On August 22, 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall by Ace Bayou Corp of 2.2 million beanbag chairs for suffocation and choking hazards after two children died from suffocation in the chairs. According to officials at the CPSC and Ace Bayou, the chairs contain two zippers that can be opened by children, allowing the children to crawl inside and become trapped and/or suffocate or choke on the chairs’ foam beads. One zipper is on the exterior of the chair’s cover and the other, directly beneath that one. According to the CPSC, these openings are in violation of voluntary industry standards requiring non-refillable beanbag chairs to be closed or to have permanently disabled zippers. The chairs were sold before July 2013 at Walmart, Bon-Ton, Pamida, School Specialty, Meijer, Amazon.com, and Wayfair for $30 and $100, depending on size and style.
These chairs are not only a threat to very young children, but to older children, as well. The two children whose deaths were recently reported were aged three and thirteen. Both suffocated and were found inside the zippered compartment of the chairs. Consumers are warned to immediately take the chairs out of their children’s reach and to contact the manufacturer for a repair kit to permanently disable the zippers.
Defective children’s products often cause serious injuries or death to children. Nationally recognized child injury attorney Jeff Killino has extensive experience with cases involving injuries or death to children caused by defective products. If your child has been injured or killed through the use of a defective children’s product or as a result of someone’s negligence, attorney Killino and his team of child accident and wrongful death lawyers will help you obtain the justice to which you and your child are entitled from those responsible for your child’s injury or death.
Legal Liability for Children’s Injuries or Deaths Caused by Defective Children’s Products
Who is liable if your child is injured or killed while using a defective children’s product? Does the manufacturer’s recall of the product before your child is injured protect the manufacturer from liability?
Product Liability Law
Legal actions brought by product liability or personal injury lawyers for injuries or deaths caused by product defects, including those in products intended for children’s use, are generally brought as product liability actions, which are controlled by state product liability law. Though most states have enacted some form of the Model Uniform Product Liability Act (MUPLA), the law can differ from state to state.
Under the product liability law of most jurisdictions, however, the manufacturer of a defective product may be held strictly liable for the injuries or death sustained by a victim as a result of the product’s defect. Strict liability is a form of legal action that allows a plaintiff to recover damages from a defendant without proving negligence or fault on the part of the defendant. Thus, the plaintiff may recover for injuries caused by a product’s defect even if the defect was not caused by anyone’s negligence and even if the defendant was unaware of the defect at the time the victim was injured or killed. The plaintiff need only establish that the defect exists, that it caused the victim’s injury or death, and that the injury or death resulted in legally compensable damages.
In addition to the manufacturer of a defective product, the product’s designer, assembler, supplier, retailer, and others in the chain of the product’s distribution may be found strictly liable for injuries or deaths caused by the product defect. Just as is true of the manufacturer, these defendants may be found liable in the absence of any negligence or fault or knowledge of the product’s defect.
What if a manufacturer recalls a defective product before a victim is injured by the product? Will that relieve the manufacturer and others in the product’s chain of distribution from liability? Since these defendants are held strictly liable for injuries or deaths caused by product defects, the actions of the defendants—including a prompt recall of a product—will not relieve them of liability under the product liability law of most jurisdictions.
In some cases in which a child has been injured by a defective product while under someone’s care, a personal injury attorney may also bring an action for negligence against the individual or entity entrusted with the child’s care if the negligence of that person or entity was a contributing cause of the child’s injury or death. When a nanny, babysitter, or daycare center employee has agreed to care for a child in the absence of the child’s parents, that person is required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of the child while the child is under the person’s care. If, for example, a caregiver, such as a nanny or babysitter, had knowledge of a product defect or danger and nevertheless allowed the child access to the product, the caregiver, in addition to the product manufacturer, may be found liable in an action for negligence for the child’s injury or death that resulted from the product’s defect.
If the caregiver was an employee of a daycare center or babysitting or nanny agency at the time the negligence and resultant injury occurred, the employer center or agency may be found indirectly liable for the victim’s injury or death. If the employee’s negligence resulted from the employer’s negligence in screening, hiring, training, or retaining the employee, the employer may be held directly liable, as well.
Obtain Expert Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeff Killino
Defective children’s products all too often cause children’s injuries and deaths. If your child has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence of a person or entity entrusted with your child’s care or through the use of a defective children’s product, child injury attorney Jeff Killino and his team of toy injury and children’s accident attorneys will fight for the justice you and your child deserve.