Last year, a class action lawsuit was filed against IKEA, “alleging that the company marketed and sold millions of dressers it knew were prone to dangerous tip-overs, and then failed to issue adequate notifications and refunds to customers for the dressers after they were recalled in 2016.” This was after the company paid out $46 million to a family whose child was killed in a tip-over accident.
Many of us rely on manufacturers like IKEA for affordable furniture. Assembling the furniture yourself removes a great deal of the cost for both manufacturer and consumer, which seems like a good trade-off.
As part of its defense in the tip-over cases, IKEA argued that the dressers were not put together properly. Luckily for the grieving parents, the court didn’t agree—but consumer-assembled furniture can be a liability gray area.
Consumer-assembled furniture claims
Products liability is a type of negligence and personal injury claim, in which the plaintiff alleges that a manufacturer either sold a defectively designed or defectively manufactured product, or that they failed to provide adequate safety warnings to the consumer.
When someone is injured as a result of furniture they put together themselves, it’s likely that the manufacturer will argue that they were at least partially at fault. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled attorney on your side: they can help gather evidence and hire experts to prove that your assembly skills were not to blame. After all, the furniture is designed to be assembled by laypeople, not construction professionals—if you follow the instructions, you should be guaranteed a safe piece of furniture.
In the IKEA cases, consumers were instructed to anchor the dressers to the wall, but many consumers ignore this type of instruction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney might try to prove that the instructions were inadequate or missing, there were inadequate or no safety warnings or the product was inherently unsafe, even when all instructions were followed.
What kind of compensation can I recover?
If you prevail on a products liability claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost income and more. In rare cases, courts may award punitive damages to “punish” a particularly egregious defendant.
Let these sad, unfortunate cases be a reminder: when you’re assembling your own furniture, make sure to follow all the instructions to the letter.
Discuss your case with an Ohio products liability lawyer
When you’re harmed as a result of a defective product, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If you have a case, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877-614-9524 for a consultation, and we’ll work to get what you deserve.