Timing Crucial in Product Failure Liability Investigations

Residential appliance fires annually result in an estimated 9,600 fires, 25 deaths, 525 injuries and $211 million in property losses each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

A Consumer Reports study analyzed home fires occurring between 2002 and 2009 found that appliances were to blame in more than 69,000 fires and over 35,000 were due to defective products.

Ryan Allaire, a Colorado engineering manager with Phoenix Investigations, said product liability failure investigations often include a check for recalls.

“When we go do an investigation and it’s a potential product failure liability case, we generally pull up recalls for that product or brand,” Allaire said.

While it may seem like a costly expense, it’s beneficial to hire a cause and origin expert early on in an investigation. That’s because timing is important in a product failure liability investigation. Getting there after a restoration company or contractor has begun work can be detrimental to a product liability subrogation case.

“Be aware that during a fire, products are getting damaged and components are getting moved around and tossed around by the fire department,” said Allaire.

Witness statements are important to gather early too, Allaire added.