United States law requires manufacturers of consumer goods to only place safe products into the marketplace. When consumers are injured by goods which were negligently designed or manufactured, they have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries. The standard for product safety can be even higher when the product is designed for a particularly vulnerable population such as children. A Clearwater products liability attorney can help you determine whether your child has the legal right to be compensated for injuries sustained as the result of a defective baby product. With the legal advice of an experienced lawyer, you can protect your child’s legal rights.
Who is Liable for Injuries Caused By Consumer Products?
When a consumer is injured by a consumer product, any company or individual who was responsible for putting the product in the market and getting it to the consumer can be legally responsible (“liable”) for compensating the injury. This is known as the “stream of commerce”. It includes manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and sales teams. Products liability claims most often focus on the manufacturer of the product, as this company had the obligation to design and create a safe product.
Because consumer protection laws are so powerful, many companies proactively respond to defective products. This is why auto manufacturers will incur the expense of issuing a massive recall. Even a large-scale, nationwide recall is less expensive than litigating thousands of severe injury claims. Trucks.com reports that Navistar and Daimler each recalled approximately 900 school buses. Navistar found a defect in the hose fittings for its vehicles’ air brakes. This could lead to increased stopping distances or brake failures. Daimler, meanwhile, discovered that its buses had a propane line which was routed dangerously close to the transmission yoke. This is a fire hazard. Daimler will reportedly reroute the propane lines on affected bus models. It is likely that the manufacturers of these buses were even more cautious than other auto manufacturers due to the potential that children would be injured.
The Heightened Duty of Care For Manufacturers of Baby Products
Manufacturers can face heightened legal scrutiny when their products are specifically designed for a vulnerable class of consumers (such as babies and children). This is not because of a specific statute or case law which imposes a stricter standard. Rather, it is because manufacturers have an obligation to prevent foreseeable injuries. Certain injuries are more foreseeable when the product is designed for a young consumer. For example, most baby products with small parts carry choking hazard warnings. Such a warning would likely not be necessary for a product designed for adults. Yet because the product is designed for babies who are prone to swallowing small parts, the manufacturer took the extra precaution of warning in an attempt to limit its liability.
Baby product recalls are an alarmingly common occurrence in the American marketplace. Good Housekeeping reports that VTech has recently recalled 280,000 rattles and 37,000 travel mobiles. The rattles had a small part that broke off, posing a choking hazard to infants. The mobile had a defective clamp which caused the mobile to fall. This also created an injury risk for infants in their cribs. Products liability actions extend to baby food, as well. Food and Safety News reports that the French government is currently in the midst of a massive criminal investigation surrounding a widespread salmonella contamination. Lactalis, a major dairy company, launched a botched recall of more than 12 million infant formula products in 83 countries. The tainted products were available in French hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets more than a week after the recall was issued.
What to Do if Your Child Has Been Injured By Defective Baby Products or Food
The first step after an injury is to ensure that your child receives all necessary medical treatment. Follow all recommendations from doctors to ensure that your child’s recovery is not delayed or impeded. Not only is this critical in restoring your child’s health, but it can also prevent unnecessary challenges to your child’s legal claim. Next, be sure to save any documentation you have about the defective product. Receipts, UPC codes, packaging, and similar items can help prove that you purchased the tainted product. It is also important to document your child’s injuries. Photographs can be helpful for documenting external injuries (such as bruising, cuts, and similar injuries). Internal and medical symptoms (such as pain, nausea, or abnormal blood work) must be documented with medical records.
The sooner you consult with an attorney about your child’s claim, the better he or she will be able to protect your child’s legal rights. It is therefore important to seek legal advice as soon as your child is medically stable. An attorney will help you file a claim, negotiate a settlement offer, and decide whether to accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit in order to submit the claim to a jury. An attorney will also help you avoid common mistakes which can impair your child’s ability to be compensated for his or her injuries. An example is posting on social media about the injury or accident. Such posts can be used as evidence against you later. The manufacturer’s attorney may attempt to use such posts as evidence that the injuries were not as severe or painful as you claim in court, or that you were partially at fault for your child’s injuries, or that the product was being used improperly. All of these can limit or preclude your child’s ability to be compensated for his or her injuries and financial losses.
If you or your child has been injured by a defective product, it is important to consult with an attorney about your legal rights. Auto accident victims have legal rights under Florida law, and the attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have decades of experience in protecting these rights. Injury victims in and around the Clearwater area trust our personal injury attorneys to protect their legal interests during a difficult – but critical – time. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, aggressive products liability attorney today. Our highly experienced attorneys will negotiate or litigate your case as necessary in order to protect your legal rights.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765