Furniture giant Ikea recalled millions of unsafe wooden dressers back in 2016 after parents who lost children to tipover accidents came forward to hold the company accountable for its role in the accidents. Despite a recall, many of those dressers are still in homes, improperly mounted to walls (if they are mounted at all), where they pose deadly dangers to children. Did Ikea furniture tip over and hurt you or a child? Did the company fail to notify you about the recall? If so, you may want an Ikea tipover lawyer to help you with your claim. So many variables go into a product liability lawsuit that you may quickly feel unable to hold the company accountable. That is why others are retaining legal counsel for their Ikea tipover accidents.
Proving a Duty to Care Is Not Easy
Furniture manufacturers have a duty to protect consumers who purchase their goods. That duty is established in their warranties, their promise to construct goods per regulations, and letting consumers know of any hazards that may exist. Whether buying large dressers for their children or purchasing shelving for their kitchens, consumers have the right to feel safe with the furniture they purchase. Tipover accidents can happen for numerous reasons, most pointing to negligent quality control or a failure to inform consumers of recalled items. In one of the lawsuits against Ikea, a duty to care was established when the company promised to include wall bracket kits with their dressers, but failed to include instructions for how to install that bracket kit. Individuals who research breach of duty and the principles of care as they relate to product safety may only scratch the surface of this complex area of law, whereas an attorney is better prepared to quote specific case laws and state statutes.
Manufacturers Will Fight Product Liability Laws
Proving negligence is the central focus of all civil cases where a defective product, an injured person, and a duty to care existed. The fundamentals of willful negligence in tipover accidents where a person is using the product as described will have the following elements in successful claims:
- Proof that an injury or financial loss occurred due to negligence on behalf of the seller, warehouse, or manufacturer;
- The presence of a defective product;
- A direct connection between the defective item and an injury; and
- Proof that the product buyer used the item as directed, yet was still injured.
Product liability laws contain elements of contract law, such as warranties, and elements of tort law, such as deceit, strict liability and general negligence. Plaintiffs have some latitude in how they can file a claim against a defendant, although the above elements are usually present in successful claims. Defendants like Ikea will contend that they shipped products free of defect. They will shift blame to the consumer for any accidents that caused injury regardless if the item was used as directed. Due to the complexity of product liability laws, you need an Ikea tipover lawyer who can prove that Ikea (et al.) produced faulty furniture.
Responsibility of Manufacturers Is Not Always Clear
Certain expectations and responsibilities come with building products for consumers. Manufacturers are responsible for:
- Producing items according to guidelines set by governing bodies;
- Establishing a process to handle bad products, including a means for consumers to safely return items that are recalled, or preparing kits or add-on products that would help fix the defective item;
- Making sure consumers are aware of recalls;
- Making sure consumers can safely assemble items with accurate directions provided in writing or digitally;
The same responsibilities apply to the retailer, distributor, and any other party in the distribution chain. Consumers injured by falling furniture may not understand the responsibilities of companies that reside within the chain, which may cause them to bring action against the wrong party. An Ikea tipover lawyer often has the resources to quickly find out whom to blame.
Injured Persons May Not Know the Chain of Distribution
The distribution chain contains various corporations, limited liability companies, and retailers. Not all links in the chain are responsible when furniture tips over. To better understand who may be accountable, here is the chain:
- Manufacturer (Ikea, etc.). This is the beginning of the chain where furniture is conceptualized, built, inspected and shipped. The manufacturer has “sub-links” that include:
- Their marketing department or a third-party marketing company;
- Their parts suppliers;
- Their logistics company; and
- Their design firm, if designs are externally conceived.
- Distribution center. This could be company-based or a third-party, and can also include a wholesaler.
- Retailer (Ikea Stores, etc.). Although retailers do not produce defective products, they could be held liable for selling them if they knew of a recall, or had reason to believe a recall was imminent. It should be noted that:
- You do not have to be a direct buyer to claim losses if you were injured by an item owned by a friend or family member;
- You do not have to own the product that injured you to bring a claim; and
- State laws may allow you to claim losses if a used product sold at a secondhand store injured you.
According to the doctrine of joint and several liability, people injured by Ikea furniture could hold one or more defendants liable if they can connect their injuries to more than one source. For example, the manufacturer can be held liable for injury for sending out recalled products that injure consumers, and the retailer could be joined in that suit if they sold it knowing it was recalled. Consumers with little knowledge of product liability and tort laws may miss out on compensation or receive nothing at all; an attorney will expound resources to get to the bottom of the injury so all culpable parties are held accountable.
Big Companies Spend Bigger on Litigation Defense
Ikea paid three families over $50 million if they promised to donate to hospitals. They more than likely spent a huge chunk of change defending their position in these suits, and have no problem spending big to defend against an individual without counsel in tipover claims. In fact, the amount of firepower a major corporation could throw at an individual with little knowledge of product liability laws could decimate a perfectly good case. Experienced product liability attorneys, on the other hand, expect a fight in product injury cases, and have the resources to prove negligence when the evidence supports it. Have a claim against Ikea for tipped over furniture? Unsure if you have a case? Claimants do not spend money when retaining most personal injury firms for product injury cases. Such lawyers only collect when they secure compensation for their clients. There is nothing to lose by contacting an Ikea tipover lawyer today. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/ikea-tipover-lawsuit-attorney/