Furniture Tip Overs Are A Common Cause Of Child Injuries
When you purchase a product, it's reasonable to expect the manufacturers will take care to ensure it's safe for you to use. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Although furniture is supposed to be stable and withstand a good amount of use, it is a common source of child injuries. Here's more information about this issue and what you would need to do to successfully collect damages if it turns out that manufacturer negligence contributed to the accident.
A Child is Injured Every 24 Minutes
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), every 24 minutes a child is injured by a piece of furniture or a television falling over, and one dies every 2 weeks. In the 2000 to 2010 decade, about 245 children died as a result of furniture tipping over.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Children like to climb on things to explore their environment or combat boredom. The furniture they're climbing on may be unable to support their added weight and topple over as a result. Most of the time, this is likely because the piece of furniture was not installed or stabilized correctly.
Another reason for these accidents, however, is the furniture itself may not have been designed or manufactured properly. In 2014, two children died as the result of chests tipping over. The exact circumstances surrounding each death are currently unknown. However, in both events, it appears that the fact the furniture was not anchored to the wall contributed to the accidents; something buyers may not have been warned about when they purchased the item.
In another incident with a different manufacturer, the restraint strap designed to secure a dresser in place broke. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in that case, but the incident lead the manufacturer to recall the affected pieces.
Suing for Injuries Caused by Defective Furniture
If you or someone in your family was injured due to a piece of furniture that tipped over and fell, it may be possible to recover compensation from the company for your injuries. To be successful in court, you have to prove that the furniture was either manufactured poorly or designed poorly, and/or the company didn't supply adequate warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.
The proof required to win your case will depend on the claim you're using. To prove a piece of furniture was manufactured poorly, you'll have to show that—while the furniture was designed to be safe—the manufacturing process introduced defects that made it dangerous (e.g. the legs were cut too tall). To convince the court the furniture's design made it unsafe, you'll have to show where the company went wrong with the furniture's design (e.g. made it too top heavy).
To prove the company didn't provide adequate warnings about the dangers of using the product, you'll have to show the company knew that there was a risk of injury associated with using the furniture and failed to notify customers about this danger. Of the three claims, this could be the most challenging to prove since it depends partially on proving when the company knew about the risk. If the company had no reason to know or suspect there was a problem that customers needed to be warned about, it may be able to escape full liability based on this fact.
Another challenge you may run into when proving your case in court is showing you (or the affected party) did not contribute to the accident that caused the injury. For instance, a child pulling out drawers and using them to climb the dresser may contribute to the piece of furniture becoming unstable and tipping over. You'll have to show how the child's actions had minimal impact on the dresser's collapse or how the dresser's defective design made it more vulnerable to falling over.
Proving these issues in court typically requires obtaining information from the company and getting experts to testify in court on your behalf. It's best to work with a personal injury lawyer who can make the appropriate arrangements and help you obtain the outcome you want. For more information about finding the right lawyer to work with, you can visit sites like http://www.vanblk.com.