Parents all across the country use many products to help them take care of their children, and Massachusetts residents are no exception. From bottles to baby formula and high chairs to safety restraints, we entrust the well-being of our children to dozens of different manufacturers. We feel safe in this practice because we assume most dangerous products are recalled, so we know what products are and are not safe. However, because this system relies mostly on self-reporting, product recalls may not be as reliable as you think.
A safety advocacy group recently analyzed major recalls on children’s products in the last five years. The group, aptly called Kids in Danger, made some interesting discoveries about the relationships between number of injuries and time of recalling. These findings revealed the companies that issued the most product recalls:
- Target with 24 recalls after 30 injuries and 106 reported incidents.
- Fisher-Price with 19 recalls after 130 injuries and 828 incidents.
- Dorel Juvenile Group with 11 recalls after 10 injuries and 808 incidents.
- IKEA with 11 recalls after 12 injuries and 55 incidents.
- Pottery Barn Kids with 11 recalls after 17 injuries and 86 incidents.
- Walmart with 11 recalls after two injuries and six incidents.
What is most interesting about these data is that Target issued more recalls than Fisher-Price despite having barely one-eighth of the reported incidents and only about one quarter of the injuries. This indicates that some Fisher-Price products caused many more injuries before being recalled than Target products.
These findings illustrate how important it is to investigate any injury by a product. Even if the product has not been recalled, it could still be a defective product, and if you are injured by a defective product, you could be entitled to compensation.
Source: WTSP, “Which sellers have the most kids’ product recalls?,” April 20, 2015
Product liability refers to instances in which individuals are injured by defects or faults in products. These defects could occur in either the design or manufacturing phase of a product’s lifestyle, but if a consumer is injured by a product, they could file a product liability lawsuit. However, if the statute of limitations for such a case expires, then your chances of filing a successful claim will dramatically reduce.
Because product liability falls under the personal injury area of legal practice, it is affected by the personal injury statute of limitations. As this article states, the statute of limitations for injury to person in Massachusetts is three years. This means that if you are injured by a defective product, you have three years to file a claim. If you do not file a claim within this time, there is a strong chance that your case will be dismissed outright.
Even though the time limit for the statute of limitations is very clear, the beginning of that timeline is a bit more ambiguous. The clock for the statute of limitations generally does not begin ticking until the injured party should have reasonably been able to determine that they were injured by the product. Depending on your injury, you may not realize that you were injured for a good long while.
Even if you are afraid that the statute of limitations for your injury has expired, it is still in your best interests to meet with an attorney. An attorney who has experience with product liability injuries may be able to look at your case from a different angle or prove that you could not have reasonably detected the injury immediately. You do not have to pay for an injury that was someone else’s fault.
Whether we realize it or not, we rely on a wide variety of products every day with little or no knowledge of who made them, where they came from and whether they are safe or not. We take a pill when we get sick. We turn on the oven to make dinner. We hop in the car to go to work. We open a bag of snack food when we’re craving a bite to eat. We do all this without thinking because we trust that the things we use on a daily basis have gone through tests to ensure that they are safe to use.
But defective products are out there. Sometimes it’s a problem of logistics. There are just too many products out there for the government or any governing body to examine everything thoroughly. Manufacturers, then, have a responsibility to the consumers to use common sense and run their products through a of host safety tests to catch any potential dangers. If they don’t, lives could be at stake.
In the case of toy manufacturers, those lives lost could be children. After a long fight, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling a popular toy made up of magnetic balls. The balls are made from rare-earth elements and can be dangerous when swallowed. As a result, the estimates indicate that, from 2009 to 2011, 1,700 children had to be taken to an emergency room because of the toy.
Cases like these go to show that just because a product is sold in a well-known store doesn’t mean it is safe. It’s a good policy to do your research before allowing your child to play with anything. If your child has been negatively affected by a dangerous children’s toy, you may want to consider speaking with a Massachusetts attorney.
Source: nytimes.com, “After Two-Year Fight, Consumer Agency Orders Recall of Buckyballs,” Rachel Abrams, July 17, 2014
Manufacturers of products sold in this country have an obligation to their customers to make sure that what they sell doesn’t pose a safety risk. Sometimes, though, regulations can be lax or manufacturers don’t have a fool-proof process by which to test what they make, which can lead to dangerous and defective products. The results can often be severe injuries, illness or even death.
After cases of salmonella kept popping up around Canada and the United States, including one case in Massachusetts, investigators began looking into the claims. After interviewing 39 people, they were able to draw some conclusions. Thirty-seven of the 39 people reported having eaten sprouted seeds or sprouted powder of chia. While no deaths have yet been reported, Salmonella can be incredibly dangerous and can cause sickness that may require hospitalization.
As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have recalled several products that contain chia powder or seeds that have sprouted.
If a civil case were to arise, it would be the job of an attorney to investigate the makers and determine if negligence played a part. Were any of the manufacturers of these chia seeds and powders aware of the potential dangers they could pose? What kinds of fail-safes were in place to prevent dangerous products from reaching the hands of consumers? If dangers were inherent, did the product’s labeling sufficiently and clearly spell them out?
Whether it’s a car part, a consumable or a defective toy, if you’ve been negatively affected by a faulty product, you and a Massachusetts attorney can sit down and discuss the possible options of receiving compensation.
Source: foodsafetynews.com, “U.S., Canada Salmonella Cases Linked to Sprouted Chia Seeds Rise to 73,” June 23, 2014
Massachusetts residents need to beware and do a quick check on their home thermostats. This is because a recall has been announced for more than 1 million thermostats. This is due to a problem that can cause a fire due to battery leakage. The defective products have been sold in hardware stores and other places under various brand names, including such names as Emerson, Maytag, Frigidaire, and Ruud.
When people are injured and property is damaged due to a defective product, there is legal recourse available to those who have been affected. Massachusetts attorneys familiar with laws surrounding product liability may be able to explain consumer rights. These attorneys can also explain what legal remedies are available. These may include seeking financial compensation to cover losses and expenses incurred due to the product defect.
Though no injuries caused by the defective units have been reported to date, there have been reports of seven units sustaining burn damage caused by the defect, so it is fortuitous that no one was hurt. The thermostats were manufactured in China and sold from 2006 through 2013 in both the U.S. and Canada, among other locales. The recalled units original cost ranged from $30 and $70 each.
One way consumers can check their own thermostat to determine if it is a unit that has been recalled is to look for a battery icon. This icon will be found on the blue lighted screen on the thermostat. If the unit has one, it is not part of the recall; the recalled units are not configured in this manner.
It is unreasonable to think that consumers can stay abreast of every recall there is. If you believe you have a defective product that has damaged your home or hurt your person, it may be prudent to seek legal counsel immediately
Source: Boston.com, “1 million thermostats recalled for fire risk,” April 30, 2014