Dangerous products can cause devastating injuries to anyone, but it is perhaps the most heartbreaking when it happens to a child. If an unsafe product has injured your child, it’s essential to understand your child’s legal rights and take action to protect them. Manufacturers, wholesalers, or retail sellers may be held legally responsible for the harm caused by unsafe products, including toys, strollers, cribs, and baby food.
In the U.S., all products need to meet specific standards of safety. For toys, in particular, the federal government has special safety rules requiring children 12 or younger to be tested and certified for safety. Suppose a manufacturer or supplier violates these rules or, in any other way, creates or distributes an unsafe product. In that case, you may be able to seek compensation under a legal theory called products liability.
What Is Products Liability?
Manufacturers and distributors have a legal duty to ensure the products they sell are safe. When a product is dangerous, the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may be held liable (financially responsible) for the harm the defective product caused.
In most cases, the law imposes “strict liability” for defective products, meaning that the manufacturers or others in the distribution chain may be held responsible even if their actions were neither intentional nor negligent. This differs from other personal injury cases, such as car accidents, where people are held accountable only if they fail to use reasonable care.
Who Is Responsible When a Defective or Poorly-Made Product Injures a Child?
There are three types of product defects that you may be able to seek compensation:
- A design defect occurs before the product is made and makes the product inherently dangerous.
- A manufacturing defect occurs while the product is being made.
- A warning defect occurs when there is a failure to warn purchasers about the potential risks of using a product.
Along with manufacturers, anyone who places an unsafe product into the stream of commerce is liable under strict liability for the harm it causes – that usually includes distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Typically, any one of these links in the chain – or all of them – can be named in a lawsuit seeking compensation for the harm done to your child.
What Are the Next Steps You Should Take?
If a dangerous product injured your child, you should take these steps to protect your legal rights:
- If you haven’t returned the product, keep it as evidence.
- Gather any other information you may have that could help support your case, such as medical records, photographs of the product or injuries, contact information for any witnesses who might have seen the injury happen, and recall information if the product was recalled.
- Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible for advice on whether you should pursue a dangerous products liability claim.
The products liability team at Garmey Law knows how devastating it is for a family when their child is injured. We are passionate about seeking justice for children harmed by defective and dangerous products. Call us at (207) 481-4683, or contact us online for a free consultation.