Can I Sue if My Child Is Injured by a Defective Product?
Toy-related injuries are behind more than 200,000 cases that need immediate medical attention in the nation’s emergency rooms every year. Nursery products and appliances may also hurt, maim, or kill a child if they are defective or there’s a fatal design flaw. Fortunately, you can sue if your child was injured by a defective product but bringing the ones liable to justice is a bit more complicated.
Defective Products Statistics
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2018, nursery products were behind around 60,000 injuries of children aged 5 or younger that required emergency care. The most hazardous products were mattresses, infant carriers, strollers, and highchairs, which together accounted for 66% of the said injuries, most of them slips, falls, and head trauma.
While these injuries also include the use of non-defective products, many of these products’ design flaws or defective parts caused the injuries. It is estimated that a dozen children under the age 15 die every year because of a defective toy in the United States; 250,000 more land in an emergency room with injuries caused by defective toys.
The numbers may be much higher as not all toy-related injuries are reported or get professional medical attention.
Common Types of Defective Products that May Harm Children
The most common types of defective products that may cause harm to a child are:
- Nursery products
- Paint and building materials
- Playground equipment
Nursery products are at the top of our list of dangerous defective products because around 300 children aged 6 or younger die every year because of defective or poorly designed nursery room furniture. The most hazardous products include cribs, mattresses, TV sets (falling TV sets are behind some of the most serious injuries in children aged 1 to 3), dressers, and appliances, such as baby wipe warmers.
Some cribs were so hazardous that they had to be recalled. Over the last four years, over 11 million drop-side cribs were voluntarily recalled by manufacturers following numerous reports of severe injuries and death by suffocation and strangulation. Recently, federal authorities have banned the sale, use, and even donation of drop-side cribs in the United States.
Other nursery products such as nursing pillows are now under intense scrutiny for being associated with multiple infant deaths. Defective toys are also a common nuisance or full-fledged health hazards for the little ones. Half of the deaths related to defective toys happen through choking or suffocation, especially in children under the age of 4.
Older children are not safe either, as some motorized toys have led to the death of children aged 14 or older. Between the age of 10 and 14, most toy-related injuries are caused by skateboards, scooters, and other riding props.
Who’s Liable for My Child’s Injuries?
In a perfect world, the manufacturer, designer, and distributor are liable for someone’s injuries and loss caused by a defective product they directly produced, designed, or sold. But in the real world, the answer is more nuanced.
Many toys are produced in exotic lands with shady safety standards awhile the companies that sell those toys deny liability in their terms and services despite knowingly selling and marketing defective toys and other harmful products to children.
The practice is very common with Amazon and other e-commerce giants. Cheaper products may be defective from the get-go but online retailers just accept the returns, repackage the defective products, and re-sell them to other buyers. What’s more, very rarely Amazon is on the same page with its customers when it comes to defining the term “defective.” What may seem defective to a home user, it may look perfectly fine to an Amazon employee working strenuous hours on minimum wage.
The good news is that Amazon and the likes find it increasingly hard to escape liability for the defective merchandise sold on their platforms as more and more courts side with the plaintiffs.
For years, Amazon has argued that it cannot be held responsible for the injuries and damages caused by defective products, because it only sells those products, rather than manufacturing or designing them itself.
However, a handful of courts ruled that the online retail giant should have its share of product liability due to its critical role in the chain of distribution. Without the online retailer listing the product, offering a platform for sellers and buyers to do business on, and shipping the products, those defective products would have never reached the people injured by them.
A defective product may hurt or even kill a child if it was poorly designed, has a factory defect, or comes with unclear or misleading instructions. Manufacturers and designers are the first to be held responsible for the injuries caused by their defective products, but sellers, including online behemoths such as Amazon, may have their share of liability. Only a team of seasoned product liability attorneys like Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can tell you what your options are in such a situation. Don’t hesitate to contact them for a free consultation today.