February 24, 2016

When Consumer Goods Cause Bad Injuries: Children’s Products and Toys

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As a parent, you expect the toys and other items you buy for your children to be safe. You read the boxes to make sure they are age-appropriate. You scan the product photos for small pieces and sharp corners. You may even read the fine print to look for toxic substances. But, ultimately, you rely on the products’ manufacturers and retailers to make sure they aren’t selling you things that could harm your children.

So, what do you do when something goes wrong?

Product Liability: Legal Protection Against Defective Products

In Indiana (as in other states), injury cases involving defective products are subject to the law of product liability. Product liability law provides special protections for consumers by putting the responsibility on product designers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to avoid introducing defective products to the market. This includes defective toys, games, furniture and other child-related items.

Product liability law provides these protections specifically because of the issue we alluded to above: As a parent, you need to be able to trust that the things you buy for your children are safe for their intended uses. As consumers, we are not expected to sample and test the items we purchase for our families. But, the companies that make and sell them often are.

Defects That Can Lead to Serious Injuries

There are three specific types of defects that can give rise to claims for product liability. These are (i) design defects, (ii) manufacturing defects and (iii) failures to warn. To put these in context:

  • A design defect involves an issue inherent in the product itself. For example, if the springs on a trampoline are made out of too weak of a material (which eventually leads them to fail), this is something that could be a design defect. Or, if an electronic toy (such as a hoverboard) is prone to catching fire, this would likely be an example of a design defect as well.
  • On the other hand, a manufacturing defect is an issue that causes an otherwise-safe product to become unreasonably dangerous. Like design defects, manufacturing defects are often hidden to the consumer. A bike that comes off of the assembly line with a cracked frame would be an example of a children’s product with a manufacturing defect.
  • Finally, failure-to-warn defects involve issues where products need to be used carefully or in a certain way in order to avoid risk of injury. For example, if a doll or other toy can be broken down into smaller pieces that present choking hazards, the manufacturer may need to include a warning on the box in order to avoid liability for failure to warn.

As a parent, you have risks to worry about every day. The toys and other products in your house should not be included. Unfortunately, all too often, companies fail to take the steps necessary to avoid putting children in harm’s way.

Has Your Child Been Injured by a Defective Product? Contact Price Waicukauski Joven & Catlin, LLC Today

Price Waicukauski Joven & Catlin, LLC is a team of experienced Indianapolis product liability attorneys who represent families in cases involving defective children’s products. If your child has been injured by a dangerous product in the Indianapolis area, contact us today for a free consultation.