Many products come into the home over the course of the holiday season. From electronics to toys to holiday decorations, the purchase of consumer products is an integral part of celebrating the festive season.
Unfortunately, with the purchase of all of these products comes a risk of injury if the items brought into the home turn out to be dangerous. The risk is not a small one, either. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns of 254,200 ER visits due to toy injuries each year and Electrical Safety Foundation warns of 1,170 home fires annually resulting from fires caused by holiday decorations.
When problems arise with toys, holiday decorations, or any products purchased by consumers, it is important to determine who is responsible for any resulting injuries. Victims harmed by dangerous products can often hold product manufacturers accountable for holiday accidents.
A product manufacturer can be held accountable if a product is released onto the marketplace with a defect that makes that product dangerous. If a consumer gets hurt as a result of using the product for the purpose for which the product was sold, this is a situation where a manufacturer can be held liable for losses.
Product defect cases can be pursued under strict liability rules, which dictate that a manufacturer should automatically be liable for harm if it can be proved a problem with the product was the direct cause of an incident causing injury.
Strict liability imposes a different standard on a victim to hold a product manufacturer responsible than the standard that applies in many other injury cases. For example, if a motorist is hurt in a holiday car accident (another leading cause of injuries during the holiday season), the victim would have to prove the driver of the car was negligent in order for the victim to pursue a claim for compensation. In a product defect case, on the other hand, strict liability rules mean that negligence may not have to be proved.
Consumers can also pursue cases against manufacturers for other reasons besides defects in the product. Manufacturers are also obliged to provide warnings if their products cause any type of inherent injury risk. For example, if a toy has small parts and could present a hazard to a small child who could choke on the product, the product manufacturer would likely be obligated to warn parents of the risks if the product was marketed as a toy for young kids. If a manufacturer of a product fails to provide adequate warning of the inherent dangers of the product, and is negligent in failing to provide that warning, victims and families of people who are hurt could potentially pursue a case to hold the product manufacturer liable for losses caused by the manufacturer’s failure to warn.