Defective Furniture Liability Lawyers Serving New York
People often go above and beyond to ensure that their home is filled with things that are both useful and provide a sense of comfort. For most Americans, that means installing furniture, fixtures and appliances which become focal points in our living spaces. They allow us to relax, work, sleep and most of all provide the feeling of home and safety.
Unfortunately, not all furniture manufacturers or installment partners place reasonable care in ensuring that the products they produce are livable.
When furniture accidents occur and result in personal injury, it is often complicated to place the responsibility on furniture manufacturer, contractor, or affiliated partner. If you’ve been injured by a furniture-related accident — here’s how you can determine and prove liability.
What are the causes of defective furniture?
Furniture accidents are often the result of negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or contracting company. They are due to faulty manufacturing processes or contracting work and cause dangerous furniture. When we entrust contractors to work on our living space, whether it is to install furniture, electric, or something else — we are taking on the risk that the work they do will result in injury. Often, the outcomes can be devastating — It isn’t hard to imagine the severity of a faulty crib, or certain wall mounted items. As you will see below, even the most trivial furniture items can cause serious injury.
Types of Furniture Accidents include:
- Chair or couch breaking
- TV tipping over
- Crib or bed falling
- Falling objects
- Exposed electric work
Homes are full of furniture that are the subject of litigation, strict standards, and the target of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigations. As you will see throughout this article — injury resulting from household furniture is quite common. In 2017, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that between 2000 and 2016, there were over 30,000 emergency department visits relating to furniture — 64% involved tables, dressers, and bookcases. (1)
What are furniture manufacturers responsible for?
New York product liability law states that a furniture manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by their products if they were negligent in the design, manufacture, or marketing of the product, or if the product was defective in some way that made it unreasonably dangerous to use.
Product liability laws in New York outline the responsibility that manufacturers must create and sell safe products. A product liability lawsuit involving a defective piece of furniture or consumer product may be based on three types of defects:
- A design defect: According to Cornell Law School — a design defect means that the product was manufactured correctly, but the defect is inherent in the design of the product itself, which makes the product dangerous to consumers. For Example, a table could be designed with legs that aren’t equipped to handle the payload of the table itself. Or a car could be built with a mechanical defect resulting in a recall. (2)
- A manufacturing defect: Cornell Law School states that a manufacturing defect is a defect in a product that was not intended. This kind of defect occurs when a product departs from its intended design and is more dangerous than consumers expect the product to be. (3)
- A marketing defect: Defects in marketing deal with improper instructions and failures to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product. This means that while the product wasn’t defective, the plaintiff still became injured because they were misled or misinformed by the company selling the product.
A Use Case — Dangerous Murphy Beds
Leav & Steinberg has been retained by a husband and wife who came from Iran to visit their daughter and son-in-law, who were having their first child — the client’s first grandchild.
The clients’ children had recently acquired a $25k Murphy Bed manufactured by CLEI Furniture, an Italian-based company. This company had a distribution agreement with a New-York based company, Resource Furniture, INC.
Resource Furniture hired installer L.F WOODWORKER who came and installed this furniture. Several weeks after installation, and while these two parents were sleeping one evening in October 2021, the entire furniture assembly and library shelving component came crashing down on them — causing the wife to be rendered paralyzed from her neck down.
Edward Steinberg — A partner at Leav & Steinberg says, “We discovered that there were design, manufacturing, failure to warn, as well as installation errors and negligence.”” You can read the full article here (4).
This product is currently marked as safe, useful, and essential for those who want to have a bed as well as modular office furniture.
After going through surgery and rehabilitation with little progress and has very little chance for future improvement. This matter is pending in court.
What must be proved?
In addition to establishing the basic elements of each allegation, the plaintiff must also prove causation. This refers to either the defective condition of the furniture, or that inadequate warning caused the accident or injury. In New York, a two-part test is used to determine legal causation. It must show that the other party’s conduct was both the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. (5)
Actual cause can be assessed by showing that “but for” the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred. When someone runs a red light and causes a car accident, it’s clear that their actions were the cause of any resulting injuries.
Proximate causation focuses on foreseeability of the accident. It is about whether the defendant could have reasonably foreseen that their conduct would cause this type of injury. In the same example as above, the speeding driver could reasonably expect that he may cause a car crash.
Leav & Steinberg Can Help
Defective furniture and contractor work cases are complex and can involve a variety of injury and damages. Whether you’ve been injured as the result of improperly manufactured furniture, faulty work, or failure to warn about prospective injuries, our team at Leav & Steinberg will bring decades of combined experience to your case to pursue the best possible results. Contact us to request your free consultation by calling 347-409-2947 or completing our online form today.