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What are manufacturers' responsibilities to report defects?

When manufacturers know that products are defective, they may need to report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission without delay. This is not a choice or something done out of good will, but a legal obligation. Failure to do so can put consumers at risk.

First of all, the defect must be reported when a consumer could be substantially injured. Even if the risk is small, reports are needed. This same is true, naturally, for a product that could lead to a fatal injury.

Of course, this does not mean products can't be dangerous. A chainsaw is a potentially dangerous product that could lead to injury or death, but it must remain so in order to function properly. Products simply need to be reported when the risk is unreasonable due to a defect, a design flaw, or something of that nature.

A report may also be needed if the product doesn't comply with the rules and regulations laid out by the CPSA, if a child chokes on the product or a part of it and is injured or killed, or if certain lawsuits are brought against the company.

Again, this doesn't always mean these products will be banned. There will always be products that present choking hazards to children. Many times, the issue is with who the product was marketed for, what warning labels were put on the product or the packaging, or if the risk is unreasonable.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury using an unsafe product, you may have a right to compensation. Be sure you look into all recalls and consumer reports that were made, and check into your legal options in Illinois when it appears the company skirted the law and put you at risk.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Duty to Report to CPSC: Rights and Responsibilities of Businesses," accessed Aug. 30, 2016

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