Accidents causing catastrophic injuries are usually associated with motor vehicle crashes. The high speed of vehicles can lead to long term paralysis, brain damage or death. However, what many people do not associate with these grave injuries are stationary objects. In recent weeks, furniture manufacturer IKEA and Walmart have both issued recalls relating to wooden dressers and their potential to tip over and injure children. These dressers, while seemingly harmless, have the possibility of serious hurting children.
While there is only one IKEA store located in Georgia in Atlanta, IKEA does a high volume of its business through internet orders. The Swedish company has recalled over 36 million dressers due to the high risk of injury for children. So far, six children have died from these dressers tipping over or falling and there have been 17 reported cases of children receiving injuries from these falling dressers. The recall includes six separate models of dressers and chests that were made in between 2002 and 2016. The recall was issued because these dressers will tip over if not anchored to a wall. The recall covers about eight million dressers sold in the U.S. It is one of the largest furniture recalls in United States history.
In addition to the recall issued by IKEA, Walmart has also issued a similar recall concerning chests and dressers. While fewer dressers manufactured by Walmart have been recalled, there are 205 Walmart Stores in the state of Georgia. Like IKEA, Walmart also has a strong internet sales presence in Georgia. The Walmart recall covers nearly 8,000 dressers that were sold online in between April 2016 and June 2016. The Walmart dressers, like those sold by IKEA, were recalled because of a threat of the dressers tipping over and injuring or killing small children. Both the IKEA and the Walmart recall have a high chance of impacting Georgia consumers.
What Are the Costs of Not Following a Recall?
There are obvious risks of not following a company’s recall such as injury or death. Deaths, injuries and property damage from recalled consumer products cost our country more than $1 trillion a year. Federal law prohibits any seller from selling a product with a known recall so there can also be serious penalties for sellers who choose to ignore a recall issued by a manufacturer.
How Does a Product Recall Affect My Case?
How a product recall will affect your case depends on the timing of your injury and the timing of the recall. Just because a company has decided to issue a recall does not mean that your personal injury case goes away or changes significantly. If you have been hurt by a product before the recall, a recall cannot simply erase your case. The recall is only in place to make sure that other individuals in your situation do not also get injured. If you continue to use a product after a recall has been issued your case may become more difficult. This is because you continued using a product that had a known risk for injury or death. In Georgia, the other side may raise something known as an assumption of risk defense, which basically says the manufacturer should not be liable because you continued to use a product you knew or should have known was dangerous. The party being sued, the defendant, has the burden of proving this defense in court.
What Are My Remedies in a Product Recall Case?
In most product recalls the manufacturer of the defective product will offer a replacement product, a safety enhancement, or a refund for the product that was subject to the recall. In the case of the IKEA dressers, IKEA is offering those who purchased a defective dresser a free anchoring system that is part of a repair program. If there are no injuries, most people are generally satisfied with the replacement product or refund. However, if you have been injured by a product whether recalled or not, you will likely have to look to pursuing a settlement agreement or a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a company. Both settlements and lawsuits can be a long, tiring processes, but they are often the only way to get compensated for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what the appropriate remedies in your case are.
Suing a Foreign Company in Georgia
One of the most difficult aspects of a defective products case is determining the proper party to hold responsible in a lawsuit. Many products that are defective that come into the United States are manufactured by foreign companies. However, just because a company has manufactured a product outside of the United States does not mean that you would have to go to the foreign country to litigate your case. Due to a concept known as long arm jurisdiction, corporations and manufacturers from foreign countries can be sued in Georgia. Courts will look at a variety of tests including whether the foreign company transacts business in the state. Without the availability of a long arm statute, Georgia residents would be left without a remedy when a foreign company produced and sold a defective product.
The process of suing a foreign corporation is made easier by registered agents. These are representatives of the foreign corporation that can be served process in the United States. A registered agent for a foreign corporation can be found through the Georgia Corporations Division of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
How Can a Georgia Injury Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, it is important to not delay in starting the process of your claim. Participating in a lawsuit against a big manufacturer or corporation can be intimidating. At the Law Office of John B. Jackson we are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the big corporations to get you the recovery that you reserve. No one should feel unsafe in their own home. Contact our determined personal injury lawyers in Georgia today for a free consultation.