It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, having your baby severely injured while playing. That’s exactly what happened to a couple who is now seeking justice for their injured baby who was playing on a John Deere Turf Tractor riding toy when it unexpectedly caught fire, causing him to suffer severe burns. The child was only two years old at the time, and sadly turned three while still in the hospital, recovering from his traumatic injuries.
The parents filed a federal products liability lawsuit recently against the toy manufacturer, alleging that the toy was defective in its design, had inadequate warnings or instructions, and did not conform to the company’s own representations that the toy was safe and suitable for use by young children. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks damages for the parents as well, who were also burned while trying to put out the fire. Finally, the parents assert that the manufacturer of the toy, Peg Perego U.S.A., showed a flagrant disregard for the safety of those who may be harmed by the product, entitling the parents to punitive damages. Punitive damages are a special kind of damages that are intended to reform or to deter the defendant from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages seek to deter defendants by forcing them to pay extra for their mistakes.
The toddler was in the hospital for over two months recovering from his burns, and continues to struggle with his recovery. Product liability lawsuits like the one filed by this little boy’s parents are imperative to ensure that toys continue to be kept safe for all that use them. Inevitably, accidents will happen, however accidents that permanently burn an innocent two-year-old toddler are inexcusable and deserve punishment and deterrence in the form of monetary damages. Parents should always monitor the recall alerts on all toys that their children play with. Parents can remain on top of the recalls by checking out the consumer product safety commission’s website page on recalls. The Illinois Attorney General’s office is also a great resource for parents to learn about unsafe products and recalls. Recently the AG’s office release a product safety guide for parents to raise awareness about potentially dangerous products.
Both of these websites can help parents remain informed about the dangers out there facing their children every day. It is important that parents take action if their children are seriously injured or killed by unsafe toys, medications or other consumer products. Not only do lawsuits help families recover compensation for the harms caused, they also send a message to manufacturers that the distribution of unsafe products will not be tolerated or overlooked. This type of legal action also deters manufacturers from putting potentially dangerous products into the marketplace to avoid litigation.