Officials from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced a settlement with Polaris Industries Inc. over the company’s alleged failures to abide by federal laws requiring manufacturers to timely report potential defects and risks associated with their products. Per the terms of the settlement, Polaris will pay a $27.25 million civil penalty.
According to the CPSC, the federal agency which regulates consumer products in the U.S., the civil penalty stems from Polaris failing to properly report potential hazards and risks of fires, injuries, and death associated with two of its recreational off-road vehicles – the Polaris RZR and the Polaris Ranger.
- Polaris RZR – Officials from the CPSC alleged that while Polaris had received reports and gathered information regarding potential defects in certain model-year RZRS (2013-2016 RZR 900 and model year 2014-2016 RZR 1000) that made them susceptible to catching fire while in use, Polaris did not immediately notify regulators as required by law. Due to the substantial risks associated with the possible defect, more than 160 fires and injuries were reported, including a fire that burned 10+ acres of land, and one death involving a 15-year-old victim who was riding as a passenger in a Polaris RZR.
- Polaris Ranger – In 2016, Polaris recalled 2014 Ranger ROVs due to a defect that posed risks of vehicle heatshields becoming loose or detaching completely, posing risks of serious injuries and fires. Although Polaris received addition consumer reports of fire incidents linked to the defective heatshield in model year 2015 Rangers, the company did not inform federal regulators of the defect or risks. When it finally did report the issue, multiple fires had already been reported.
The substantial $27.25 million civil penalty speaks volumes about the seriousness of the CPSC’s allegations, as well as the risks and devastating toll created by defective and unsafe consumer products. Although the settlement means Polaris does not have to admit fault, it does highlight the legal duty product manufacturers must uphold when not only taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their products during design and manufacturing, but also when reporting potential defects, hazards, and risks of injuries or death and informing consumers in a timely manner.
Defective & Unsafe Products: Product Liability Lawsuits
As a law firm with a national reputation for successfully handling a range of complex product liability cases, our team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin unfortunately encounters victims and families who suffered harm and losses that could and should have been prevented by product manufacturers – both during the design and manufacturing of products later found to be defective, and when marketing and warning (or failing to warn) consumers about potential dangers. Our experience with defective product cases, vehicle fires, and ATV accidents enable us to provide the high-quality representation victims need to pursue legal action.
Because product liability laws create legal responsibilities for product manufacturers, they can be held liable for the damages victims suffer when they fail to uphold them. By seeking justice for your losses in the civil justice system, you not only gain an opportunity to recover needed compensation, but also play an important role in holding manufacturers accountable, upholding a standard that deters others from committing similar failures or acts of negligence, and prompt changes that protect others from suffering similar harms.
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, our West Palm Beach lawyers are passionate about protecting victims’ rights after serious injuries, as well the families who lose loved ones in preventable accidents. This includes victims and families harmed by the misconduct of product manufacturers. If you have a potential case involving the Polaris RZRs or Polaris Rangers implicated in the recent settlement, or any Polaris ROV, we encourage you to contact us for a free case evaluation. Our award-winning lawyers serve defective product victims across Florida and the U.S.