only ones who make mistakes. Companies make mistakes as well, and most consumers here in Ohio and elsewhere understand as long as the companies correct the problems quickly and without anyone being harmed. It is when consumers lose confidence in companies that product liability claims get filed.

Failing to issue recalls of products in a timely manner is one of the issues that makes consumers upset with companies. When a company discovers that something is wrong with a product, and that it could harm consumers, the public expects the choice to issue a recall a simple decision. However, it is not.

Instead, companies consult with marketing experts, attorneys and other experts first. Even so, swift recalls tend to score more points with consumers, especially if people have died or suffered serious illnesses or injuries due to a defective or dangerous product. Such recalls often cost companies more, but if they potentially save lives, it may be worth the good will gained from the public. In cases where the potential harm is less clear, recalls may take longer or be prompted by government officials instead of the company, which could backfire with the public.

Whether a recall occurs quickly or more slowly, if people are injured, the public is less likely to forgive right away. Over time, consumers may change their minds, but those directly affected by a dangerous or defective product may not be quite as forgiving. Ohio residents who find themselves in this position may file product liability claims against those who may bear some legal liability for the damages sustained. In a successful claim, damages could be awarded that will provide restitution for the associated financial losses incurred.

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