Dangerous or defective products are the basis for many lawsuits. These cases usually fall under the category known as products liability. Consumers are entitled to seek compensation for injuries or wrongful death that are proven to be related to product defects at home or at work. These claims can be brought against manufacturers, distributors and retailers under certain circumstances. Some companies, immediately upon the realization of a problem, voluntarily issue a recall of the product in question. Other companies may recall the alleged offending item because legal action forced the issue.

A well-known ice cream manufacturer, Blue Bell, has been dealing with a dangerous product situation for some time. According to current reports, company officials have now recalled every item in its product line as they try to contain the spread of listeria bacteria.

Listeria bacteria cause a serious infection, sometimes fatal, when someone eats or drinks something contaminated with it. Newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are reportedly at greater risk than the general population.

The original concern caused the company to voluntarily recall certain kinds of its ice cream novelties. Listeria bacteria were identified as the culprits in three deaths and at least five reported illnesses according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The recall covered 23 states. Reports are it has now been expanded to include all ice cream products based on finding contamination in a sampling program of ice cream manufactured between March 17 and 27. Subsequently, several positive tests were received from other locations and different plants.

So what does this mean for consumers? Because the company has pulled every product from the marketplace, they might be protected against future exposure. That doesn’t necessarily mean consumers who already have ice cream on hand are aware of the danger. People already affected, and families of the victims who died, may have legal recourse against the manufacturer.

This family-based business has reportedly expressed deep distress over the situation. While heartfelt concern and voluntary recalls are commendable, bearing responsibility for victim compensation is also appropriate. Accidental harm and wrongful death aren’t always attributable to negligence or deliberate acts, and responsible parties might still be held liable for payment.

Source: Claims Journal, “Blue Bell to Recall All Products After More Listeria Found,” Kanoko Matsuyama, April. 21, 2015