It's every parent's nightmare: the loss of a child due to an unfortunate accident. Tragedy will strike, and accidents can happen, but no one should have to suffer such a terrible loss due to negligence. Regrettably, such a misfortune happened recently: a toddler was crushed after a dresser fell on him. The dresser was made by popular furniture manufacturer IKEA. The parents have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, claiming that the dresser had a faulty and unsafe design, and that IKEA knew of its unstable design flaw.
This lawsuit is actually the second of its kind within a year. IKEA faced similar trouble when another toddler suffered the same fate in February 2014 from the same dresser. The family is currently seeking damages for medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering for the deceased, and also their own emotional distress.
Did IKEA Take Appropriate Safety Measures?
IKEA has taken measures to urge people who purchase their furniture to make use of some additional hardware: brackets that mount the furniture to the wall to prevent tip over. To many, however, this is simply an overly tedious additional step. On top of that, it seems more than reasonable that a piece of furniture should be able to stand on its own without a serious danger of it tipping over. In addition, the lawsuit claims that IKEA has had knowledge of the tip over accidents and has chosen not to amend the design or institute a full recall of the faulty products, insisting that the brackets to hold the furniture in place will suffice for proper safety. Essentially, the use of something like additional wall anchors generally does not absolve the manufacturer of the responsibility to ensure its products are constructed safely. This is a problem, as any manufacturer of any product should hold itself responsible to make a product that is safe and usable.
Product liability is, essentially, the idea that manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and others who bring products and commodities to the public for sale must be responsible to ensure that products are safe, usable and do not actively or regularly cause harm to the user. This means keeping the products free of defect or design flaws that cause injury to the user. It also means that if a product can, by the nature of its use, cause harm to the user, the user is properly warned of the danger. A company that knowingly brings hazardous products to the market can suffer serious consequences if their product is held liable for its negligent design.
For IKEA, this can mean restitution for its customers for the wrongful deaths that its products have caused. the company has declined to comment on any ongoing legal action, per its own policies, but with the pressure on and the public eye focused, the families may see a large settlement if they do not go to the courtroom.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to product failure, contact us today.