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What Should I Do If I Get a Recall Notice for a Product I Own?

As consumers, we trust that the products we buy will make our lives better, not worse. We also believe that when something goes wrong, the manufacturer will do its part to protect us from danger and make sure that no one is harmed again. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

In this blog, Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys’ product liability team outlines what to do after a recall and how to seek compensation if you’ve been hurt by a defective product, whether it’s been recalled or not.

What Is a Product Recall?

When a design defect or manufacturing errors puts consumers at risk, a company can recall the product on their own, or at the behest of a government agency. This process is called a product recall. Typically, a manufacturer must notify the government when they identify a defective or faulty product that carries a significant risk of injury or death. However, noncompliant companies may face a mandatory, government-ordered recall.

After a product has been recalled, the company must implement a recall plan.

The Company Publishes a Recall Notice

Many recalls are made public in trade journals, pushed through the media, or to dealers and owners directly, depending on the circumstances. When a car or car part is recalled, the manufacturer will notify the registered owner of the vehicle.

Government Agencies Monitor Recall Compliance

Depending on the type of product involved, a recall may involve the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), or other state and federal agencies. These agencies help oversee recalls and protect consumers from further harm.

Consumers Receive Repairs or Refunds

If you own a dangerous or defective product that has been recalled and it has not harmed you, read the recall notice carefully and follow its instructions. Depending on the company’s recall plan, it will either give you a refund, replace, or repair the product.

If the recall notice tells you that you should not use the product, cease its operation immediately.

Takata Airbags: A Recall Gone Very Wrong

While some recalls are relatively short-lived, others go on for years. Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata began noticing problems with its airbags in 2000, when inflators started malfunctioning and even exploding during tests. However, the company did nothing to protect consumers – and employees even manipulated test data to hide the problem.

Unfortunately, when a defective Takata airbag activates, it can break into tiny fragments and shrapnel that cause catastrophic and fatal injuries. One of the first documented Takata cases occurred in Alabama in 2004.

In November 2008, Honda issued the first Takata-related recall. In November 2009, the NHTSA began investigating the issue but was hampered by inaccurate information it received from the airbag company. Eventually, Takata agreed to recall millions of airbag inflators and pay up to $200 million in penalties – but problems still persisted.

In 2016, Takata agreed to recall another 35-40 million inflators, making it the largest recall in U.S. history. The company pled guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay nearly a billion dollars in penalties and compensation.

According to the NHTSA, almost 42 million vehicles contained defective Takata airbags. Due to the size of the recall, the process was staged. The last expected round of Takata recalls will occur in December 2019, almost two decades after the problem arose. The most recent Takata-related fatality occurred in March 2019.

What Should I Do If I’m Injured by a Recalled or Dangerous Product?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a defective vehicle, product, or medication, you may be eligible for compensation. However, to protect your legal claims, you’ll need to act quickly.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Defective products and dangerous drugs can cause catastrophic injuries. However, even if your injuries appear minor at first glance, it’s in your best interest to consult with a doctor. First, you may have unidentified injuries or complications that need immediate care. Second, your medical records will serve as valuable evidence in your potential product liability claims.

Preserve the Evidence

If a defective product hurt you, don’t return or repair it as part of a recall. To prove your injury claim, your product liability lawyer and their team of experts will need to examine and study the product.

In most product liability claims, you must prove that the product malfunctioned “without substantial alteration” and caused damage to your person or property as a result. Having reliable evidence is critical. Otherwise, the company will assert that you damaged or modified the product and caused it to malfunction, instead of taking responsibility for their dangerous product.

Call a Product Liability Lawyer

When a dangerous product hurts you, you deserve honest advice from an experienced lawyer. In Alabama, it’s especially critical for victims to seek legal counsel; factors like liability and breach of warranty may impact your ability to recover damages. Given these complex factors, it’s in your best interest to consult with an injury attorney before deciding to return the product or pursue legal action.

You Have Two Years to File a Product Liability Lawsuit

Under Alabama law, you only have a short period to file a product liability claim. You typically must file your lawsuit within two years of your date of injury. Different rules may apply if you were not immediately aware of your injury – if you need help calculating your filing deadlines, contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys.

RELATED ARTICLE: Injured by a Dangerous Drug or Medical Device? Know Your Rights

A Product Recall Does Not Guarantee Compensation for Your Suffering

There’s a common misconception that, as a victim who’s been harmed by a dangerous product, you’ll automatically get compensation. But a recall does not mean the company has any legal obligation to offer you compensation, nor does it automatically bring a suit against the company.

