Personal Injury Blog


Has Your Child Been Injured By Poorly Made Booster Seats?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Time spent around the dinner table is supposed to be good for a child. It encourages communication, socialization and family bonding as well as familiarization with healthy foods. Unfortunately, defective booster seats and product liability cases have turned the once idyllic scene into a cause for concern. Case in point, more than 20,000 booster seats were recalled in May 2015 alone! The brand at the center of the latest, troubling recall was OXO.

Latest Booster Seat Recall Danger

The booster seats that they manufactured in China and sold from 2014 until April of this year featured defective straps. As such, unsuspecting toddlers could have very easily fallen out of the seats or gotten entrapped in the straps during escape attempts. Sadly, the OXO booster seat recalls are just another notch in a long list of restraint failures.

Booster and High Chair Manufacturers Can’t Be Trusted

In April 2014, the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics published a study showing just how untrustworthy booster seat and high chair manufacturers have been over the years. They recorded more than 2,000 injuries between 2003 and 2010 in conjunction with 3+ million recalls. In addition, they estimated that in excess of 9,000 related injuries have occurred every year thereafter. That’s a lot of injured children to be sure.

Parents Beware of Non-Certified Products

Parents hoping to prevent booster and high chair related accidents should consider confining their purchases to ones that hold ASTM International and JPMA Certifications. Checking to ensure that the booster seats and high chairs were not manufactured by frequent offenders is another smart choice because companies with a history of product liability issues shouldn’t really be trusted with a child’s health.

After purchasing booster seats or high chairs, parents should make it a point to sign up for product recall alerts, just in case. We would also suggest reading the owner’s manual that came with the booster seat or high chair. After all, it is vital that parents and other responsible adults use the booster seats or high chairs properly. Otherwise, children could become injured and parents could be accused of contributory negligence.

Flawed Booster Seat and High Chair Injuries

Injuries frequently associated with defective booster seats include, but are not exclusive to broken bones, head injuries, lacerations, fractures and puncture wounds. Of course the situation could worsen if hot food, beverages, glass and cutlery are involved. For example, the child could start to fall out of the booster seat and instinctively reach towards the table.

In the process, he or she could knock over steaming hot foot sitting in a glass bowl. The serving bowl could break upon hitting the floor, sending shards of glass and hot foods towards the already injured child. In the end, the child could end up with serious burns, eye injuries and severed arteries in addition to the original, impact injuries. The hot foods and glass could also obviously travel far enough to injure other people seated at the table as well.

Seek Restitution for Booster Seat or High Chair Injuries

If incidents like that happen, families should hold on to the defective booster seat and contact a product liability attorney for advice. It may be possible to sue the booster seat’s manufacturer and receive compensation for injured children and others impacted by the flawed product.

Consumer Product Liability Cases Come in Several Forms and Sizes

Friday, August 21, 2015

Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed by defective products. Just take a passing glance at the United states Consumer Product Safety Commission’s cache of injury statistics and you’ll quickly see the wide range of defective products that there are in this country. On a positive note, consumers have at least three types of product liability cases that they may file against companies who fail to do their due diligence.

Which Categories Do Product Liability Lawyers Use Most Often?

The type of product liability case that tends to be filed the most nowadays is what personal injury attorneys like to refer to as a substandard manufacturer claim. As you’ve likely assumed by now, the lawsuits have to do with the manufacturing process and not design. Poorly designed items comprise their own category of product liability claims and the same may be said for failure-to-warn cases.

How Hard is It to Prove One or More Product Liability Claims?

In each of those product liability cases, claimants must prove that they did nothing to contribute to their own injuries. They must also submit proof that they, or their property, were injured due to the product’s manufacturing or design. Clearly, proving these types of assertions are not always easy given the nature of some consumer products, patent and proprietary information related laws.

For example, let’s pretend that a person goes out and buys a, espresso coffee maker. While using the product for the first time, the cap comes off and causes second degree burns to the person. A logical person would ask at least some of the following questions:

  • Did the person read the espresso coffee maker’s manual before trying to make coffee?
  • Did the person follow all of the instructions in the espresso coffee maker’s manual to a tee?
  • Did the person put the right type and amount of products in the espresso coffee maker?

If the answers are yes, it is likely that product liability attorneys will ask other probing questions about the manufacturing process. Some of the questions that come to our product liability lawyers’ minds are as follows:

  • Are all of the espresso coffee maker’s parts made to today’s safety and quality standards?
  • Have the espresso coffee makers been tested extensively and what where the test results?
  • Did the company’s records show that management was aware of potential design or manufacturing flaws associated with the espresso coffee maker?
  • Did the instruction manual that came with the espresso coffee machine contain enough accurate information about the potential for cap related, burn and scald related injuries?
  • Are the victim’s injuries consistent with other accidents involving the same type or similar espresso machines?

Some of the answers to those questions will need to come from a review of espresso coffee maker’s design plans and product testing results. Obviously, companies are going to fight to keep that information private. This is particularly the case if product liability lawsuits may appear to be on the horizon. On a positive note, product liability lawyers can aid victims in getting access to those documents via the subpoena process. To find out what else product liability attorneys may do to help speed a person’s lawsuit along to a just resolution, please contact us.

Watch Out for Back-to-School Timepieces for Kids

Thursday, July 23, 2015

As school gets underway across much of the country, cases of product liability are heating up, especially when it comes to children’s items. Some of the recent objects to come under scrutiny are kids' novelty watches. A recall was posted in early August after several timepieces burnt the skin of a number of children. The burns were said to have resulted from faulty design elements and dry cell, watch batteries.

Dry cell batteries have been around since the 1880s and are generally safe as long as they are not ingested. Typically made with paste electrolytes, they are slow to degrade but not in this case. In this case, the faulty design caused the batteries to be exposed to outside elements, which hastened their life span. As a result, kids wearing the watches were inadvertently exposed to the chemical pastes located inside of the dry cell batteries.

Although present in small amounts, the paste has the capacity to cause serious burns. Therefore, it has to be removed from the skin right away. Naturally, removing it is not as simple as wiping it off with a washcloth. As a matter of fact, aggressively cleaning the burned area in that manner may actually make the situation worse.

Instead, it is generally better to place the wrist or other effected area under lukewarm, slow-running tap water to flush the paste away until professional, medical help arrives. If the burn doesn’t warrant professional help, keep the running water on it until all of the paste appears to have been removed. Remember, we are talking about a past here. So, it may take 20 to 30 minutes worth of cleansing before all traces of the chemical paste have been removed from the skin.

If the burn was caused by a watch or other faulty product, take pictures of the skin damage as well as the item that prompted the injury. Document the event’s details and do not throw out the children’s watch or attempt to touch it without taking steps to protect your skin from the oozing paste. Oftentimes, donning chemical-resistant gloves and placing the watch in an acid-resistant, storage container is the best course of action.

After the battery acid has been neutralized and the injured person’s condition is stable, consult with experts about how to proceed. It may be possible to bring product liability suits against the watch manufacturer or the company that made the battery in question. In some instances, it may even be appropriate to sue both as well as the store that sold the dangerous, children’s watch.

Resist the temptation to contact the company first and complain. Speak with health and legal experts, then report the incident to the company. Talking to them before the company will help ensure that the victim is on the mend and determine if there are grounds for a product liability case in the first place. If there are grounds for bringing a product liability case, depend on legal counsel for advice on the appropriate way to notify the company of the defective product.