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Questions of liability raised after IKEA announces recall

Readers of this blog may have recently read about the recall issued by IKEA. According to reports, a line of their dressers was recalled after a third child died when the dresser toppled over. The most recent incident raises the number of fatalities caused by toppling IKEA furniture to six and the number of injuries to 36.

In response, IKEA has issued a recall of 29 million dressers. The company has also made available refunds, repair kits and anchor installation kits to hopefully prevent future incidents from occurring. However, there are still many questions regarding liability and product defects to answer.

One question that has already been asked is, "Does the dresser contain a defect?" Defects can be found in the design, manufacture or marketing of products. In this case, it could be argued that yes, the dressers were defective. Pieces of furniture should not be prone to tipping over, even when all the drawers are open. Should it happen, it could be a design defect.

Another question that will need to be answered is, "Did IKEA fulfill its duty to warn consumers about risks and help them avoid accidents?" This element could likely come down to the anchor pieces included with the assembly kits. While the company may feel that was sufficient in alerting consumers to the risk of tipping, not every consumer received this message, including one woman who has filed a lawsuit against the company.

Finally, people may ask, "Has IKEA gone far enough to prevent future incidences from occurring?" If another death or injury is suffered as a result of a toppled dresser, then the efforts being made by IKEA right now will come under the microscope. If the company takes reasonable steps to prevent accidents, it could be shielding itself from future liability claims.

Each of these questions will need to be answered in the legal claims that have been and could continue to be filed.

This case can serve as an important reminder to anyone injured by a potentially defective consumer product: Initially, there are far more questions than answers in these situations. Getting answers can be complicated and frustrating, so having an attorney by your side will be critical.

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