A recall notice simply means the manufacturer is aware of the problem and is doing something to correct it. In fact, many dangerous products are never recalled! If a faulty product results in lost time, money, and quality of life, you deserve compensation. However, the only way to collect these damages is to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor.

No matter what you decide to do after a product recall, you deserve to understand the options available to you. We always encourage victims to take advantage of a free consultation with Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys to make sure you have all the information you need to make a good decision.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Protecting Alabama Residents From Dangerous Products

Getting hurt by a dangerous product can be one of the scariest things that can happen to a person. When you do everything right, but things still go wrong, you need the wisdom, guidance, and reassurance of an experienced product liability attorney.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ll listen to your story with empathy and understanding, and fight for you like you were our own family. When you need to win, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us today at (251) 888-8888 today or complete our simple online form. Consultations are free and no risk to you!

Resources

Jones, C., & Bomey, N. (2017, June 25). Timeline: How Takata’s air-bag scandal erupted. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/06/25/takata-air-bag-scandal-timeline/103184598/

Takata airbag recall: Everything you need to know. (2019, March 29). Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/car-recalls-defects/takata-airbag-recall-everything-you-need-to-know/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Struggling With Mental Health Issues After a Car Accident? You’re Not Alone

Mental distress caused by a car or truck accident is not uncommon, and yet, admitting that we’re struggling emotionally can be a hard thing for many to do. If you’ve survived a crash, but the trauma still haunts you, you’re not alone. In this blog, we’ve outlined some next steps if you or someone you love is struggling with mental health after a crash.

Mental Health Issues Are Common After Car Accidents

In the United States, an estimated 8 million people struggle with PTSD each year. While that includes a wide variety of people, including soldiers and first responders, many car accident survivors struggle with post-traumatic stress.

According to a recent study conducted by British researchers, at least one in three car accident victims will develop PTSD, anxiety, depression, or a phobia a year later. Even seemingly minor crashes can spark significant mental health issues that, when left untreated, can become debilitating.

It’s easy to let caring for your mental health slip through the cracks after an accident; you’re busy going to the doctor, sorting through bills, and recovering from your physical injuries. It’s all a lot to go through and in the process of “powering through,” we don’t notice when serious mental health issues emerge.

Unfortunately, mental health can be difficult to talk about, and if you’ve never experienced depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can be tough to understand what’s happening to you.

RELATED ARTICLE: Can I Get Compensation for Car Accident Injuries That Don’t Show Up Immediately?

Signs You May be Experiencing PTSD After a Crash

After a crash, it’s normal to feel a flood of emotions, including shock, grief, anger, confusion, and fear. While some people process these feelings quickly, the emotional trauma of a car accident can contribute to or worsen mental health issues like PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is relatively common after a car crash. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you may have PTSD if you experienced or witnessed serious trauma, such as a violent car or truck wreck, and develop:

  • Nightmares, flashbacks, or unwanted, intrusive memories
  • Emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the crash
  • Avoidance of painful memories or anything that can trigger thoughts of the accident, including people, places, or driving
  • Difficulty remembering the crash
  • Decreased interest in activities and social isolation
  • Angry outbursts and a tendency to blame yourself or others
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive, destructive, or risky behavior
  • Problems with attention and concentration
  • Feeling like you’re constantly in danger
  • Intense startle responses
  • Having trouble sleeping

Typically, these symptoms must last for more than a month to qualify as PTSD.

If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing PTSD, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional who can accurately assess your situation and diagnose your condition. Therapy, medications, and emotional support can help you overcome your accident-related mental health issues.

Mental Health Is Connected to Physical Health

It’s always good to talk about what you’re going through, but there are physical benefits to treating your accident-related mental health conditions as well. Studies show that stress and emotional issues cause or worsen chronic pain. Indeed, in a recent study of people who experienced trauma and PTSD, 30% developed chronic pain.

Mental health treatment can help speed up your physical healing and keep conditions from worsening over time.

What to Do if Your Mental Health Issues Persist

If you are experiencing serious emotional issues after a crash, it’s important to acknowledge and address them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends, or even a support group to talk about what you’re going through. Talk to your doctor about the thoughts you’re having. They can connect you to mental health professionals who can help you improve your quality of life.

