Do you ignore that little baggie of hardware that comes with your furniture and appliances? If you do, you might be putting your child at risk of a tipping accident. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has found that falling furniture and appliances are hurting a record number of people. The report estimates that 43,000 people are injured per year in such a fashion, and 59% of those injured are children.
How Serious is this Danger?
If you compare the number of people injured or killed by falling furniture to heart disease, obesity, cancer or car accidents, it may seem like a very small problem. Consider this, though: 71 children are injured in a tip-over accident every day, and every two weeks, a child is killed.
The tragedy is that these accidents are completely preventable.
Common Tip-over Scenarios
Tip-over accidents are most often caused by climbing, hitting, kicking or playing near furniture or appliances that have not been properly anchored. Televisions have become a particular danger as families purchase flat-screen models and move older, heavier models into other areas of the house. Parents do not think to secure them against tipping, which sets up a dangerous situation.
Who is Responsible For Protecting Against Product Tipping?
Both the manufacturer and the purchaser have a responsibility to protect against these accidents.
Washington state statute RCW 7.72.030 reads:
“A product manufacturer is subject to liability to a claimant if the claimant’s harm was proximately caused by the negligence of the manufacturer in that the product was not reasonably safe as designed or not reasonably safe because adequate warnings or instructions were not provided.”
Therefore, the manufacturer must design their product to the best of their ability to avoid tipping accidents and also must inform the purchaser of the danger that tipping can occur. If the risk of tipping is significant, manufacturers should provide anchoring hardware as well as instructions on how to install it properly.
As a consumer, it is your responsibility to read the instructions and warning labels included in your furniture and appliance materials. If there are mounting brackets included, please take the time to use them. Doing so could safe a life.
Were You or a Loved One Injured?
Were you or a loved one injured by a defectively designed product? Even after taking all the recommended precautions, accidents can still occur that cause injury or even death. In this case, you may be a victim of a defective product. If you or a loved one has been injured, or if you have lost a loved one because of a faulty product, please contact us immediately. We provide a free consultation to discuss your legal options.