The holiday season is a time of year when many families and friends exchange gifts with each other. Some of those gifts will be the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets, while others may be simpler items like clothes and gift cards. When it comes to children, they tend to get immersed in playing with new toys that they got for the holidays.
One way or another, consumer products seem to take center stage during this time of the year. Regardless of a person’s religion or whether they celebrate any holidays at all, the shopping craze between late November and December can also serve as a reminder about the importance of product safety.
Our Orange County law firm knows all too well that just because a product has commercial appeal and success does not necessarily mean that it is safe for consumers. From basic children’s toys to complicated machines and even automobiles, we understand that any product can pose dangers to consumers.
At Easton & Easton, we have decades of experience handling cases where people have suffered injuries or death from products that were not as safe as they should have been. Even when a product does not have a design or manufacturing defect, that product’s insufficient warnings can still make it dangerous because the consumer will not appreciate certain risks associated with using that product.
We know how to put forth the best legal case possible when fighting against a negligent manufacturer or other party involved in getting a harmful product into the consumer’s hands. Our website contains some helpful information about what to do when negligence on the part of a product’s manufacturer, distributor or retailer leads to injury or loss of life. While our firm’s website is a good starting point, our attorneys can provide more in-depth and case-specific guidance.
Some Christmas toys may have defects, insufficient warnings
Not surprisingly, a lot of toys appear on the shelves of stores during this time of year. Likewise, games and toys for babies and children are widely available online, oftentimes at really good prices. Many of these toys are hot items that will no doubt give a lot of enjoyment to the children who get them during this special time.
However, in the rush to find that perfect Christmas gift, parents need to be careful that they keep safety in mind. According to one report, there are several toys that can cause choking, strangulation, blindness and other serious injuries and problems that nonetheless are on the market this holiday season.
Many parents might not be fully aware of the dangers these toys present, and the manufacturers’ warnings may do little to help, particularly in the face of clever packaging and marketing that are aimed to make the toys look fun and, of course, perfectly harmless.
For instance, kids can easily get lost in the fun of having a Nerf gun until it is too late and someone has suffered a serious eye injury because of a flying projectile.
In a handful of cases, some of these notably dangerous toys come without warnings. The report described one pull toy that came with a string that is easily long enough to strangle a baby or even a toddler. However, the toy comes with no warnings despite being clearly targeted to a very young audience.
Parents need to use good judgement when selecting toys that are both fun and safe gifts. However, it is ultimately not their responsibility to be sure a toy is safe enough to be on the market. That responsibility belongs to the toys’ manufacturers. When companies fail in this responsibility, victims can ask for compensation through a products liability lawsuit.
Unsafe products a post-holiday reality for some
Although the holidays have come and gone, many kids and adults are probably still having fun with gifts that they received during the season. Whether that gift is the latest and greatest model of a popular toy or something like a household appliance, owners should always understand how the product is supposed to work before attempting to use it.
Many companies choose the busy holiday shopping weeks to launch new products that they hope will yield huge sales for their companies. In some cases, designers and manufacturers may even rush products to market specifically to capture some of the holiday shopping demand. Still, these efforts should never come at the expense of product safety.
Sometimes manufacturers and retailers feel the pressure of having to hit difficult sales targets. This can mean pushing a constant stream of new products to market without having the opportunity to fully develop the safety aspects of that product. In addition, a rush to production can result in design or manufacturing defects, which can ultimately injure product users.
At Easton and Easton LLP, we know that unsafe products can cause all kinds of terrible injuries to people who use them. Whether the danger was the fault of poor design or a negligent manufacturer, an injured victim has legal rights to pursue compensation. The same is true if a product is sold without sufficient warnings regarding assembly and use of the product.
Products liability: Some toys to think twice about buying
Every year, a group dedicated to protecting children from dangerous toys dubs a few toys as worst toys of the year. These toys were of a wide variety of types, but there were a couple of common themes that ran through this year’s list.