Developing a routine of low-intensity exercise, like walking, can also help your nervous system relax and recover. Seeking counseling or therapy can also help you relieve underlying emotional stress caused by your accident.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we also understand that medical bills, the insurance company’s non-stop letters and phone calls, and financial uncertainty can add unwanted stress. You don’t have to fight that battle alone. Our lawyers can help you get the time and space you need to heal, while fighting for the compensation you deserve.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Calculate the Real Cost of Your Car Accident Claim

Mental Pain After a Crash? You Could Be Owed Damages

After a crash, victims of negligence may be eligible for compensation for their damages. This includes the cost of your mental health care, medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been hurt, physically, mentally, or emotionally by a crash through no fault of your own, you deserve justice.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Accident Victims

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand how challenging legal situations are after traumatic car crashes. We fight for our clients because we believe everyone should be able to live the happiest, healthiest lives they can. If your mental health has suffered after a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll evaluate your case for free, and provide next steps, all at no risk to you. You can fill out our simple online contact form, or call us at 251-888-8888.

However, if you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or harming someone else, you need to get mental health care right away. Before you call a lawyer, contact your doctors, visit the emergency room, or call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline for help.

References

Babbel, S. (2010, April 8). The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain

DSM-5 criteria for PTSD (2019, March 28). Brainline. Retrieved from https://www.brainline.org/article/dsm-5-criteria-ptsd

Gradus, J. (n.d.). Epidemiology of PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp

Tull, M. (2018, November 2). The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident. Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/risk-factors-for-ptsd-following-a-traffic-accident-2797197

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills After an Alabama Car Accident?

Nothing is more stressful than watching your medical bills pile up after a serious car accident. You may wonder who is financially responsible for your expenses and may consider sending them to your health insurance company. Fortunately, you have options. In this blog, Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys outlines the basics of accident-related medical bills.

Identify All the Insurance Policies That Apply to Your Claim

Depending on your circumstances, a variety of insurance policies may cover your medical bills. However, without an experienced injury lawyer, you may overlook some of these policies, losing out on valuable compensation.

At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance

Under our state’s fault-based system, someone who causes a crash is financially responsible for the victims’ damages. That means that you’ll need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Alabama car owners must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance.

    • $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
    • $25,000 in property damage coverage

While some responsible car owners carry larger policies, many people only have this minimum coverage. However, a catastrophic injury claim can quickly deplete even a more generous policy.

UM/UIM and MPC Policies

After a crash, you should always review your own auto insurance policy, looking for sources of compensation. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we recommend that all car owners purchase:

    • Medical Payment Coverage: Covers costs from an accident regardless of who caused the crash, including medical bills, lost income, and funeral costs.
    • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): Steps in and pays your accident-related expenses when the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage.

These policies can provide much-needed compensation and cover your medical bills.

Commercial Insurance Policies

Sometimes, you may have multiple liability claims arising out of a motor vehicle accident. For example, if a bar or restaurant overserved a drunk driver, you may have a dram shop liability claim against the establishment. An Alabama injury lawyer can help you evaluate your case and identify these more nuanced legal claims.

RELATED ARTICLE: Alabama Is Not a No-Fault State — Here’s What That Means if You Get in a Car Accident

Should I Send My Medical Bills to Medicare or Medicaid?

If you’re a Medicaid or Medicare beneficiary in Alabama, you have the option to use your government-sponsored medical insurance to cover your medical bills after a crash. When the hospital bills Medicaid after an accident, it will only cover the contracted percentage of the total bill, which is usually 10-20%. If you file a claim against the negligent party and win, you’ll need to reimburse Medicaid and Medicare for the bills they paid on your behalf, whether you win through a jury award or a settlement.

However, we still recommend using Medicaid and Medicare to cover your bills if you have that option available. If you have questions about your health insurance coverage and how you can pay your medical bills after a crash, it’s in your best interest to talk to a personal injury lawyer who can provide direction and counsel.

Will I Have to Pay My Health Plan Back if They Cover Accident-Related Bills?

Many people in Alabama have employer-sponsored or marketplace health plans. If you have health insurance, you can send these bills to your insurer. However, just like Medicaid and Medicare, you’ll have to reimburse them for these costs if you win or settle your injury claim.

Sometimes, you’ll get a letter from your health plan, asking questions about your injuries and accident. If you receive one of these letters, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away; they can help you complete the form honestly and accurately.

In rare cases, the health insurance company will decide to take legal action on your behalf and try to recover its accident-related expenses. Called subrogation, this typically happens when you choose not to file a personal injury lawsuit.

3 Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Medical Bill Claim

If you’re like many accident victims, medical bills make up a large portion of your damages. When you meet with a trial lawyer, they’ll want to know a lot about your treatment, its costs, and your recovery. To help them, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Keep all of your medical bills, receipts, and explanations of benefits in a folder.
  2. Instead of putting “doctor appointment” on your calendar, list the medical provider’s name and the service provided every time you see a doctor or therapist.
  3. Notify your lawyer immediately if Medicaid, Medicare, or your health plan is paying your accident-related medical bills.

