In what may be the largest child wrongful death settlement in U.S. history, Swedish furniture chain Ikea reached a $46 million settlement with a California couple whose 2-year-old son was killed in a tragic accident. The fatal accident occurred when an Ikea dresser tipped over and crushed the toddler in 2017. The young boy, Jozef Dudek, had been put down for a nap when the incident occurred. As a Rhode Island wrongful death lawyer, Attorney David Tapalian fully understands that no amount of money can ever make up for the tragic loss of a loved one, especially a young child.
Injuries Leading Cause of Death for Children
Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and furniture tipping is more common, and dangerous, than one thinks. Every 30 minutes, a child is sent to the emergency room because of tipping furniture, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and a child dies every ten days. Sadly, most of these tip-over incidents are preventable.
According to legal documents filed by attorney’s in the wrongful death claim, the boy’s parents were safety-minded. They had baby-proofed their home and even secured other heavy pieces of furniture in the home considered to be a potential danger. Lawyers argued the couple never thought that the short, three-drawer dresser, the Malm model, was a concern and claimed that Ikea knew that the piece of furniture “lacked counterbalancing weight on the back and bottom of the dresser, causing the dresser to be top-heavy and front-heavy, so as to render it unstable”.
Child safety advocates say at least ten deaths are linked to Ikea dressers due to tip-over accidents, 9 of which involved a recalled dresser. The law firm representing the boy’s parents in the wrongful death lawsuit also represents two other families whose children were killed by the same type of Ikea dresser. In 2016, 29 million chests and dressers, 8 million of the Malm model, were recalled due to a propensity to tip over resulting in an entrapment hazard that could result in death or injuries to children. The company offered owners a wall-anchoring kit or a full refund.
What is Being Done to Prevent Child Accidents Like This?
Child safety advocates are urging Ikea to strengthen efforts to inform consumers of potentially hazardous furniture, and make it easier to remove recalled dressers and obtain a refund. In 2019, Ikea announced the release of a line of dressers designed to reduce tip-overs that can result in child injuries and death. Consumer groups are also pushing for furniture manufacturers to be held to stricter safety standards. As a wrongful death lawyer in Rhode Island, Attorney David Tapalian knows that no matter how much money a grieving family receives for a settlement, it can never make up for the loss of a child or family member. With this knowledge, large settlements like this do make companies sit up and take notice and, hopefully, work harder to do the right thing to protect consumer safety.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in RI
In Rhode Island, wrongful death laws entitle an eligible person, such as a parent, spouse, or child, to seek and recover damages on behalf of a person whose death was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another. Commonly, wrongful death cases are brought by families of victims killed in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, or a childhood accident. Rhode Island has a three-year statute of limitations, or deadline, to file a wrongful death claim and this time period begins after the death of the person caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default is discovered, or should have been reasonably discovered. An experienced Rhode Island wrongful death attorney like David Tapalian, can determine your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim, and after collecting crucial information pertaining to the claim, estimate what he expects is a reasonable amount of compensation to pursue. Compensation awarded in wrongful death lawsuits varies widely and depends on a large host of factors including, but not limited to, the deceased person’s income, incurred hospital and medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Contact a RI Wrongful Death Attorney at Tapalian Law
No amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one. Compensation for damages awarded in a Rhode Island wrongful death lawsuit can help the family with expenses associated with the death and assist monetarily with the loss of support from the deceased victim. Attorney David Tapalian is an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and has helped a number of families in RI and MA recover compensation for the loss of a loved one in a tragic fatal accident. Tapalian Law offers a free consultation for your wrongful death, car accident, or other type of personal injury claim. With offices in Providence, RI, Warwick, RI, and Seekonk, MA, we are easily accessible to those all over RI and MA. Contact a wrongful death lawyer at Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 or contact us with our easy, online form.