Product safety lawsuits involving personal injury may allege poor product design or manufacturing, as well as human factors and misuse of the product. In the news, Ikea relaunched a recall on approximately 17.3 million chests and dressers in the U.S. Ikea.com states, “The recalled chests and dressers are unstable if they are not properly anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in injuries or death to children.” Ikea CEO Lars Petersson stated that the company has had an “extensive communication” campaign through social media and its website. The Swedish company also emailed 13 million people about the recall. (Recall date: November 21, 2017, Recall number: 18-040.)
Ikea’s recent communication recommended that consumers immediately stop using any recalled chest or dresser that is not properly anchored to the wall and place it in an area that children cannot access. The latest warning came after the death of a California toddler who was found trapped underneath an Ikea Malm dresser in May 2017. His death raised questions about whether Ikea had effectively communicated the 2016 recall.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are 11,800 television-related (or TV and furniture) emergency department injuries annually. From 2000 to 2015, CPSC staff has reports of 315 fatalities associated with falling TVs and TV and furniture falling. Cpsc.gov states:
IKEA Reannounces Recall of MALM and Other Models of Chests and Dressers Due to Serious Tip-over Hazard; 8th Child Fatality Reported; Consumers Urged to Choose Between Refund or Repair
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually.
Before any product is distributed to the public, the product design must be evaluated for safety. Product safety is an integral factor in evaluating consumer products such as furniture, vehicles, sports equipment, industrial machinery, etc. When allegations of negligent product safety result in a lawsuit, product safety expert witnesses offer unbiased testimony to the court. These experts explain to the court how manufacturers must comply with safety codes, as well as OSHA regulations. Their evaluation provides critical information on the outcome of the court’s decision.