This information can help your lawyer accurately calculate your damages, negotiate with your medical providers, and ensure that you comply with Medicaid and Medicare’s rules and regulations.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Protecting Alabama Car Accident Victims

When you’re injured through no fault of your own, you need wisdom and guidance of a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can help you navigate the notoriously complex world of insurance settlements, subrogation, and lawsuits.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ll listen to your story with empathy and understanding, and stand up for you with tenacity and grit. If you’ve been hurt in a crash and need help understanding your legal options, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (251) 888-8888 today or complete our simple online form. Consultations are free.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

4 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore After a Car Accident

Some injuries are obvious and require immediate attention. However, what may seem like a minor ache at the crash site may actually be an early sign of a life-changing injury. That’s why you should always seek medical treatment after a crash, no matter how “minor” your bumps and bruises seem.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ve been helping Alabama and Mississippi car accident victims for decades. During that time, we’ve handled thousands of legal claims involving both common and unusual injuries. In this blog, we discuss some of our clients’ most frequent symptoms and injuries— and explain when you should seek immediate medical care.

Look Out for These 4 Common Signs of a Serious Injury

After a catastrophic car accident, it’s easy to minimize your pain. Your body is filled with adrenaline, and you may be concerned about a loved one with more serious injuries. However, you also need to take your health and safety seriously.

Here are four symptoms that you should never ignore after a car accident or truck wreck.

1. Pain Running Down a Leg or Arm: Back and Spine Injuries

Many people don’t realize that a series of nerves run from your spinal cord to almost every other part of your body. For example, a herniated disc in your neck can lead to shooting pain or discomfort in your arm or shoulder. Similarly, damage in your low back can lead to leg pain, muscle weakness, or even bladder and bowel problems.

If you experience any of these symptoms after a car crash, do not ignore them. Instead, immediately seek medical care—you may need surgery to prevent further damage.

2. Joint Pain or Lack of Mobility: Shoulder, Knee, and Other Injuries

If you suddenly can’t lift your arm, you’ll probably go to the doctor. However, more subtle limitations in your “range of motion” are sometimes minimized and ignored. However, these symptoms may be signs of a serious joint shoulder, knee, or hip injury, like a rotator cuff tear, torn ACL, or labral tear.

While you may not need surgery, joint injuries often require intensive physical therapy, pain management, and orthopedic treatment.

3. Loss of Consciousness: Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Even losing consciousness for a split second or “seeing stars” may be a sign of a TBI. Unfortunately, undiagnosed brain injuries and delayed treatment can significantly slow down your recovery. You should also seek treatment if you struggle with headaches, mood changes, balance issues, concentration problems, or ringing ears after a car accident.

4. Deep Bruising and Swelling: Internal Bleeding

External bleeding is easy to spot, but internal bleeding is subtler and easier to miss. Many factors can cause internal bleeding during a crash, including quick deceleration, external pressure from a seatbelt, and blunt force. Sometimes, your organs will hit each other, causing bleeding. Other times, a broken bone can internally scratch or puncture another body part.

Lightheadedness, swelling, seizures, and large purple patches of skin are all signs that you’re bleeding internally. If you notice any of these symptoms, you must seek medical attention right away.

Hurt in a Car Accident? An Injury Lawyer Can Help

After a serious car accident, it’s natural to have questions and anxiety. You may wonder how long it will take before you’re back on your feet, how active you’ll be once you recover, and how you’ll be able to afford your bills.

Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with this uncertainty alone. Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys has recovered hundreds of millions for its clients—and we’re not afraid to do what’s right.

Depending on your situation, an at-fault driver and others may have to compensate you for your:

  • Medical and therapy bills
  • Medications and medical devices
  • Long-term care
  • Lost wages and income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Improvements you need to live independently, like wheelchair ramps
  • Damaged vehicle and property

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Victims With Catastrophic Injuries in Mississippi and Alabama

Everyone deserves to travel safely on Mississippi and Alabama roads. However, this isn’t always the reality for victims impacted by drunk, distracted, and negligent drivers. If you or someone you love are suffering terrible physical injuries after a crash, don’t wait to get help.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we will meet with you in-person for a free, no-risk consultation to hear about your case and offer real-world legal advice about what to do next. We can even come to your home if that’s most comfortable for you! To schedule your evaluation, don’t hesitate to call our office at 251-888-8888 or fill out our quick and easy online contact form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.