According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2018, there were well over 200,000 toy-related injuries in the United States, 17 resulting in fatalities. The horrors implicit in that statistic are hard to comprehend. Imagine being the parent of a child who has suffered a severe, even life-altering, injury from playing with a gift that was supposed to provide enjoyment. Imagine being the parent of a child who died while playing with a toy joyously received. Maybe you don’t have to imagine such a catastrophe. Maybe you have lived through one.
Obviously, nothing can undo the ongoing pain or death of a child, but parents do have legal recourse. Manufacturers and distributors of playthings have a duty of care to the public and can be sued for product liability if they introduce a dangerous product into the marketplace that causes serious harm. Families deserve not only financial compensation for their child’s medical costs and pain and suffering, but the opportunity to protect other children from falling victim to similar negligence.
At Compass Law Group, LLP, we are deeply committed to holding those responsible for causing children harm accountable. We have a solid record of successful outcomes.
Common Injuries from Defective Toys
Toys can cause harm to children in any number of ways: cuts, bruises, burns, choking, broken bones. Almost half of the children who suffer in accidents involving toys are injured on the face or head.
While the vast majority of toy-related injuries can be treated on the spot and do not require hospitalization or surgery, some unfortunate few children’s toy-related injuries result in disability, disfigurement, or death. In cases in which a toy can be proven defective, a sharp product liability attorney can help plaintiffs recover significant damages. Among the most common dangers to children are:
- Choking Hazards that usually affect young children who are prone to putting anything that will fit into their mouths. Balloons and toys with small pieces or detachable parts present dangers to babies and toddlers, and sometimes to older children as well.
- Toys with Projectiles that resemble weapons can easily become dangerous. These include BB guns, airsoft guns, and paintball guns. Even toys that shoot “bullets” of foam or rubber can cause harm, especially if aimed at the face or eyes.
- Toys with wheels, like dirt bikes, skateboards, scooters (motorized or not), in addition to posing the obvious hazards of falling or colliding, may, if defective, break or disassemble, causing serious injury.
- Toys with cords, strings or loops that can be very dangerous if wrapped around a child’s limbs or neck, presenting hazards of strangulation
- Toys with sharp edges or points pose the risk of stab wounds or other lacerations.
- Toys containing toxins, like lead, BPA, or formaldehyde, may cause poisoning if ingested, or other toxic reactions if simply inhaled or touched.
- Flotation devices that, if improperly made, may fail, resulting in possible drowning
How California Law Determines Product Liability
The first thing to remember if you want to sue the company that manufactured a defective toy that hurt your child is that you require the services of a competent product liability attorney.The laws surrounding product liability are too complicated, and the possible defenses the opposing side may use are too plentiful, to confront the matter without excellent legal representation.
In order to prove product liability, you must prove four things:
- That the defendant designed, manufactured, distributed or sold a defective product
- That the product contained the defect when it left the defendant’s possession
- That the plaintiff used the product in a reasonably foreseeable manner
- That the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the defect
Even though in most personal injury lawsuits the defendant must have shown negligence, recklessness or intent to harm, if a product is more dangerous than it should be, or contains inadequate warnings regarding its use, the defendant is strictly liable for any resulting injuries as long as the product was used in a reasonably foreseeable way.
Categories that Define Defective Toys
There are three reasons a product may be considered defective:
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- Lack of (or ineffective) warning label
In other words, either the toy was designed with an intrinsic, dangerous defect, was manufactured failing to meet design standards, or lacked a necessary warning label to prevent users from being injured.
There Is No Acceptable Reason for a Toy to Be Dangerous
If your child has been seriously harmed by a toy, it’s time to take legal action to receive the compensation you need and deserve for medical costs and related expenses and for pain and suffering. Find out whether you have a viable case by contacting a reliable product liability attorney as soon as possible.