What to Do When a Defective Toy Injures Your Child

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by Matthew Bonanno, Esq.

How to Sue a Manufacturer for a Defective Toy

Each year, roughly 250,000 children are treated for a toy-related injury. Though we might associate toys with harmless fun, any sort of defect can turn a toy into a dangerous object. If you or someone you know has been injured by a toy, you might want to consider a lawsuit.

When Does a Defective Toy Warrant a Lawsuit?

Any time a toy causes an injury, you may want to consider a lawsuit. However, keep in mind that there are a few key requirements to meet. First of all, there has to be an obvious defect in the toy. There are several ways for defects to happen. A toy can be poorly designed, it can be made of dangerous materials, or it can be marketed without proper warnings and user instructions.

Remember that you don’t automatically get money just because a toy is defective. The toy’s defect has to contribute to an injury in some way. For example, if a child throws a ball and hits another child in the face, a lawsuit is unlikely. However, if a toy helicopter’s navigation breaks down and causes it to fly directly into a child’s face, the manufacturer could be responsible.

The final requirement to sue is negligence. Essentially, you have to show that the manufacturer somehow failed to exercise proper care when sourcing materials, developing the toy, researching the toy design, and marketing the toy to children. If the defect is something that no reasonable person could have predicted or prevented, it may be somewhat harder to hold the manufacturer liable.

Who Can You Hold Liable for a Defective Toy?

Lawsuits about defective toys can be a little tricky because of the concept of shared liability. Not all injuries happen solely because the manufacturer made an unsafe toy. In some cases, both the manufacturer and the parents of the child share liability. For example, consider a parent who lets a toddler play with a toy that was recalled years ago. The manufacturer might’ve made a dangerous toy, but the parents may have been careless in continuing to let the child play with the toy after they saw the recall.

In these situations, New Jersey uses a rule called “modified comparative negligence.” The court will determine how much blame each party shares for the injury. As long as your personal injury lawyer can show that you don’t bear more than 50% of the blame, you can get compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you hold.

How to File a Defective Toy Lawsuit

As soon as your child is harmed by a toy, it’s a good idea to at least consider the idea of a dangerous toy lawsuit. Of course, the first thing that you should do is get your child immediate medical attention, but it is also smart to preserve any potentially useful evidence. Set the toy aside in a safe place, and collect contact information for all potential witnesses. Use photos to document any injuries, and make a note of any important dates, changes to your child’s behavior, or wages that you have lost.

Next, speak to a lawyer promptly. Because of the statute of limitations in New Jersey, you may only have a narrow window to sue. Your personal injury lawyer can guide you through the next steps. They can assist you with filing paperwork, properly notifying all parties, and handling all the other red tape. If your case does go to court, a lawyer can also help you present your evidence and argue your case.

Since these lawsuits can be complex, it’s a good idea to get assistance from a personal injury lawyer. At RAM Law, our team has plenty of experience dealing with defective toy lawsuits. We are happy to discuss your situation and help you plan the appropriate course of action. To schedule your free consultation, visit our offices in New Brunswick, Somerville, or Freehold, give us a call at (732) 247-3600, or fill out our online contact form.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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