It’s reasonable to assume that a cellphone, a toy, or any other everyday product poses no threat to your safety. Yet, a number of product recalls have shown that manufacturers often rush products to market without thoroughly testing them, putting consumers at risk. In some instances, manufacturers know their products are dangerous, but they continue to sell them.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to a product defect, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you with your medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact the experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Wapner Newman to request your free case consultation: 1-800-LAW-6600.
Children at Risk
Parents may be alarmed to learn that recalls of children’s toys, clothing, accessories, strollers and other items are common. Sometimes, recall notices don’t reach parents, and they are unaware that they’re using products that could be harmful to their children.
These are a few of the recalls related to defective children’s products that occurred in just one month (June) of 2017:
- A Tennessee manufacturer recalled a child safety gate because it poses an entrapment and strangulation risk for small children.
- 2,000 children’s robes were recalled, because they violate federal flammability standards and pose a burn risk.
- A garment for newborns and toddlers was recalled because the buttons can detach and pose a choking hazard.
In December 2016, furniture manufacturer Ikea agreed to pay $50 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were the families of three toddlers who were killed by Ikea dressers that fell onto them. Furniture manufacturers generally abide by voluntary ASTM International standards, which include specifications for dressers that would prevent tip-over risk. The Ikea dressers did not conform to those standards and, instead, included a wall-anchoring kit, which may have been impractical for some households. Furthermore, the risk of a tip-over accident may not have been evident from Ikea’s assembly instructions.
In June 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that three divisions of Kawasaki had agreed to pay a total of $5.2 million in civil penalties for misleading regulators about their products.
The CPSC said Kawasaki was aware of a defect in its Teryx-brand off-highway vehicles that could cause the floorboards to crack during operation. Although the company received reports of more than 400 incidents in which floorboards had cracked during operation, it did not promptly notify the CPSC – and when Kawasaki did eventually tell the CPSC, the company failed to explain the scope of the problem, underreporting the number of known incidents.
Unfortunately, this type of deliberate deception is not uncommon among major corporations. The most notable example that highlights this fact is the worldwide recall of Takata airbag inflators.
Defective Takata airbag inflators have been blamed for more than 100 injuries and 11 deaths. The original recall to repair the faulty inflators occurred in 2008 and involved 4,000 Honda Accords and Civics. Honda later expanded that recall, and other automakers soon issued their own recalls. The recall now includes more than 42 million vehicles in the United States, and in January 2017, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Takata executives for continuing to sell the airbags, despite knowing they were defective.
Federal court documents showed three Takata executives had – since the year 2000 – erased company data and falsified records, in an effort to hide evidence of the deadly airbag defects.
Gambling With Consumers’ Lives
Companies that cut corners in an effort to save a few dollars, or who deceive regulators about their products, know that they may eventually have to pay a fine if their sub-standard business practices are discovered. But when companies make billion-dollar profits every year, a fine of a few million doesn’t have a big impact on their bottom line. These companies, in most cases, continue manufacturing products and earning profits, while the victims of their negligence deal with painful injuries and lost wages – and sometimes lifelong disability. For families whose loved ones have been killed by defective products, it’s hard to understand how a company could care more about profits that human lives.
If you or a member of your immediate family has suffered a serious injury, and you believe a defective product is to blame, you need an attorney on your side to help protect your interests. Contact Wapner Newman online or by phone at 1-800-LAW-6600 to ask for a free, no-obligation consultation.