Furniture Tip-Over Lawsuit
A furniture tip-over lawsuit may be an option for people who have been injured as a result of a furniture tip-over accident. Each year, thousands of furniture products, including defective dressers, mirrors, chairs and other types of furniture are recalled because there is the potential risk of serious injury, and in some cases, death associated with these products. People who have been injured or family members of those who have been killed in a furniture tip-over accident may be able to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation with the help of a product liability attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group to learn more about your options. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We can help answer any questions you may have, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Have You Seen a Furniture Tip-Over Lawsuit Commercial?
You may have seen a furniture tip-over lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one have been affected by furniture tip-overs and accidents caused by defective furniture, such as dressers, mirrors, and other types of furniture and, if so, whether you are eligible to pursue a claim against the manufacturer or others. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information so that you have a better understanding of your options.
What Should You Know About Defective Furniture?
Furniture manufacturers have a duty to provide products that are safe for consumers. If there are risks of harm associated with the products they manufacture and sell, they must also provide adequate warnings. If a furniture maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be responsible for any injuries that result.
Types of potentially defective furniture include:
- Beds, bunk beds, futons and highboys
- Television stands, wall mounts and entertainment consoles
- Office chairs, desks and tables
- Kitchen counter tops and cabinets
- Bar stools
- Bathroom appliances
- Patio furniture, including chairs, tables, umbrellas and lighting
- Dining chairs
Mirrors and beach furniture have also been reported to have injured people, and as a result, those items may have been recalled.
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Who is Responsible When a Person is Injured in a Furniture Tip-Over Accident?
In addition to the manufacturer, other responsible parties may include the furniture designer, distributor, supplier and retailer. Product liability law may be used to hold responsible parties, such as these, accountable should a furniture tip-over accident lead to injury or death. Federal laws, and in some cases state laws, hold responsible parties accountable regardless of where the items were made.
In order for a plaintiff to prove product liability, they must be able to prove that there is a defect in the manufacturing process, a defect in the original design of the furniture, and/or the manufacturer(s) failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the dangers potentially associated with the furniture or product.
Types of product liability:
|Manufacturing defects occur when unintended defects develop during the manufacturing process, often occurring when a product deviates from its original design and is a danger to consumers. A manufacturing defect may be due to shoddy workmanship or poor-quality materials.|
|Design defects are defects that are inherent in the design of the product itself. A plaintiff must prove that there is an alternative design that would be as safe as or safer than, as economically reasonable, or as practical as the original design.|
|Marketing defects (failure to warn) are defects that occur when a company fails to provide adequate instructions regarding the proper and safe use of a product, inherent potential dangers, and risks associated with the use of the product.|
Likewise, property owners are legally liable to maintain reasonably safe premises and free from any known dangers, including those related to any defective furniture that may be present. This includes private property such as homes, businesses, hotels and swimming pools, as well as publicly-owned property.
Furniture Tip-Over Injuries
Injuries caused by furniture tip-overs are often preventable, and manufacturers have a duty to analyze and test for any dangers that may occur. According to a report prepared by staff at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2014, an estimated average of 38,000 emergency-treated injuries was reported in the United States between 2011 and 2013.
Injuries associated with furniture tip-overs may include:
- Broken bones
- Head, neck, and brain injuries
In addition to the thousands of injuries reportedly caused by defective furniture, the CPSC notes that of the 430 reported fatalities related to defective furniture between 2000 and 2013, 84 percent (360) involved children aged one month to 10 years.
Furniture Tip-Over Injury Prevention
Injuries associated with furniture tip-over accidents can be avoided, particularly those related to top-heavy dressers that have a tendency to tip over and cause injury to a small child. According to data compiled by the CPSC, a child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TVs tipping over.
Tips that can help protect a child and prevent a tip-over tragedy:
- Use sturdy furniture, including furniture specifically designed for such purposes
- Secure any televisions to the wall that are not wall mounted
- Mount flat-screen TVs
- Follow manufacturers’ instructions to properly secure TVs and furniture
- Older-model TVs should only be placed on furniture stable enough to hold the TV and should be anchored to the wall or to the TV stand
- Secure top-heavy furniture, such as dressers, armoires and some entertainment centers
- Remove objects that may be tempting to children, including toys and remote controls
In 2015, the CPSC launched its “Anchor It!” campaign to help prevent furniture and TV tip-overs from killing and seriously injuring children.
