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Reporting a Defective Product

Reporting a Defective or Unsafe Product: A Comprehensive Guide

Feb 16, 2024 | Personal Injury, Product Liability

The article was Last Updated on

Defective or unsafe products, whether everyday consumer goods or specialized items like automobiles or drugs, can pose significant safety risks. If you encounter such products, it is essential to protect yourself and others. Ensure that the appropriate authorities are informed. Numerous branches of the federal government oversee the regulation of various products. Additionally, certain items are regulated at the state level. The entity to which a report should be made varies depending on the nature of the product involved—a consumer good, automobile, prescription medication, food item, pesticide, or chemical. If you are uncertain about whom to approach, consulting with a product liability lawyer can clarify the appropriate actions to take in the aftermath of an injury or significant loss caused by a defective product.

Below, we will discuss the process of reporting these problematic goods and what to do when a product harms you.

Reporting Consumer Products

Every year, countless incidents occur due to malfunction or outright failure of consumer goods. These can range from minor inconveniences, such as a faulty toaster, to life-threatening emergencies, like defective smoke detectors.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the authority for such products. Begin by filing a report at or call their hotline at (800) 638-2772. They will ask you to provide detailed information about the product, the incident, and, whenever possible, photographs of the defective item. In addition, reach out to the manufacturer to alert them about the defective product. Some companies may offer repair, replacement, or a refund.

Additionally, you can look up consumer product recalls on their website.

Automobiles and Car Safety Defects

To file a report concerning a vehicular defect or a malfunctioning car safety feature, you can either submit your concerns online or dial the Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), oversees the regulation of vehicles and safety components like seat belts, child safety seats, and tires and supports a hotline where such matters can be reported.

Additionally, they provide a dedicated service line for consumers with hearing impairments at (800) 424-9153. Access the NHTSA recall page to check ongoing or past vehicle recalls. In the event of a severe injury or death due to an issue with a vehicle that has been recalled, it is important to consult a qualified Houston vehicle defect attorney to explore your legal options.

Defective Drugs

Defective drugs can directly impact your health, with consequences ranging from mild side effects to severe health complications or even death. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for defective drugs.

The MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form (FDA Form 3500) can be used to report any severe adverse reactions, product use errors, product quality problems, and therapeutic failures. Additionally, contact your healthcare provider to ensure you receive necessary care and discuss alternative treatment options.

Food Products

When it comes to potentially unsafe or defective food products, the complaint should again be directed towards the FDA or the Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area. You should provide as much information as possible, including the nature of the complaint, the kind of food, and the place of purchase.

Be sure to retain all packaging, receipts, and remnants of the food item to help with the subsequent investigation.

Harmful Environmental Items

Should you encounter any hazardous occurrences such as chemical discharges, oil spills, or radiation emissions that present an immediate danger to both human health and the environment, these can be reported to the United States Environmental Protection Agency National Response Center. This can be done either through their online portal or by contacting them at (800) 424-8802. This service also covers reports on the misuse or illegal disposal of toxic chemicals or pesticides. If such an event has directly affected you and/or your property, consulting with a toxic tort attorney can help clarify your legal avenues. Significant incidents, including oil spills and illegal toxic waste disposal, have historically led to major toxic tort lawsuits and subsequent environmental clean-up efforts. Notable recent instances of such legal actions include the Camp Lejeune Contamination cases, the AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) mass tort litigation, and the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) class action lawsuits.

Should I Contact the Manufacturer if the product is defective?

Yes, it is generally advisable to contact the manufacturer if you find that a product is defective. This is often the first step consumers should consider, not only to alert the company of the product’s fault but also to understand the potential remedies available. Most reputable companies uphold robust quality control and customer service policies. They often take defective product reports seriously, as these serve as invaluable feedback to enhance product quality and customer experience. Moreover, notifying manufacturers can, in some cases, result in remedial action such as the provision of a replacement or refund for the faulty item.

However, informing the manufacturer doesn’t mean that is your only recourse. Some defects are not simply isolated incidents but rather represent a widespread problem affecting many units of the product. It could even signal a more inherent design or manufacturing flaw that may have potential safety implications. Therefore, reporting the defect to the appropriate regulatory agency is also essential. For instance, if the defective product is an appliance, tool, furnishing, or other consumer product, it should be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This ensures that adequate regulatory action can be taken if there is a serious problem with the product line or model.

Lastly, if you suffered some form of harm due to the defective product, it’s imperative to consider engaging a lawyer. This is especially true in cases where the manufacturer denies the defect, refuses to offer remediation, or where the defect leads to an injury. A product liability attorney can guide you through the process of obtaining proper compensation for the damage caused by the faulty item and help you navigate potential legal challenges. Remember, your voice is vital in ensuring manufacturers are aware of the defects and held accountable to protect future consumers.

What Should You Do If a Product harms you?

If you or your loved one has been harmed due to a defective product, take the following steps:

  1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention: The person’s health and safety is the priority. Seek immediate medical treatment and document all information about the injury and treatment.
  2. Preserve the Product and Evidence: It’s essential to keep the product that caused the injury, as well as any packaging, manuals, receipts, etc. It will serve as evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
  3. Report the Incident: As discussed above, report the problem to the authorities (like the CPSC, NHTSA, FDA, or EPA) and the manufacturer.
  4. Document Everything: Write down everything about the incident, including when and where it happened, how the product was used, and any witnesses. Also, keep records of any medical bills or other costs related to the incident.
  5. Contact a Lawyer: If the injury is serious, it’s a good idea to reach out to a lawyer to understand your options.

Why Call Walker Texas Lawyer?

James Walker, also known as Walker Texas Lawyer, has decades of experience in dealing with personal injury cases arising from defective or unsafe products. Walker’s team knows how to investigate these kinds of cases, gather evidence and secure expert testimony to prove your claim.

If an unsafe product injures you or a loved one, it’s not just about getting compensation. It’s also about ensuring that the product doesn’t harm others. When you call Walker Texas Lawyer, you are making a choice to hold negligent manufacturers accountable.

Reporting a defective product may feel overwhelming. However, with the right resources and assistance, the process can be made significantly more accessible. And if you or a loved one has suffered because of a defective product, you may have legal options. Reach out to Walker Texas Lawyer for a free consultation. You deserve justice, and Walker Texas Lawyer is prepared to fight for it on your behalf.


For more information, contact Houston’s accident law firm of Walker Texas Lawyer by calling (713) 552-1117.

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James Walker - Walker Texas Lawyer James Walker is a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, Texas. He has over 40 years of legal experience and has helped over 25,000 clients. This means he has demonstrated his extensive knowledge of legal procedures. He knows how to handle insurance companies. If insurance companies refuse to give you a fair shake, they will take the insurance companies to court. He knows the law inside and out. He knows what he’s doing.

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