Thousands of consumers suffer serious injuries or are killed from defective products every year. Most of these injuries could be avoided if the distributor or manufacturer of these products took additional steps to ensure the safety of its consumers.
Defective consumer products may pose a fire, electrical, chemical, mechanical or impact hazard or as in the case of talc-containing products, cause cancer. Many of these defective products affect children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost more than $700 billion each year.
We help ensure that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for injuries caused by defecting products.
The public has been misled into thinking ionization smoke alarms, a staple in approximately 90 percent of American homes, detect smoke and can protect them in case of a fire. In reality, ionization smoke detectors work by detecting ions released from burning materials instead of smoke. Sadly, many prove defective in slow-burning fires that don’t produce as many ions, the most deadly kind, and often do not give adequate time to escape.
Every year, electrical products are associated with injuries, deaths and fires in homes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends inspecting electrical products in your home every six months. Every time you move into a new home or change your clocks is the perfect time to check other electrical products to make sure they are still working properly and safely maintained.
An electrical product that sometimes gets overlooked is the electric blanket. However, it is probably one of the more important items to check because it is subjected to wear and tear simply as a result of cleaning, folding and unfolding it, which can loosen or damage wires and heating elements.
In addition to electric blankets, space heaters, including both fixed and portable heaters, are associated with more than 21,000 residential fires every year. About 300 people die every year in fires started by these heaters. Fuel-burning space heaters can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution when they are not properly vented or there is incomplete combustion / ignition. These inherent dangers are compounded when manufacturing defects make safe operation of the device impossible.
Consumer products that contain lithium ion batteries, including e-cigarettes, may also be defective. We are currently investigating cases involving severe injuries caused by exploding e-cigarette devices and exploding e-cigarette batteries. These explosions have been linked to faulty e-cigarette products, defective lithium-ion batteries and insufficient warnings for users.
Toys and Children’s Products
Perhaps the most vulnerable to defective products are children. Thousands of toys and children’s products are recalled every year due to serious injury and death. While manufacturers are required to meet stringent safety standards for toys and children’s products, unfortunately this process is not perfect, and dangerous and defective products still make it into the marketplace.
Toys with parts that detach, whether intentionally or not, and those that contain toxic chemicals are often the subject of toy recalls, and children’s products like cribs and safety seats that can be defectively designed also pose safety risks. In addition, bicycles also pose a hazard for children. For bicycles, problems have been known to arise from these areas:
- Bicycle Chain Break
- Seat Post Break
- Pedal Crack
- Helmet not complying with CPSC Safety Standards
- Break Cables Detach
These toys and products can cause bumps, bruises, scrapes and more seriously, asphyxiation or death.
Helmets were originally designed to protect against the kind of head-on collisions that can cause penetrating injuries, in which an object penetrates the skull and damages brain tissue. But there are many other types of head and neck trauma that may occur even if a person is wearing a helmet.
While professional groups frequently update helmet standards, more research is necessary for doctors and others to understand how brain trauma occurs, what technological advancements can better protect against those causes, and how to treat the injuries more effectively when they do still arise. In the past, some helmet manufacturers misled consumers about the efficacy of these devices in protecting the head and neck areas.