What areas may product liability experts consult on? These professionals investigate and report on product failures including design defects and mechanical failures. Unfortunately, design flaws may result in serious injury or death. In the headlines, Ikea will pay $50M to the families of three toddlers who died after their dressers tipped over. The families brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the Swedish furniture and home accessories company, alleging that Ikea refused to meet US safety standards.
In 2015, Ikea launched the “Secure It” program, which offered free wall-mounting kits to consumers. In June 2016, Ikea recalled 29M chests and dressers which include: MALM 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and three 6-drawer models and other children’s and adult chests and dressers. The recalled chests and dressers are unstable if they are not properly anchored to the wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or serious injuries to children.
In 2015 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission wrote:
Falling furniture, electronics, and appliances caused at least 363 fatalities in the United States from 2000 through 2011. About 82 percent of victims in these reported 363 fatal incidents were younger than 8 years. Emergency department-treated injuries associated with product instability have been estimated to occur at a rate of 38,000 per year (all ages). The majority of all falling furniture incidents, injuries, and estimated fatalities occurred in consumers’ homes. Head injuries, injuries from being crushed under falling electronics or by tipped over furniture and appliances, constitute the most common injuries.
Product liability experts are trained to sift through evidence and determine the facts in tip-over accidents. They examine the force, weight, and geometry to determine whether a piece of furniture will tip, and under which circumstances. Hiring the most experienced product liability expert witness to present the facts of your case and provide an unbiased opinion to the court is critical in cases alleging product failure.