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Drowning of Young Child is a Tragic Reminder of the Danger of Defective Swimming Safety Features

Since summer has arrived, kids will flock to swimming pools, lakes, and other bodies of water. Although a swimming pool or pond can provide recreation, entertainment, and exercise, parents must exercise vigilance because drowning constitutes a serious risk to small children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 10 people per day drown in non-boating related incidents. Almost one in five of these drowning victims are children 14 or younger, so parents should be vigilant in the vicinity of swimming locations. Tragically, drownings and near drownings resulting in brain damage can occur even when parents take precautions to protect their children. In this blog, our Miami defective product attorneys review a case where parents unsuccessfully pursued a product liability lawsuit alleging a defective piece of safety equipment was a substantial factor in causing their toddler's drowning. 

In Coterel v. Dorel Juvenile Group, a federal appellate court from another state considered a product liability lawsuit brought by the grieving parents of their 23-month-old son. The young child climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night and wandered to a nearby pond. When the parents awoke in the morning, they discovered the door open. The dad searched and found his son floating in the pond about fifty yards from the home. The parents filed a wrongful death suit against the maker of a doorknob cover that the couple received as a gift. The complaint alleged that the manufacturer of the safety device was defective because it failed to prevent the boy from opening the door. The lawsuit contended the doorknob cover was negligently marketed and negligently manufactured.

The jury in the trial court returned a verdict for the defendant, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued the trial judge committed reversible error by allowing evidence that the plaintiffs knew the device had failed to keep the boy from opening the door on prior occasions. The parents further claimed that the trial court should not have admitted evidence that the parents failed to latch a chain lock that was installed after the boy managed to get the door open on another instance.

Although these parents were not successful in pursuing a product liability claim, individuals and businesses that manufacture faulty products can be liable based on negligence, strict liability, or misleading marketing. The availability of strict liability as a legal theory eases the burden of consumers in trying to dissect the manufacturing process to determine the precise nature of the negligent conduct. Product liability law also has enabled the injury victim to pursue liability claims against multiple parties in the manufacturing and distribution chain without pinpointing which parties were primarily responsible

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence

While the process of pursuing a defective product claim is challenging, legal representation by an experienced attorney provides an advantage when navigating these types of legal obstacles. Our Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano will tenaciously pursue the fullest financial compensation. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida's top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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