Personal Injury

Tragic Drowning of Child Highlights Product Liability Claims for Child Safety Products

Parents of young children who have swimming pools nearby recognize one of the biggest fears is drowning. Even if your little one knows how to swim, they are still at risk of drowning if left unsupervised.  Even the best swimmers, young or old, can drown from exhaustion. For this reason, families that have swimming pools in their backyards, or even have a pool or body of water close by, are typically extra cautious when it comes to safety mechanisms to keep their little ones out of harm’s way. There are various child safety products out there that can be used to keep children out of places they shouldn’t be, such as doorknob covers. But, what happens if those products are defective and your child is injured? Let our Joplin personal injury lawyer help. Accidental drowning is a common cause of death in our country Most parents know that swimming pools and ponds required extra vigilance in order to avoid the risk of small children drowning. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported, nearly 10 people drown each day in non-boating related accidents.  Approximately one-fifth of these drowning victims are age 14 or younger. The harsh reality is that drownings, and even near drowning, can lead to brain damage. So, it is important to take extra precautions when you have small children around water. Parents allege defective product resulted in child’s drowning The parents of a 23-month-old filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of a safety device after their son drowned in a nearby pond. According to the lawsuit, the toddler climbed out of his crib while his parents were sleeping, exited the house and wandered to a nearby pond where he drowned. The parents found the door open the next morning and, after searching outside, found the child floating in a pond located approximately 50 yards from their home. The parents allege that the doorknob cover that the parents had received as a gift was defective because the child was still able to open the door and leave the home. They sued the manufacturer for negligently marketing and manufacturing the product. When the case went to trial, they parents lost and they appealed the jury verdict. Parents ultimately held partially responsible for child’s death Unfortunately, the appellate court agreed with the jury verdict. The parents argued that the trial judge should not have allowed the jury to hear evidence that the child had been able to open the door on several occasions before this incident.  That meant that the parents were on notice that the device did not work as intended.  The trial court also allowed in evidence that, despite installing a chain lock on the door after those prior incidents, the parents failed to engage it. As our Joplin personal injury lawyer understands, not every product liability claim is straightforward. Defective Product Claims Defective product claims are based on injuries suffered from the use of a consumer product that was defective either in design or manufacturing, or a product that had insufficient instructions or warnings.  Some common types of defective product claims involve defective vehicles, drugs or medication, and medical devices.  To be successful with these cases, your Joplin personal injury lawyer needs to be experienced at demonstrating the defects that exist with the product, often including engineering and manufacturing issues. What is a defective product? A defective product is any product that causes injury to a person due to a design defect, defective manufacturing, or faulty labeling. While you may be injured using any product, if that product is not defective, there is no basis for a lawsuit. If it can be shown that the manufacturer did not detect the flaw before it was sold, they may be held liable for your injuries. The manufacturer of a product is typically responsible for any defects in its products that injure consumers. That does not mean that manufacturers must guarantee their products are 100% safe because some products are inherently dangerous.  However, if there was a safer design available, manufacturers should consider that design, especially if they know their design has caused injuries. Manufacturers are also required to warn consumers about dangers that are known but cannot be avoided, such as with power tools or lawnmowers. Let our Joplin personal injury lawyer explain the manufacturer’s duty to warn. If you have questions regarding product liability claims or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

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