Apparently many of the parties involved in selling and distributing faulty eclipse glasses and fidget spinners didn’t follow the 5 Risk Management Steps to Prevent Product Liability Claims. Being in a rush to cash in on suddenly wildly popular items can backfire into a costly mistake.
Manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused by defective products or products that lack sufficient warning labels. Those injury claims can also extend to the retailers and distributors of such products. By law, products should meet the expectations of the person purchasing them.
Many solar eclipse glasses sold to protect viewers’ eyes are alleged to have been unfit for the purpose for which they were sold. Thousands upon thousands of eclipse glasses are part of a costly product recall. Amazingly, Amazon is the biggest distributor involved (and should’ve known better). Amazon is already facing at least one lawsuit in South Carolina. And children are choking on fidget spinner parts or getting burned as the batteries overheat. This has resulted in a CPSC investigation. There are now reports of spinner batteries bursting into flames.
The first rule in product manufacturing is to consider during the product design phase how the product will be used and any hazards that could result. It’s obvious that many of the fidget spinner and eclipse glasses makers overlooked that rule.
No company has a trademark, copyright or patent that carries any weight on these fad toys. Therefore, anybody can manufacture and market a fidget spinner. Or eclipse glasses. Many are made outside the U.S. and sold here. All too often, products made outside the country didn’t undergo the testing and and lack the safety warnings required by U.S. federal law.
The second rule is to know that sellers or distributors of imported products and goods are viewed as if you are the manufacturer. They will be ultimately responsible for making sure products comply with U.S. industry standards and government regulations.
Many importers assume that foreign manufacturers share liability in the event of a Product Liability claim. Any foreign manufacturer’s Product Liability insurance policy that doesn’t specifically have a True Worldwide endorsement that does not extend coverage in U.S. courts is useless.
Chasing the cash cow is rarely a good idea when it comes to manufacturing. Instead, it pays to conduct due diligence and proceed intelligently. A Product Liability lawsuit can be financially devastating. Even if you win the case, the cost of defending yourself in court could bankrupt you and your business. And when it comes to children’s products, you can’t be too careful.
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