Is IKEA Responsible When Its Furniture Falls and Hurts Someone?

By Peter DePaolis

IKEA can be responsible if someone gets injured because a defect in the product causes the furniture to fall over on them. IKEA is a corporation based in Sweden, but it sells its popular furniture and household products online and in stores all over the United States. Bedroom dressers, in particular, have shown a propensity to tip over on children and cause severe or fatal injuries.

Some courts have held IKEA financially responsible for these tipping accidents. IKEA issued a recall for many dressers that were at risk of tipping over unless the consumer secured them to the wall. You might want to talk to a DC personal injury attorney to find out if IKEA is responsible if its furniture falls over and hurts someone.

Legal Grounds for Holding IKEA Accountable for Furniture Tipping Accidents

Companies that make and sell consumer goods have a duty of care that requires the products to be safe. A manufacturer who makes an unsafe item can be financially responsible if people get hurt by the product. Using bedroom dressers as an example, the design can be defective if it did not take into account that a dresser can be top-heavy when loaded with clothing or that young children tend to open the drawers to climb on dressers.

Types of Defects in Product Liability Cases

A defective product does not necessarily mean that the item falls apart under ordinary use. The law on product liability recognizes three kinds of flaws that can make an item dangerous:

  • Manufacturing defect – the design was safe, but the manufacturer did not make the item according to the design specifications, and that departure from the specs caused the finished product to be dangerous. An example of a manufacturing defect is when the maker uses inferior materials to save money, and the cheaper parts fail, causing an injury to the user of the product. 
  • Design defect – the problem was with the design itself. No matter how carefully the factory followed the manufacturing instructions, the flawed design could only result in an unsafe product. When the design of a dresser, for example, does not account for the weight of items in the drawers, a top-heavy dresser can be dangerous. Also, a design defect can be when the furniture does not come with parts one can use to secure the dresser to the wall properly.
  • Defective marketing – this category encompasses information the manufacturer should provide to the consumer. The maker might have a duty to warn about inherent dangers and risks that the item poses to the user. In another situation, the maker should provide instructions on how to assemble and use the item correctly, such as, how to secure the dresser to the wall as a step of the assembly.

If you or someone in your family got hurt when a piece of furniture tipped over, you might qualify for compensation for the medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent loss of function, and other economic or non-economic damages. If your loved one died as a result of a furniture tip-over accident, the legal beneficiaries might be eligible for additional monetary damages. You will want to talk to a District of Columbia personal injury attorney right away because DC limits the amount of time you have to pursue a claim for personal injury or wrongful death. For legal help get in touch with our office today, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.