Many New Yorkers who tune in to the news or who pay careful attention while shopping may have noticed announcements that a product has been recalled.

Others may have actually received notices about recalls involving the products they own and have had to return them either for a refund, a replacement, or a repair.

The details of what goes on behind the scenes of a recall depend heavily on what type of product is being recalled. The reason is that several federal agencies have jurisdiction over different products.

The basic idea, though, is that if it appears a product is unsafe for public use, a manufacturer has a legal obligation to pull the product from its shelves either to fix the issue or to give customers their money back.

Usually, recalls start either when a manufacturer self-reports a potential safety issue with one of its products. A government agency may also receive a complaint about the product from a concerned customer or other person. The agency may then start its own investigation in to the product to decide if the manufacturer needs to recall it.

The fact that a product got recalled can be valuable evidence in a product liability lawsuit. After all, a recall implies that the product had a design or manufacturing flaw which made it dangerous. If a person’s injury is related to that flaw, the recall can help a victim, or his or her family, connect the dots and obtain compensation.

On the other hand, it is important for New Yorkers to understand that a recall does not automatically entitle a person to compensation for injuries. Recalls are government actions designed to get dangerous products off the shelves, and not to compensate victims. In order to obtain compensation, a person may have to file the appropriate court case.