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Defective Furniture Recalls
Enacted by Congress on October 27, 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) established the CPSC as a permanent, independent agency of the U.S. government. The commission is responsible for more than 15,000 consumer products. Additionally, the CPSA gives the CPSC the authority to develop product safety standards and pursue recalls for products that could potentially present unreasonable or hazardous risks of injury or death to consumers.
Each year, there are numerous recalls involving furniture tip-over accidents. In some instances, the defective nature of the furniture has led to furniture tip-over lawsuits, claiming that the product manufacturers and others failed to disclose known risks of injury associated with the furniture and that some consumers suffered damages as a result. Failure to warn of product defects can be a basis of product liability, regardless of whether the furniture has been recalled.
IKEA Dresser Recall
In June 2016, the CPSC, in cooperation with IKEA North America, recalled all children’s and adult chests and dressers that did not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard. Over 29 million units of chests and dressers were recalled, including MALM 3-drawer, 5-drawer and three 6-drawer models, as well as other children’s and adult chests and dressers.
According to a recall notice issued by the CPSC, the recalled chests and dressers were found to be unstable if not properly anchored to the wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that could potentially result in death or serious injury to people, especially children.
Between September 2011 and February 2016, four children reportedly died after MALM chests tipped over. Additionally, IKEA received 41 reported tip-over incidents involving the MALM chests and dressers, resulting in 17 injuries to children aged 19 months to 10 years old. IKEA has also received 41 additional reports of tip-overs involving chests and dressers other than MALMs, resulting in the deaths of three children and 19 injuries.
Is There a Furniture Tip-Over Class Action?
Whether a case becomes a furniture tip-over class action depends on several factors. It the same type of problem with a particular item of furniture affects many people in the same of similar ways, a furniture tip-over class action may be appropriate.
For instance, in a class action lawsuit filed in April 2016, Ashley Furniture allegedly committed fraud when it sold a product known as “DuraBlend” without telling consumers that the product was not made of leather. Although no physical injuries were incurred in the faux leather class action lawsuit, plaintiffs sought punitive damages under California state consumer protection laws.
If an item of defective furniture causes widespread personal injury, many time individual claims and lawsuits are the best way to proceed. In most cases of this type, an attorney will represent an injured person without requiring upfront fees or costs to be paid. Only if a recovery of compensation is made will fees and costs be charged. This is called a contingency fee, and it is typically a percentage of the amount recovered by the injured party. With rare exceptions, at no point is the injured party required to pay any money out of pocket for the representation of a furniture tip-over lawsuit attorney, as the fees and costs are simply deducted from the recovery.
Lauren A. on May 16, 2016
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Have There Been Furniture Tip-Over Lawsuit Settlements?
Some cases may settle early in the claims process. In the case of IKEA dressers tipping over, the company settled three wrongful death lawsuits for a total of $50 million after three young children were killed by defective dressers over a three-year period, according to the Washington Post. In addition to the three deaths associated with the settlements, four other deaths have been reported by the CPSC since 1989 involving IKEA dressers that tipped over.
The outcome of any case is never guaranteed and past results are not necessarily predictive of future outcomes. If a settlement is reached, however, it generally does not affect another person’s right to bring his or her own individual case.
Furniture Tip-Over Lawsuit News
- February 2017Restoration Hardware recalls 1,400 mirrors due to laceration hazards.
- January 2017IKEA North America recalls beach chairs due to reports of serious injuries, including fingertip amputations, associated with the products.
- December 2016IKEA North America settles with the families of three young boys after they were killed when IKEA-manufactured dressers reportedly tipped over.
- June 2016IKEA North America recalls all children’s and adult chests and dressers after three children are killed from unanchored dressers and chests in furniture tip-over accidents.
How a Furniture Tip-Over Lawsuit Can Help
Furniture manufacturers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a furniture manufacturer fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured in furniture tip-over accidents may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.