California Law When a Baby is Injured in a Defective Crib
Parents must make decisions every day regarding the well-being and safety of their children. Most parents believe that if a crib is on the market for sale, it has been tested for safety. When accidents happen, and children suffer injuries related to a defective crib, many parents are unsure where to turn after this tragic accident. Understanding who may be responsible for these manufacturing defects of a crib can help parents make better decisions regarding their next steps.
Baby Crib Statistics
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tens of thousands of children suffer severe injuries related to cribs every year. Millions of baby cribs have been recalled in the last several years, and unfortunately, millions of unsafe and dangerous baby cribs are being used now by parents.
Causes of Crib Injuries
Over nine million drop-side cribs have been recalled, and government regulations have now banned any more from further production, there are still other causes of crib injuries including the following:
- Slats that break or come loose, causing injury or choking
- Sharp parts on a crib that may cut a baby
- Hardware breakage
- Gaps that exist between the mattress and the side of the crib, which may lead to suffocation or entrapment
If you are concerned about crib recalls and crib safety, you may visit either the CPSC website, or the Safer Products website to search a database to determine if your crib has been recalled, read consumer complaints, and report any problems you may have had with your crib.
Types of Injuries
The most common types of injuries suffered from defective cribs include sudden infant death, nerve damage, soft tissue damage, minor head injuries, head contusion, traumatic brain injuries, broken arms, toes, noses, or fingers, and death.
The current standards require that cribs have no more than two and three-eighth inches between the slats, no missing or loose slats, no decorative corners that extend more than one-sixteenth of an inch above a post, no lead-paint, and no oddly shaped or sharp cut-outs in the headboard. Additionally, all cribs must include proper instructions regarding assembling a crib as well as federal warning labels. If you find that your crib violates any of these standards, you should consider purchasing a new crib. If your baby was injured as a result of a violation of any of these current standards, you should visit with an experienced product liability attorney.
Filing a Product Liability Claim for a Defective Crib
If your child was injured or died due to crib defects, you may be able to file either a product liability lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. There are three different types of causes of action you may have as a foundation for your product liability lawsuit.
- Strict Liability. Manufacturers of products, such as cribs, are held to a strict liability standard. This means that if a manufacturer of a crib placed into the stream of commerce a product that was defective or had a defective part or component, they are liable for any injuries suffered due to that defective party. A victim does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, but rather only must prove that the product itself was defective and that defect directly caused the injury or death.
- Under the legal theory of strict liability, a product liability claim may be brought for design flaws (an original flaw in the crib design creating a danger in the crib), manufacturing errors (errors during assembly or transportation of the crib) or marketing defects (failure to provide sufficient warning labels or instructions).
- Negligence. There are certain cases where a product liability lawsuit would be based on negligence. In these cases, a victim must prove that the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor did not exercise the standard of care required by others in the same industry which led to negligence. Always visit with an experienced attorney in order to determine the basis for your product liability claim.
- Breach of Warranty. Breach of warranty cases are based on the fact that products used as intended should be safe. If a manufacturer, retailer or distributor violated any type of implied warranty regarding a crib that led to a baby suffering either injury or death, the basis for the lawsuit would be a breach of warranty.
Additional Negligent Parties
Most parents think of their own homes when they consider crib injuries. However, daycare centers and pre-schools also use cribs that may be defective. If your child was injured at a daycare or pre-school facility that provided cribs for infants, and they used cribs that were recalled or dangerous in any way, you may have the right to receive compensation from these facilities.
Damages – While no amount of compensation would be worth a baby being injured, the truth is that after an injury most parents face substantial medical bills or the loss of wages for the additional care or time for doctor’s visits. Additionally, if the baby’s injuries are severe enough, a parent may be able to recover damages for a child’s future medical expenses, the loss of the child’s earning capacity in the future, and the child’s pain and suffering. In particularly egregious cases, parents may be able to receive punitive damages, which are intended to punish the manufacturer for placing a defective crib in the stream of commerce and potentially prevent other similar cases in the future.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
Feeling overwhelmed, parents need legal guidance regarding how to receive compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering of their child. Connecting an experienced products liability attorney can help determine how exactly to file a product liability claim in order to receive compensation for the injuries suffered by a child related to a crib. Successful product liability lawsuits can help cover the expenses incurred when a child is harmed due to a crib, as well as possibly prevent future accidents involving other children.