Mommy Katie: Who Is Responsible If My Child Is Injured by a Defective Bunk Bed or Other Children’s Product?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Who Is Responsible If My Child Is Injured by a Defective Bunk Bed or Other Children’s Product?

Parents are often at a loss for what to do when a child is injured by a product that was made specifically for a child’s use but is made or designed improperly. Is the seller responsible, or is the manufacturer? The simple answer is that in many cases, the seller and the manufacturer, as well as others, may be held liable in a court of law for injuries caused to your child by a defective children’s product. These same defendants may also be liable for injuries sustained by children through the use of products that were not specifically designed for a child’s use but that a manufacturer could reasonably foresee or expect that a child would use, such as an item of household furniture.

Many defective children’s products are recalled when a defect is discovered or when injuries that have occurred as a result of a defect are reported. Parents should always take these recalls seriously and refrain from using a product after learning that it has been recalled. This is true whether the recall is voluntary or involuntary on the part of the manufacturer, as any recall is an indication that your child may be at risk from continued use of the product. In most cases, the Consumer Product Safety Commission instructs consumers not to use a product that has been recalled unless and until the defect in the product has been repaired or remedied.

In June 2014, for example, Lea Covington and Hannah Collection Bunk Beds manufactured by Lea Industries were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission when it was discovered that the beds can create an entrapment hazard for small children. The beds were sold in both twin and full sizes, with bookcases attached. The hazard that led to the recall may occur through the incorrect assembly of the bed. When the beds are assembled incorrectly, a space may be created that is larger than those considered to be safe and, therefore, allowed by industry standards. The larger space is just large enough to pose a risk of entrapping, strangling, or otherwise injuring a small child.

How Can I Obtain Compensation for My Child’s Injuries When They Were Caused by a Defective Product?

If your child’s injuries were caused by a defect in a product, such as the Lea Industries bunk beds that were recently recalled, you may be able to recover compensation for your child’s injuries through the institution of a product-liability action against the manufacturer, designer, assembler, and seller of the product, as well as others in the chain of the product’s distribution. Your ability to bring such an action does not depend upon whether the product was recalled.

In many instances, manufacturers and others in the chain of a product’s distribution have been held liable for injuries caused by a product’s defect even when the product was never recalled and even if the defect was not known before the lawsuit was instituted. Though the law of product-liability varies somewhat from state to state, the manufacturer of a product as well as others in the chain of the product’s distribution may be held liable under most states’ laws for injuries caused by a defect in a product even in the absence of negligence on the part of any of the named defendants. Such liability is known as strict liability and requires no showing by the plaintiff that the defendant or defendants were negligent in designing, manufacturing, assembling, or selling the defective product in question. This theory of liability is based upon the law’s recognition that manufacturers and designers of products intended for use by the public have a duty to design and manufacture those products so that they are reasonably safe for use according to current industry standards.

In most states, product-liability actions may also be based on a breach of warranty or negligence theory. When a product-liability action is brought to recover injuries sustained by a person as a result of a defect in a product, however, the action is usually brought as a strict liability action. This type of action does not require the injured person, or plaintiff, to prove that the manufacturer or designer of the product was negligent in creating the product’s defect. If evidence of the manufacturer’s or designer’s negligence can, nevertheless, be presented, attorneys for injured plaintiffs may attempt to get such evidence before the jury, because jury members are more likely to find a defendant manufacturer or designer liable if some evidence of fault is indicated.

Breach of warranty product-liability actions are generally brought when a plaintiff is seeking to obtain compensation for money lost because the plaintiff paid money for a product, believing that the product would be of a certain kind or nature, but the product turned out to be something other than represented. This form of product-liability action is generally used for cases in which the plaintiff has not been personally injured by a product defect.
Obtain Expert Assistance from an Experienced Personal-injury and Child-injury Attorney
Today’s writer, Jeffrey Killino, is an experienced and highly-respected child-injury and birth-injury attorney with extensive experience with all types of accident, personal-injury, and child-injury cases. Attorney Killino’s knowledge and expertise, particularly with respect to cases involving injuries to children that were caused by someone’s negligence or a defective product, have earned him national recognition through appearances on major television networks, including CNN, ABC FOX, and the Discovery Channel. Attorney Killino’s case against Mattel, Inc., for example, received national media attention when it resulted in an order compelling Mattel to offer free lead-testing to children who may have been exposed to lead-containing toys.



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