In the United States, television and furniture tip-overs result in dozens of child injuries every day and nearly 40 deaths each year. Many consumer safety advocates feel companies are doing little to prevent these horrible accidents — most notably those caused by Ikea’s “Malm” line of dressers, which have already crushed and killed at least nine children in the United States.
Keep reading to learn more about how Ikea skirts industry safety standards, find out about previous lawsuits against the furniture manufacturer, and discover how to file your legal claim if you or someone you know suffered injuries.
Ikea’s “Malm” Dresser Is Dangerous and Defective
In the fall of 2017, Ikea issued a massive recall of three-, four-, five-, and six-drawer Malm furniture pieces as well as numerous other items manufactured through June 2016. Not one of the recalled pieces met safety standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International), which state that a “chest or dresser that is over 30 inches high should be able to stay upright when a 50-pound weight … hangs from an open drawer.”
However, companies aren’t obligated by law to comply with ASTM standards, and Ikea chose to ignore them when manufacturing its Malm dressers. And since Ikea sells their own products online and through their own stores, they’ve been able to bypass the more stringent safety standards that most big-box retailers abide by for the merchandise on their shelves.
In 2016, Ikea paid a $50 million settlement to the families of three separate children (all under the age of three) who died after Ikea dressers fell on them. As a condition of the settlement, Ikea agreed only to sell chests and drawers that meet the voluntary safety standards set forth by the ASTM.
However, according to one prominent Ikea spokesperson, “all [Ikea] chests of drawers still need to be anchored to the wall according to the instructions in order to be safe.” This statement aligns with Ikea’s new “Secure It!” campaign, which urges owners to secure their furniture to the wall according to the directions inside the packaging. Many safety advocates feel this is a thinly-veiled tactic for Ikea to avoid responsibility and pass accountability onto their customers.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that consumers tend to return less than half of recalled items, which means millions of these Ikea chests and dressers probably remain within reach of young children throughout the country.
For their part, Ikea claims they have “no accurate count of how many recalled dressers are in homes today,” although they say they have serviced or refunded more than 1 million dressers. Still, that figure pales in comparison to the nearly 30 million pieces subject to recall.
How Strict Liability Applies to Legal Claims Against Ikea
If you’re one of the millions of American consumers who still have Ikea Malm chests and dressers in their homes, your children could be at serious risk. And if the unthinkable occurs and your child suffers injuries, you should contact a skilled and experienced product liability attorney who can help you file a product liability claim against the furniture giant.
Product liability laws determine who is legally responsible when defective and dangerous products injure or kill someone. According to the law, product manufacturers and distributors have a duty of care to meet the reasonable safety expectations of their customers. A product liability claim can involve the original manufacturer as well as any party in the distribution chain for the product.
Most product liability claims operate on a theory of strict liability, which means that proving negligence isn’t required to establish liability — you and your attorney only need to show that the product was defective. To demonstrate strict liability, you and your attorney will need to prove each of the following three facts to win your claim:
- The product (in this case, a piece of furniture designed, manufactured, and distributed by Ikea) had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that directly caused an injury to you or your child. There are three primary types of product defects:
a. Manufacturing defects: Defects that get introduced during the manufacturing of a product.
b. Design defects: Defects that result directly from the design of a product and exist even before manufacturing begins.
c. Marketing defects: Defects in the promotion of a product, such as poor labeling or a lack of safety warnings.
- The injury occurred while the product was being used according to its intended specifications.
- At the time of the injury, the product that caused the injury was in the same or similar condition as when it was purchased.
If the defense can prove you were aware of the defect and the potential for injury and you continued to use the product anyway, you might not be eligible for financial compensation. You can expect that the defendant in your case and their insurance company will try any available tactic to avoid taking responsibility for your injuries, which is why it’s important to contact an experienced product defect attorney who can build your claim based on experience and thorough investigation.
Contact Atkins & Markoff to File Your Product Liability Claim in Oklahoma
If you or a loved one has been injured by defective Ikea furniture or any other defective product, please contact Atkins & Markoff today to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss the facts of your case and explain your legal options. Our skilled and knowledgeable team of attorneys and support staff have decades of experience litigating product liability claims and fighting aggressively for injured victims in Oklahoma.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.