What Happens if You Are Injured by a New Gift?
The wrapping paper is out the door, the decorations are put away and new gifts have found their homes in drawers, closets and toy bins. But what if, down the road, using one of those gifts results in an injury?
It may seem far-fetched, but just take a look at the most recent entries on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall list, and you’ll see plenty of giftable items. There’s a bicycle with an unstable front wheel, a massage gun with an overheating battery that can catch on fire, an ATV with a rear wheel that separates from the body, and enough others to make you want to double-check half of your belongings.
Peloton’s pedal issues
One of the highest profile recent recalls came from the stationary bike company Peloton in late 2020. The boutique bike’s pedals can break unexpectedly, causing lacerations.
In cases like Peloton’s, it is the manufacturer and/or the distributor who is responsible for product-related injuries resulting from design errors, issues during the manufacturing process, or the failure to provide proper instructions or warnings. Peloton voluntarily recalled the affected pedals, providing replacements and urging customers to not ride their bikes until receiving the needed parts.
The resolution came several months after a customer shared on an online forum that her pedal snapped off mid-ride. Other users soon chimed in, drawing attention to the issue and resulting in the recall, done in partnership with the CPSC.
How to stay safe with a new gift
After any product safety failure, it’s important to act quickly:
- Stop using the product
- Photograph the damage
- Secure receipts or warranties
- Check for any active recalls or report the item yourself to the CPSC
- If you were hurt, you’ll also want to contact a product liability attorney
When it’s a gift, however, recipients might not always have the paperwork they need—whether that’s an instruction manual or a receipt to show when the item was purchased. That’s why it’s a smart idea to both give and receive gifts with a focus on safety.
When you buy a product yourself, especially one where safety is a primary concern, as it is for a car seat, baby bouncer or bike, you can usually register the product for safety recall notifications through an included card. That’s not always the case with a gift, especially one that’s been stripped of tags or manuals to look prettier under the tree. To stay safe:
- Make sure your new gift still has all of its original packaging. Keep an eye out for instructions, safety warnings and product registration cards.
- Hopefully, the giver will have included a gift receipt. If he or she hasn’t, don’t be shy about asking for one, especially if it’s the type of item that could cause an injury.
- Read the instructions before you try out your new product.
- Supervise kids and hold back any items that aren’t age appropriate.
If you have kids, it’s also fine to set expectations with relatives. Your child may want a motorbike, but if you’re not OK with it—whether because of the potential for recalls or simply the risk—that’s your call. Before buying a gift, or after receiving one, read reviews and keep an eye out for product recalls. Issues typically pop up first in consumer reports, as they did in the Peloton example.
Product Liability Attorney in Macon, Ga.
If you have been injured by a product, you need a Macon product liability lawyer with experience. The Macon product liability attorneys at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.