The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released its analysis of product-related deaths and injuries in the United States, as part of its 2009 annual report. In its analysis, the CPSC attempted to use a representative sampling of deaths and injuries to determine which types of consumer products are most likely to be associated with – although not necessarily cause – death and injury. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers reviewed this data and were surprised at the broad scope of product-related deaths and injuries identified.
Of the product-related deaths identified by the CPSC, several categories stood out. First, and perhaps most expected, were product-related deaths associated with sports and recreational activities and equipment. Our top-rated Chicago product liability attorneys have previously written about some of the dangers associated with popular sports. But several of the other prominent categories were less expected or intuitive.
For example, deaths associated with home furnishings and fixtures were nearly as high as those associated with sporting equipment. Notably, the largest portion of these deaths were in those under the age of five, although this category excluded deaths associated with children’s nursery equipment such as cribs and highchairs, which itself was associated with a number of deaths. Home furnishings can be associated with death in infants and young children in many ways: from falls from the furniture to the failure to secure heavy, climbable furniture to the walls, resulting in furniture falling on top of adventurous young climbers.
Stephen Passen of Passen & Powell secured a $19 million jury verdict on behalf of the family of a 9-year-old boy who suffered a permanent traumatic brain injury when he was left unsupervised in a private school classroom, and an unsecured TV fell off of an old TV stand onto the boy’s head. Call Passen & Powell to speak with one of our top-rated Chicago traumatic brain injury lawyers or wrongful death attorneys.
These numbers were closely tracked by the CPSC’s data on injuries associated with consumer products: specifically, injuries resulting in emergency-room visits. Far and away the most common consumer products associated with emergency room visits were, again, sports and recreational activities and equipment. And, as with product-related deaths, the second highest product category associated with injuries was home furnishings and fixtures. Also associated with sizable numbers of emergency-room visits were home workshop apparatus and tools, and home structures and construction materials. Unlike product-associated deaths, however, each of these categories was most likely to result in injury to adults than young children.
Interestingly, the CPSC analysis also looked at the approximate costs of treating the injuries related to each category of consumer products. Although more injuries were sustained associated with certain categories, such as sporting goods, these injuries were not necessarily the most expensive. Instead, the most expensive injuries were those associated with home structures and construction materials. And although product-related injuries associated with housewares were responsible for one of the largest numbers of injuries reported, the cost of these injuries was extremely low.
The CPSC’s analysis should give American consumers pause. Although the study did not distinguish between injuries and deaths actually caused by consumer products and those only associated with those products, this data serves as an excellent reminder of the dangers around us. Because no product is ever completely safe, especially if not used properly, consumers must take the incentive in protecting themselves and taking every possible precaution against injury.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer with Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.