Some Orange County, California, residents might be able to see how some of the toys were just flat out not safe for anyone, much less small children. One example is a toy device like tightrope that can be used to stretch from tree to tree. While someone with experience balancing on a tightrope might fare okay, the danger of a fall from a significant height is evident.
Another toy which raises some safety questions are rollers that a kid can attach to his or her shoes. While having wheels on shoes is itself not the safest proposition, the supposedly cool, but actually quite dangerous, thing about these wheels is that sparks fly off of them as a child rolls along. Not surprisingly, some toys like nerf guns, rigid plastic swords and toy drones with lots of rapidly moving parts also made the list.
However, there were also many toys with labeling and marketing issues, including insufficient warnings, that appeared on the group’s list. Many of these toys were baby toys which presented choking or strangling hazards. The problem with these toys is that they either had inadequate warnings or were being suggested as a toy suitable even for the youngest children when in fact, such is not the case.
While it is important to remember that this is just one group’s opinion of which toys on the market right now are most dangerous, parents should still familiarize themselves with this list of toys and make careful shopping decisions. Those parents whose family members have, tragically, lost their lives because of these toys may want to pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit.
3.6 million unsafe children’s plates and bowls recalled
For families, keeping children safe is a serious concern, which is why it is important families are aware when their children may be exposed to hazards because of dangerous products. In this respect, Orange County parents should take note that a major manufacturer of children’s products recently recalled 3.6 million units of children’s plates and bowls due to a potential choking and safety hazard.
The children’s plates and bowls recently recalled have a clear plastic layer of graphics over the plates and bowls that can bubble up or peel and pose a choking hazard to small children. The plates and bowls have differing graphics and were sold separately and in sets. The manufacturer has received 372 reports of the clear plastic layer on the plates and bowls bubbling up or peeling off. They have received 11 reports of the clear plastic layer detached from the defective plates and bowls found in the mouths of children and 4 reports of children choking on the detached clear plastic layers from the plates and bowls.
The legal system recognizes that it is important for the consuming public to be safe from unsafe products which is why, in addition to the importance of safety recalls and alerts, it provides personal injury legal protections to victims injured, killed or otherwise harmed by defective or dangerous products. Victims of unsafe products and their families may be able to recover compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages suffered because hazardous products.
There are extensive legal protections available to victims of dangerous or defective products under the legal umbrella of products liability law. It is important for victims and their families to be familiar with this sometimes complex area of the law and the protections it affords them when harmed by an unsafe product.
We represent parents after children are hurt by defective toys
A previous post on this blog talked about some recently marketed toys that at least one watchdog group dubbed as particularly dangerous for children.
Whether it was because of an inadequate or unclear warning or some sort of fundamental flaw in the toy itself, all of the toys on this list had the potential to leave well-meaning parents sorely regretting the decision to buy those toys. After all, no parent wants to see their child hurt or even killed because of a toy they purchased out of love for them.
It is important for parents to remember though that, while it is always a good idea for them to be vigilant about what they buy for their kids, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to market only those toys that are safe. When manufacturers do not do this, even if they took reasonable steps to do so, they can be held financially accountable.
As part of our California product liability practice, our Orange County attorneys are equipped to represent the parents of children who get hurt by dangerous toys.
In our over 70 years’ experience between our attorneys, we have come to recognize how manufacturers and their insurance companies might try to stop a product liability claim about a dangerous toy, perhaps even by blaming the child or the parent for the accident. We know how to respond to these defenses, and we will consistently remind judges and juries that manufacturers are, legally speaking, strictly liable for any defective products they put on the market.
We will also work hard to make sure that our clients get all of the compensation they deserve. While no amount of money can undo the damage done, it can be very helpful in covering medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
United States Consumer Product Content Commission, “Playtex Recalls Children’s Plates and Bowls Due to Choking Hazard,” Oct. 3, 2017