It’s hard to turn on your television without running across a home renovation show. There are entire channels dedicated to updating homes, and construction shows have turned hosts into brands for everything from wall paint to furniture. The DIY revolution has empowered a lot of homeowners to use the same design inspiration by finding less expensive, pre-fabricated furniture with which to update their homes.
However, the savings of doing it yourself can come with a higher cost when product liability injuries occur from unanchored furniture.
Who are the victims of unanchored furniture?
Most of the injuries and deaths caused by unanchored furniture are to children. According to Consumer Reports, over 25,000 children are injured each year from furniture tip-overs, and a child dies every two weeks from furniture or a television tipping over.
While children take the brunt of the injuries and fatalities, adults, especially the disabled and elderly who have balance issues, can easily incur severe injuries from unanchored furniture. They may use furniture to stabilize themselves while walking through a home or even just while standing.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission released its 2018 report, which shows that adults between the ages of 18 and 59 accounted for 37% of injuries and seniors age 60 and over accounted for 13% of injuries. Deaths were attributed to 17% of adults over the age of 28.
Why do dressers tip over?
Certain styles of furniture are designed to sit flush against a wall. Because of the way these pieces are designed, often more of the furniture’s weight sits towards the front. Risks rarely considered when designing these pieces include:
- Pulling on drawers
- Children climbing on shelves to reach items higher up
- Carpeted flooring decreasing furniture stability
- Height of furniture creating imbalance
When pieces of furniture are not anchored to a secure surface, the risk of falling over substantially increases as do serious injuries and death. Consider even a smaller dresser filled with clothing or toys tipping away from the wall as your three-year-old child pulls down on a drawer. It doesn’t take much for a child to become crushed underneath or even experience a traumatic brain injury from being hit in the head.
Household items that commonly tip over, causing injury and death include:
- Entertainment centers
Is IKEA furniture safe?
IKEA is famous for selling furniture that requires home assembly. They are also well known for their product recalls for safety issues. The company just recalled 820,000 dressers for tip-over risks that can lead to injuring children. In 2016, IKEA recalled over 17 million bureaus. Many of the items that have been recalled come from the MALM furniture line, which has had reports of injuries and deaths for decades.
The most recent recall involves the KULLEN three-drawer chest that appears to have been sold without a wall attachment kit, which IKEA is now providing free of charge as a recall remedy. The other remedies being offered are free in-home installation, in-store return or IKEA will pick up the furniture and issue a refund.
When recalls are issued, companies have an obligation to provide consumers with a remedy. Sometimes, it’s too late and the damage has been done. At that point, it’s better to allow a personal injury attorney to deal with the company that has issued the recall.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed by unanchored furniture that suddenly tipped over, the products liability attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have vast experience fighting for the rights of our clients harmed by defective products. You deserve to recover the full compensation that you may be entitled to for your injuries.
Schedule your free case evaluation with one of our product liability attorneys by calling our Savannah office at 912-651-9967, our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650, or by reaching out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.