If a person has been injured because of a defective product, the victim may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. A lawsuit can also be filed if the use of the product involved a potential or inherent risk but lacked a sufficient warning label. A product liability lawsuit may entitle the victim to collect money damages to compensate for such things as pain and suffering and medical expenses.
In September 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation into the safety data reports issued by Forest River RV. Since launching the investigation, the Administration revealed that Forest River RV, which is based in Elkhart, Indiana, failed to report some warning data, which included information about warranty claims, customer complaints, and death or injuries caused by their vehicles. Furthermore, it was revealed that the company failed to issue two recalls in a timely manner.
For example, the company alerted customers in November 2014 that a certain brand of trailer contained loose wiring that could catch on fire. However, the company failed to notify the Administration until February 2015. When the Administration was alerted, they immediately issued a recall. However, the recall should have been issued earlier, according to the Administration.
As a result of these findings and allegations, Forest River RV has agreed to a settlement of $35 million. According to The Elkhart Truth, five million of this settlement must be paid immediately. However, the remaining $30 million will be waived if the company complies with certain regulations and qualifications. This includes hiring an in-house consultant to help the company determine what other safety information needs to be released to the Administration and to ensure that all future data is reported accurately. Forest River RV admits that it failed to report some early warning data. However, they claim that their software vendor failed to give them software that would track this sort of data.
According to Gordon Trowbridge, the communications director for the Administration, this investigation of Forest River RV was part of an industry-wide effort to improve reporting compliance. Now, the Administration hopes that this settlement will alert other manufacturers of the consequences of failing to properly report safety data.