As the holidays approach, children across the nation are beginning to fervently anticipate the gifts they will receive. However, this excitement can quickly turn to despair as the result of an injury caused by a defective or dangerous toy. Fortunately, injured parties and their families may be able to receive some compensation for their losses by filing a product liability claim.
Toys with certain features have been proven to pose specific risks to children. The list includes the following:
- Toys with magnets that can be swallowed;
- Balloons, which when deflated can choke or suffocate a child;
- Toys with sharp or jagged edges;
- Toys with small parts that could cause choking; and
- Scooters and other riding toys.
When used improperly or without supervision, toys with these characteristics have the potential to cause:
- Dislocations and fractures;
- Lacerations and punctures;
- Eye injuries;
- Strangulation; and
Often, these injuries are not the result of improper use or a lack of supervision, but are caused by an inherent defect in the product. In these cases, the parents or guardian of an injured child can hold the toy manufacturer liable for putting a dangerous toy on the market. Generally, plaintiffs can argue that a product had one of the following defects:
- A design defect;
- A manufacturing defect; or
- Improper warnings.
A plaintiff can argue that a toy had one or more of these types of defects under the legal theories of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability. For example, a manufacturer could be held liable for an injury or death caused by one of the following actions:
- Failing to adequately test or inspect a toy;
- Failing to include a label warning of unreasonable dangers;
- Failing to use nontoxic, non dangerous materials;
- Failing to implement the appropriate design; and
- Failing to issue an adequate recall notice.
Alternatively, plaintiffs could argue that a company is strictly liable for the injury or that it breached an implied or express warranty. If successful, a plaintiff may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering endured by the injured child.
Although avoiding an injury is sometimes impossible as a result of a defect in manufacturing or design, there are some steps that a parent can take to help prevent toy-related injuries, including:
- Purchasing toys that are appropriate for a child’s age and maturity level;
- Ensuring that toys have an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) label, which indicates that a product meets national safety standards;
- Keeping toys made for older children out of the reach of younger siblings;
- Carefully reading a toy’s instructions and warning label;
- Making sure that children wear a helmet when using a riding toy, such as a scooter; and
- Refraining from purchasing toys with high-powered magnets.
Implementing these measures may not guarantee a child’s safety, but it can significantly decrease the odds that a child will suffer an injury.
Contact a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer
If you live in Pennsylvania and your child recently suffered an injury as the result of a defectively manufactured toy, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.