Last year IKEA made national headlines when the furniture retailer recalled 29 million of their dressers after the deaths of a number of children who had the defective product fall on top of them. The Swedish manufacturer has now agreed to a $50 million settlement for three families who lost a child in these tragic and preventable accidents.
All three of the children who died were 2-year-old boys. The families from Pennsylvania, Washington, and Minnesota joined together in a wrongful death lawsuit to hold IKEA responsible. The two sides attended a mediation, which resulted in the $50 million settlement to be divided evenly among the families. Attorneys for the victims argued that IKEA used an unsafe design in their Malm line of dressers, which were made of particleboard and fiberboard. They also charged that the company failed to make changes to meet the same standards used by other manufactures in the U.S. It was not until the third toddler was killed that IKEA decided to go forward with a full recall instead of only offering kits to help secure the defective product to the wall. IKEA also stopped selling the Malm furniture at that time.
In addition to the payout to the families, IKEA will donate $50,000 to children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Minnesota to honor the memory of the three young boys. The company is also donating $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation, an organization created to inform the public on child-safety issues in the home including furniture tip-over accidents. IKEA says they will also look to improve their own awareness campaign by allocating more funds towards its “Secure It” program. In addition, the stores will now only sell dressers and chests that are in accordance with voluntary safety standards in the U.S.
With more than 25,000 injuries to children each year due to falling furniture in the home, it is vital that companies and manufacturers take every step necessary to ensure their products are safe. If your child has been injured due to a defective product, do not hesitate to call the skilled and compassionate attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help secure the compensation you and your family are entitled to.