Almost 200,000 people are injured by a home appliance every year, and over 14,000 of those require hospitalization or die from their injuries. In most cases, everyone believes they are safe in their own home, and that the appliances will never cause them any harm. However, home appliances can cause serious injuries due to design flaws, manufacturing errors, the use of substandard materials, consumer abuse, the failure to follow operations instructions provided by the manufacturer, and using the home appliances for purposes not intended by the designer or manufacturer.
If you were injured by a home appliance, you may be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer. Here are things you need to know if you were injured by a home appliance and suffered injuries.
Common Appliances Linked to Injuries In California
While any product or home appliance can have a manufacturing defect resulting in an injury to a consumer, the following are the most common home appliances linked to injuries.
- Electric Ceiling Fans – Defective ceiling fans can fall from the ceiling, or in some cases, the installation of the ceiling fan is done improperly causing injuries. With blades rotating between 70 and 150 rotations per minute, the injuries suffered can be catastrophic.
- Space Heaters – Many space heaters catch on fire or victims suffer from electrical shocks or carbon monoxide poisoning associated with them.
- Kitchen Counter Appliances – Many kitchen appliances such as food processors, blenders, and choppers cause injuries when homeowners get their hands or fingers too close to the blades.
- Larger Kitchen Appliances – Stoves, toaster ovens, microwaves, and conventional ovens reach high temperatures which can lead to burns or fires.
- Tipping Hazard Appliances – Some larger household appliances are prone to tipping including trash compactors, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooking ranges, and washing machines. According to research, over 42,700 appliances were tipped over causing accidents between 2000 – 2006.
- Electrocution Hazard Appliances – Electrical shock can lead to serious injuries or death. The most common household appliances that result in electrical shock include washing machines, gardening equipment such as lawn blowers and weed eaters, microwave ovens, lighting fixtures, bulbs, and lamps, and exposed wires from any household appliance.
Appliance Recalls Nationwide – They Apply to California Consumers
One of the most important things to pay close attention to is whether any of your home appliances have been involved in a manufacturer recall. Most manufacturers have extensive quality control processes that detect and remove appliances that are defective before they ever enter the marketplace. However, sometimes errors occur, and a dangerous home appliance will reach a consumer’s home.
Most of the time, a manufacturer will issue a recall notice out of an abundance of caution with an attempt to remove any possibility of injury to a consumer. Additionally, they are attempted to avoid any potential lawsuits from injuries that may occur. Manufacturers will issue their recall notices through the mail or your email address if you provided those during the purchase process or if you returned a warranty card. Additionally, manufacturers may attempt to publish their recall notices through newspapers and on their websites.
It is important to note that if you are notified of a recall by a manufacturer, and continue to use the appliance, you are assuming the risk or injury and you may not be able to receive compensation for any injuries suffered due to the malfunction of that home appliance. Make sure to always fill out your warranty card or any other communication provided to allow the manufacturer to alert you of any defective parts or components of your home appliances.
Manufacturer Liability for Injuries Sustained
Most home appliances are generally safe for use by consumers. In many cases, injuries occur because a consumer used the appliance improperly, failed to maintain it according to provided instructions, or purposefully ignored a recall notice issued by a manufacturer. However, there are other cases where a home appliance is simply defective and causes injury to a consumer due to a design or manufacturing flaw.
In the cases where a product is defective, both the manufacturer and the retailer who sold the product may be liable. Under product liability law, any company (either the manufacturer or the retailer) involved in placing a defective product into the stream of commerce has a legal duty to make sure that the appliance does not cause any injury to a consumer. In these cases, a victim must prove that the manufacturer of the home appliance had a duty to create a product that was safe, the manufacturer was negligent in that duty, and that negligence directly causes some sort of harm that resulted in compensable damages.
Statute of Limitations for California Injury Cases
One of the most important things to know is that there is a deadline by which you may file a claim against a manufacturer or retailer regarding your injuries suffered from a defective home appliance. The State of California requires that any consumer injured by a defective product, such as a home appliance file a lawsuit within two years of their injury. While this may seem like a long time, many product liability cases against a manufacturer are legally complex and require an expert witness in the particular field to testify as well as an independent investigation into the manufacturing process to determine that the manufacturer or retailer was negligent.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney Serving Orange County California
If you were injured by a home appliance, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. However, these types of cases are incredibly complex and extremely challenging to litigate. They oftentimes include extensive independent investigations, a compilation of evidence, and the hiring of expert witnesses regarding the way the appliance was defective and how the manufacturer should have known about the defect that caused your injury.
Contact Silverthorne Attorneys today to visit with one of our experienced manufacturing defect lawyers who can offer you a complimentary consultation of your case, and help you with your next steps. Call us at (949) 234-6034 or visit send us a message online today.