Product Liability relates with regards to furniture to anything manufactured that is shown to be faulty or not fit for the purpose it was intended. This includes any product, such as furniture.
If such a fault is found or the furniture is not fit for purpose, the retailer and/or the manufacturer and/or importer of that product (into the EU), is responsible for the product and any harm or damage it has caused.
The Consumer Rights Act dictates that all furniture must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
Satisfactory quality – Furniture shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive it. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question.
Fit for purpose – The furniture should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose made known to you by the retailer, before you agreed to buy the goods.
As described – The furniture supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
The Consumer Protect Act 1987 provide the provisions and protection for consumers to use furniture they have purchased, in the knowledge that the furniture is safe and fit for purpose. The Act sets out who is liable for a faulty products including furniture. We at Oakwood Solicitors are here to help you win your case against any manufacturer, or persons deemed as the producer, who has sold you faulty furniture and has caused injury or property damage.
Some examples may be an injury, property damage or psychological damage. It can be quite obvious when furniture is defective, it may fail the first time of use or some years later. However, if it can be shown that a reasonable person would expect the furniture to remain in use, and should remain in use, for that period and it fails, then the furniture is defective.
Similarly, if furniture does not fail but it simply is not able to do the job is was intended, for example, a chair that is unable to take the weight it was designed or a cabinet that collapses, then is not fit for the purpose it was intended and therefore, defective. The effects of defects may not be known for some time.
This is particularly the case when defective or dangerous materials are used which may cause harm over time, for example, chemicals used in the manufacturing process of soft furnishings or sofas, which are later found to cause harm. It may be a number of years before the adverse effects are known.
What are the most common types furniture product claims?
As mentioned above, due to the vast number of different furniture products out there, these claims can arise from anywhere. However, it we often see chairs that may collapse and not stand up to the everyday use one would expect. If the furniture is unsound and not able to hold up to its intended use, then often, our clients find themselves with injuries through no fault of their own.
However, there have been significant group action claims brought against manufacturers of soft furnishings, such as sofas, where the materials, such as leather, have been treated in toxic and harmful chemicals.
The defect may arise from faults such as a design fault that was not visible or known at the point of purchase and it simply cannot live up to its intended purpose. A manufacturing defect, in which the manufacturing process has failed or the furniture has not been assembled by the manufacturer properly.
This is often the result of poor quality control testing by the manufacturer. The Defect may be a result of a failure to warn the customer, for example, not to place or assemble the furniture near a direct heat source and the furniture has become damaged resulting in it failing.
What injuries are caused because of furniture Product Liability claims?
As you can imagine, there are a number of injuries caused by defective products. The worst of which may be a fatality. Over the years there have been a number of recalled furniture products such as a chest of draws that are prone to tip over with ease. This is particularly dangerous in a home with young children who may use such items to pull themselves up. Although no fatalities have been reported, the possibility of such a fatality is high.
More common injuries may be a fracture or bruising one might sustain from falling from a faulty chair or draws falling onto someone. Whatever the injury, our team is able to assess whether or not you have a viable claim for personal injury.
Who does it affect?
Generally speaking, product liability claims first and foremost affects the person using the product who may have sustained injury or property damage. However, it may affect their family, financially or through care they have provided to the injuries party.
A defective medical product or device may not affect all those who have used it or are using the device. However, the risk of developing such problems will be assessed on a case by case basis and removed in those of high risk.
There are hundreds of product recalls each year across all markets. From electrical products to furniture to motor vehicles to medical devices.
Looking at electrical products alone, it is reported that the average success rate of a product recall is around 10 to 20%. This shows that there are huge volumes or recalled product still being used by the public.
How do I make a claim?
If you have sustained injury as a result of a defective or faulty product then first you should seek medical attention as required. With regards to making a claim for the injury, you should obtain photographs of the product in its broken state where possible. It would also assist to obtain proof of purchase.
We can then assess the prospect of the case and advise you accordingly. If you have reported the matter to the manufacture or retailer, you may be offered a refund of compensation from them directly. By accepting this, it does not automatically bar you from making a claim and you should seek our advice on this. You may be entitled to more than just your money back.
If you are aware of a defect with a medication or medical device then you should seek medical advice. Any medical device that has been recalled will be made known to medical experts or can be easily researched by them. The medical expert will provide advice to you. It may be that revision surgery is require or the medication withdrawn.
If you decide you wish to make a claim or wish to seek advice on making a claim you can contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd and we can assess your case. We will require details, where possible, of the practitioner or company whom carried out the procedure, details of the dates this was undertaken and details of what symptoms you are experiencing.
We would also advise that you report the side effects to the practitioner or company who carried out the procedure. We can then assess the prospects of your claim and look to obtain compensation for the injury.
How long will my case take to run?
Given the complexities involved in pursuing Product Liability claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records, establishing your rehabilitation needs and identifying the appropriate Defendant. Will provide you with regular updated on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.
How much is my claim worth?
Given the vast area of injuries Product Liability may cover it difficult to assess the value of your injury at their outset, given the complexities involved, however, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:
How is my case funded?
The majority of Product cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim a deduction of up to 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.
This will be calculated and evidenced at the conclusion of your claim but any deduction for costs will not exceed 25%.
It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.
The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.
Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make your Product Liability case?
We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Product Liability.
We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For any advice on escalating your Product Liability case for faulty furniture, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.
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