Oklahomans trust that the products they use are safe. They also likely trust that if a company discovers that their products are unsafe, that company will notify their customers. After all, human life is more important than the bottom line. But, do companies have a legal responsibility to report defective products? In a word, absolutely!

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, companies have a legal obligation to immediately report defect products to the CPSC. If companies fail to live up to this legal obligation, they can face substantial civil, even criminal penalties as a result. Simply put, companies must proactively report defective products, and failing to do so can lead to penalties. The CPSC goes as far as advising companies, “when in doubt, report.”

This legal obligation to immediately report means that the company must report to the CPSC within 24 hours of learning their products are defective. The company is allowed reasonable time to investigate the matter, but they must report when they receive any information that reasonably suggests the company’s products pose a health hazard. Though, companies do not need to report if the company has actual knowledge that the CPSC has already been informed by another responsible party, like someone in the supply chain.

This report though is not immediately sent to the public. Rather, the report remains confidential. This report also does not mean that the product will be recalled. CPSC investigates the report first, and usually, no corrective action is needed. If action is needed, a recall is not the only option. Sometimes, correcting a non-compliant label in future products is enough – this is determined on a case-by-case basis.

But, the key question for those injured by defective products is, “what are my options?” Indeed, victims have options, and while companies can be held liable by the government, those individuals injured can also seek recourse through a personal injury lawsuit. This may allow those injured by defective products to be compensated for their injuries.