Will we be seeing a spike in tip-over lawsuits?

Any hunter worth his or her salt will tell you that, just like a footprint in the snow, the scent of blood can guide a predatory animal to its wounded prey.

And while I hate to say this, I think I smell blood. Or maybe I’m picking up the scent from a myriad of legal firms who might be smelling blood, or the fragrance of money, that could manifest in the event of a flurry of tip-over-related lawsuits.

Just for grins and giggles, do what I did and google the words “law firms” and “furniture tip-over.”

If your computer is like mine, loads of law firms pop up promising to make it right for those who may have been hurt (or worse) from a furniture tip-over incident.

And, for the record, these firms have done their homework and offer potential clients dresser-loads of information, including number of tip-over incidents a year, the ages of those harmed, types of furniture most at fault and one firm even throws in copy from the Cornell Legal Information Institute that explains that there are three basic types of product liability claims, or product defect lawsuits depending upon the specific facts of the case.

Another law firm reminds potential clients of the settlement from Ikea. The site notes: “On May 24, 2017, an Ikea dresser fell on 2-year-old Jozef Dudek. The child died from his injuries. The child’s parents brought a wrongful death claim against Ikea. Ikea ultimately made a furniture lawsuit settlement of $46 million. [1]

“The settlement is believed to be the largest child wrongful death settlement in American history. Ikea agreed to recall millions of dressers. They worked with advocacy groups to raise awareness. The dressers in question are believed to have caused hundreds of other tip-over accidents and injuries to at least 53 children. Any child or adult injured because of a defective piece of furniture, like a dresser, may receive financial compensation through a legal claim.”

To be fair to that law firm, the information is totally accurate, but I wonder if the reader’s eyes locked on the name of the poor child who was tragically killed or the underlined note that Ikea paid $46 million in settlement?

Yet another firm led off with this: “Millions of unstable dressers, chests, TVs and other furniture have been recalled because they can tip over and injure or kill children. Ikea has paid nearly $100 million in settlements to victims.”

In addition to posting the statistics about tip-over-related injuries, this firm added this:

“Here are a few recent recalls for furniture due to tip-over hazards:

February 2023 — Aderes Bookcases – sold at HomeGoods and HomeGoods/Marshalls or T.J. Maxx – two reports of unstable bookcases nearly tipping

July 2022 — Costco/Cayden Gehttps://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2022/Samson-International-Recalls-Cayden-9-Drawer-Chests-Due-to-Tip-Over-and-Entrapment-Hazards-Sold-Exclusively-at-Costco-Recall-Alertntleman’s nine-drawer chests – (one report of a tip-over incident involving a 10-year-old child)

February 2022 — Rooms to Go – River Street Five-Drawer Chests made by BFG North Carolina

October 2021 — Maghttps://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2022/Magnussen-Home-Recalls-Nova-Series-5-Drawer-Chests-Due-to-Tip-Over-and-Entrapment-Hazardsnussen Home Nova Series five-drawer chests (one report of a chest tipping over, resulting in a minor bruise to a child)

July 2021 — Bel Furniture Barrington five-drawer chests from Mollai Collection (one child injured in tip-over accident)

July 2021 — Rooms to Go: Creekside Kids five-drawer chests (made by Canyon Furniture)

January 2021 — CB2 Junction tall chests and low dressers (10 tip-over incidents, no injuries reported)

January 2021 — Noble House Home Furnishings (Luna acacia wood four-drawer chest, Glendora brown mahogany wood four-drawer storage dresser, Paulus midcentury modern cabinet, Gladys midcentury modern cabinet, Pavona midcentury modern cabinet, Penrod midcentury modern cabinet, Mavis midcentury modern cabinet)

December 2020 — Homfa Cabinets (HPB-087 and HPB-106)

November 2020 — Walker Edison chest of drawers, and Spencer four-drawer chests

August 2020 — Essential Home Belmont 2.0 four-drawer dresser (Kmart)

June 2020 — Modus Brighton, Travis and Bevelle dressers

May 2020 — Herman Miller and Design Within Reach Nelson and Lauki dressers and cabinets

May 2020 — Hodedah HI4DR four-drawer chests

May 2020 — Prepac four-drawer chests

April 2020 — Joybird Blythe dressers

March 2020 — Homestar Finch three-drawer dressers

March 2020 — Ikea Kullen three-Drawer Chests (820,000 chests recalled after six tip-over incidents, including two minor injuries)

February 2020 — Safavieh Aura and Silas three-drawer chests

February 2020 — Home Depot Home Decorators Collection print block four-drawer whitewash chest

January 2020 — Hodedah HI4DR four-drawer dresser

December 2019 — Chadwick and Bailey five-drawer dressers sold at Bob’s Discount Furniture

October 2019 — Ridgewood Belmont four-drawer dressers sold at Kmart and Sears

June 2016 — Ikea MALM dressers

September 2014 — JVC 42″ flat-screen TVs

And more

Another law firm, this one, based in Florida, maintained that under Florida law, just about anyone involved in the production or sales of furniture that can tip over is on the hook, be they a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer.

So, what’s my point? Simply stated, don’t be surprised to see a real spike in litigation from people who may have been legitimately (or not) injured from a tip-over event. 

This is currently big news and will continue to be until a way to drastically minimize this issue is anchored down once and for all.

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