Furniture is a source of thousands of injuries each year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, furniture tip-overs alone send 14,700 injured children younger than 18 to hospital emergency rooms each year. Under Florida law, furniture manufacturers, designers and retailers may be liable if a piece of furniture causes harm to a consumer.
If you or someone you care about recently suffered a defective furniture injury, we encourage you to call Newsome Melton. Our team specializes in product liability law. Call us at 888-808-5977 for a free consultation with a defective furniture injury lawyer.
Furniture – from dressers to bookcases to foldaway beds – are frequent sources of injuries and deaths. In 2017 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that between 2000 and 2016, there were 514 tip-over fatalities, and 30,700 emergency department-treated injuries – 64 percent involved tables, dressers and bookcases.
Murphy beds, beds that fold away into the wall or a shelving unit are another source of injuries and deaths, cause by entrapments or by the bed falling on a bystander. In January 2018, the CPSC announced that 2,300 I-Semble vertical and horizontal Murphy Bed hardware kits in twin, full and queen sizes were being recalled because the kits used to secure the wooden wall enclosures to the wall studs did not provide sufficient bracing support, “posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children.” The distributor, Rockler Companies Inc. Medina, Minn. had received five reports of the wooden wall enclosure falling from the wall, including one report of injury. In April 2015, a 76-year-old Oregon woman died after the frame of a Murphy bed pulled away from the wall, collapsed and locked shut as she slept in it. In 2012, a 33-year-old New York man died when a Murphy bed he was installing fell on his head, crushing his skull and severing his spine.
Filing a Defective Furniture Liability Lawsuit
Product liability laws outline the responsibility designers, manufacturers, and retailers have to create and sell safe products. A product liability lawsuit involving a defective consumer product may be based on three types of defects:
- A design defect: A defect that is built into the inner workings and functions of the product. This occurs during the engineering and planning phase, before the product is manufactured. For example, a dresser could be designed with insufficient and stability to prevent it from toppling over when weight is applied to an open drawer. Or the manufacturer did not include a Tip Restraint Device, such as an anchoring strap with the dresser.
- A manufacturing defect: A defect that occurred during the production of the component parts or the assembly of the product. A bed frame manufactured with a weakness in the joints that leads to sudden collapse is an example of a manufacturing defect.
- A marketing defect: A defect related to the manufacturer’s failure to provide adequate instructions on the proper and safe use of a product, adequate warnings against safety hazards of the product, or information about the safety risks associated with its use.
There are no mandatory safety standards for furniture. The voluntary standards are set by organizations such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in consultation with industry representatives. A 2016 CPSC study, testing 61 clothing storage units (CSUs) for how well they conformed to voluntary safety standards found that 31 dressers tested did not comply with voluntary stability requirements, 26 did not meet the Tip Resist Device standards and majority of the labels designed to warn consumers about the dangers of tip-overs did not meet the standards regarding the label content or did not even have a tipover-related label.
The CPSC also noted in its study that although dressers are not made to be climbed, it was entirely “foreseeable and developmentally expected for children younger than 6 to use furniture for pretend play, for dressing themselves, and for “developing problem-solving skills by stepping on lower drawers in order to reach items in upper drawers and on top of a dresser.”
How A Lawyer Can Help Your Case
The legal team at Newsome Melton handles complex product liability litigation and can help you:
Document your injuries. They may include: broken bones, crushed limbs, concussions, spinal injuries, internal bleeding, cuts and bruises
Determine if you can file a claim. You don’t have to be using the person using a product to argue that a defect negatively impacted you. Liability law extends the right to file claims to bystanders, too.
Preserve your evidence in a product liability case.
Keep track of the cost of your medical care from the date of the injury.
Obtain testimonies from family and friends and other evidence to show how your furniture-related injury has negatively impacted your life.
Newsome Melton offers free consultations. If you would like to learn more about how a defective furniture injury lawyer can help you, call us at 888-808-5977 today.