As Americans, we should be able to trust that the products we purchase are safe. Our national, state, and local governments have regulatory requirements aimed at product safety. Another key part of the product safety system is the work of product liability lawyers in Panama City and throughout the country. Product liability claims serve two important purposes: allowing an injured person to obtain needed compensation and reiterating the message to manufacturers that unsafe products are unacceptable.
While no unnecessarily dangerous products are permissible, dangerous baby products are particularly upsetting. Along with other news sources, CBS has been covering a recent recall of baby seats. Last week, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission ("CPSC") and Bumbo International Trust announced the recall of over 4 million baby seats. The popular seats are sold in numerous stores and online merchants, including Target, Wal-Mart, and Babies R Us, retailing for $30-$50. The recall covers seats sold from August 2003 through August 2012.
Reports indicate that at least 50 babies fell from Bumbo seats that had been placed on an elevated surface. In 19 of these cases, the infant suffered a skull fracture. A similar concern prompted a previous voluntary recall of 1 million seats in October 2007, and it led to the addition of a label warning users about the danger of a fall. Since that time, reports suggest at least 34 additional infants fell from or wiggled out of Bumbo seats that were placed on the floor or an unidentified elevation, with 2 of the new cases involving skull fractures. Babies between 3 and 10 months of age have managed to fall out of the seat after arching, leaning, or rocking in the molded foam chairs.
Caregivers are asked to stop using the seat at any height until they obtain a repair kit. The kit includes a restraint belt that should be used every time a baby is placed in the seat. It also includes a warning label. The CPSC also warns that the seat should never be used on an elevated surface. Kits are available from the company.
Florida law protects our residents against dangerous products. In general, product liability cases fall under a strict liability framework. In order to prevail, an injured plaintiff (or a parent acting on a child's behalf) must show only that: 1) The product was unsafe; 2) The plaintiff was injured; and 3) The product caused the injury. Since companies have a duty to produce and sell a safe item, the injured person does not need to show that the manufacturer or seller was negligent or careless in making or selling the item.
Common types of product liability cases include design defects, manufacturing defects, and warning/instructional defect. In most cases, there is a 4-year statute of limitations in a product liability case. If the claim is for wrongful death, the period is reduced to 2 years. An additional time limit called a statute of repose also applies and, in the case of most types of products, bars a claim more than 12 years after an item is first purchased by a consumer.
If you or your child suffered an injury due to a Bumbo seat or other defective product, please call our team. Our Panama City defective products lawyer understands Florida law and can apply it to the facts of your specific case. Together, we can get you the money you are owed and remind companies that unsafe is unacceptable.