Finding a child unconscious is a nightmare scenario for any parent. Unfortunately, for a family in California, the unthinkable became reality when an Ikea dresser fell onto a toddler, causing the child to suffocate. After the toddler’s parents filed suit, Ikea agreed to pay $46 million in damages. The settlement purportedly represents the largest wrongful death payout for a single child in U.S. history.
The Ikea settlement has some lessons for both consumers and furniture manufacturers. Furthermore, if you have a child, you likely want to know what led up to the accident. After all, no parent should have to cope with the death of a child.
A history of safety concerns
In personal injury and wrongful death matters, the harmful event is sometimes seemingly a freak accident. That is, there may be no warning of possible safety concerns. That was not the case with the Ikea dresser. On the contrary, the company had received several complaints from consumers. In fact, Ikea had previously paid $50 million to settle lawsuits involving three other children and the same dresser model. The company also reports that eight children have died in incidents involving dressers.
Despite knowing its dresser was prone to tipping, Ikea did not do enough to protect consumers. While the earlier lawsuit required the company to take steps to improve product safety, millions of defective dressers remained in homes. The later lawsuit revealed that while Ikea had recalled dangerous dressers, it did not adequately notify consumers who had purchased them.
Interestingly, in addition to agreeing to pay millions of dollars in damages, Ikea offered an apology to the family of the deceased toddler. That does not always happen in wrongful death claims. Furthermore, the company promised to enhance safety testing.
No amount of money is enough to compensate a family for the death of a child. Still, as the Ikea settlement makes clear, companies may not introduce defective products to the market without facing stiff consequences. By understanding what contributed to the wrongful death of the toddler in the Ikea matter, you can better plan for keeping your family safe.