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    Legal Aspects of Product Liability: Injuries Due to Defective Toys

    Toys bring joy and entertainment to children, and parents trust that these products are safe for their little ones. However, the unfortunate reality is that defective toys can sometimes lead to serious injuries. This article explores the legal aspects of product liability, what to do if a defective toy injures your child, and how to pursue a claim.

    Understanding Product Liability

    A manufacturer or seller can be held liable for placing a defective product into a consumer’s hands. In Florida, toy manufacturers and retailers are legally responsible for ensuring their products are safe. If a toy has a design defect, manufacturing defect, or inadequate warnings that lead to an injury, the manufacturer or retailer can be held liable.

    Common Defects in Toys

    Defects in toys that can lead to injuries are more common than we’d like to believe. These defects can range from design flaws to manufacturing errors or lack of appropriate warning labels.

    Here are some common defects:

    • Choking Hazards: Small parts that can easily break off from the toy pose a choking hazard, especially for younger children.
    • Sharp Edges: Toys with sharp edges or points can cause cuts and lacerations.
    • Toxic Materials: Toxic materials, such as lead or cadmium in paint or plastic, can lead to serious health issues if ingested or inhaled.
    • Ingestion Hazards: Some toys, especially those with magnets or batteries, can cause serious harm if swallowed, leading to intestinal blockages or chemical burns.
    • Powerful Magnets: High-powered magnets can be hazardous. If a child swallows more than one, they can attract each other within the digestive system, causing serious damage. This can lead to severe injuries, requiring surgical intervention, and in some cases, can be life-threatening.
    • Burn Hazards: Toys that contain batteries or run off electricity can present serious burn hazards in the event of circuit board malfunctions or other issues.
    • Strangulation Hazards: Toys with cords or strings longer than 7 inches can harm babies and young children, as they can get wrapped around a child’s neck.
    • Fall Hazards: Some toys, especially ride-on toys, can pose a risk of falls if they are unstable or tip over easily.
    • Inadequate Warning Labels: All toys should come with appropriate warning labels. A lack of these can lead to misuse of the toy and potential injuries.

    Common Injuries Caused by Defective Toys

    While minor injuries like scrapes and bruises are unfortunately common in play, certain severe injuries can be directly linked to defective toys. These injuries are serious enough to warrant legal action.

    Here are some examples:

    1. Choking and Suffocation: Small parts, loose stuffing, or deflated balloons can pose a choking hazard to young children. The corresponding lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage or death.
    2. Poisoning: Toys with toxic materials, such as lead paint or certain types of plastic, can lead to poisoning if ingested or inhaled. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, seizures, and unconsciousness.
    3. Burns and Electrocution: Electric toys and toys with batteries can malfunction and cause burns or electrocution. In severe cases, this can lead to significant burns requiring skin grafts or other serious injuries.
    4. Eye Injuries: Toys that shoot projectiles, have sharp edges, or break easily can lead to serious eye injuries, including scratches on the cornea or even blindness.
    5. Ingestion Injuries: If a child swallows a powerful magnet or battery, it can cause serious internal injuries. The object can cause blockages or chemical burns in the digestive system, or in the case of magnets, they can attract each other through tissue walls, causing perforations and internal bleeding.
    6. Strangulation: Toys with long cords or strings can pose a strangulation hazard, especially for young children. This can lead to severe brain injury or death.
    7. Fractures and Dislocations: Ride-on toys or toys intended for climbing that are unstable can cause falls, leading to fractures, dislocations, or head injuries.

    What to Do If a Defective Toy Injures Your Child

    If a defective toy has injured your child, seek immediate medical attention. Document the child’s injury and toy’s defect, and preserve the toy as evidence. Save the box and instructions if you have them.  Report the defective toy injury to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is responsible for recalling dangerous toys.

    Pursuing a Defective Toy Injury / Product Liability Claim in Florida

    To pursue a product liability claim in Florida, consult a personal injury attorney from Leighton Law. We can guide you through the process, which includes proving that the toy was defective, the defect caused the injury, and the injury led to specific damages. We’re committed to helping families navigate these complex situations. Contact us today for a consultation.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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