You've probably heard of defective devices in the market, or you have been a victim of a defective product. Well, you are not alone; many Americans have experienced unnecessary injuries from toys made by greedy manufacturers. Toys such as fidget spinners are good at keeping people calm and relieving stress, which is why it's sad when people experience injuries when using them. The good thing is that we will help you receive compensation from fault parties.
Consumer Alert Now's job is to provide consumers with first-hand information concerning the market's defective products. It warns users of the potential harms of these products. We also advise you on the best way you can deal with an injury from a defective product. Our attorneys at Consumer Alert Now will guide you on the procedures to take to file a claim and how to receive compensation.
A fidget spinner is a toy with a central bearing that you hold between your index and thumb fingers and a rotational blade that spins around when you flick it. You probably know someone who fidgets a lot, or you could be someone who fidgets. Whether that includes biting your nails, touching your hair, or spinning a pen, you could be doing it many times in a day, which explains the craze that surrounds the fidget spinners. The toys have been around for ages. Initially, they were popular among children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The spinners are still used by people with anxiety disorders, as the device helps them calm down.
Fidget Spinners and Stress Reliefs
Even though there haven't been many scientific reports suggesting that the toy is an effective stress treatment, there has been extrapolation from other research, which shows their usefulness in a person:
Distraction from Contemplation
Fidgets spinners have the potential to distract you from the contemplation of the things that stresses you. According to the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, distraction intervention helps eliminate rumination better than other problem-solving activities.
Promote Meditation and Mindfulness
Some evidence has shown that fidgets spinners can help you focus on practicing mindfulness and meditation. If you have had a difficult time focusing on meditation, using a fidget spinner can help.
Fidget spinners can help move large muscles, which is a good advantage for people with ADHD, especially when they want to focus. As you spin the device between your thumb and index finger, the muscles are actively moving, which is an excellent exercise for ADHD.
Fidget spinners help kids who have difficulty blending in because of their fidgeting, particularly kids with autism. These kids can feel "normal" because the fidget spinner takes away the social discomfort.
Fidget spinner is similar to a mini ritual, thanks to the repetitive behavior. These behaviors show continuity and provide a great distraction.
The Dangers of the Spinners
As of today, a lot of children and adults use toys to help deal with anxiety. Even with the benefit these toys have brought, they have also had a few adverse outcomes. Several users around the world have reported injuries when using them.
Injuries from toys is not a new thing. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 11 children died from injuries caused by toys in 2015. The report also showed that during that same year, doctors treated 254,200 toy-related injuries.
The small sizes of the bearings make it easy to dislodge them, which is dangerous to young children as they can easily swallow them. CBS News shared a story of a choking incident that happened when a young girl swallowed the bearing after the spinner exploded near her.
In 2017, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund reported two different fidget spinners; Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal, sold both at Target and Online stores contained high levels of lead, which have serious health risks. The high level of lead can cause the bones and muscles to decrease in growth. High levels of lead can also lead to developmental delays in children and seizures.
In another case in Fair Oaks, California, a 12-year-old girl was almost injured when her fidget spinner overheated when it was being charged and began hissing. Fortunately, the girl wasn’t injured.
In 2017, Newsweek reported that at least two fidget spinners belonging to different families burst out into flames when connected to a power supply. The report further added that the spinners burst and completely burnt the batteries and the surface they were placed on. Following the reports, many parents reported similar cases, and teachers also claimed the spinners distracted students when they were in school.
In the same year, a special needs girl experienced a similar situation when her fidget spinner overheated as she was charging it. Fortunately, the girl wasn't hurt, but the experience shook her to the core.
After the alleged claims, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) investigated the matter. In August of the same year, CPSC released guidelines concerning the Fidget Spinners. According to the instructions;
- Users should charge the toys in the rooms they are in,
- They should use the cables made explicitly for the spinners.
- They should not leave younger children to use toys without supervision.
When a device malfunctions or poses a risk to the consumers, the manufacturer must recall them to be corrected to meet the industry standards.
Some of the injuries caused by Fidget Spinners include
- Amputation due to injuries caused on the fingers
- Choking after swallowing the ball bearings
- Lead poisoning brought about by cheap products from the black market.
- When someone strikes you with the toy, it could result in serious injuries.
Since most people have reported similar injuries resulting from the fidget spinners, it is advisable to file a class-action lawsuit. A class-action lawsuit is brought about by a group of people who have suffered due to injuries from the same product from the same organization. The suit is brought about according to the Code of Civil Procedure § 382. The class action consists of the class members, but named plaintiffs lead it. However, one plaintiff is enough to bring a class action suit as long as the attorney believes that the product injured other people.
Certification of the Toys
Manufacturers must ensure that the products they are making are of good standards by complying with the federal law. Failure to this means the consumers will suffer. Every toy sold in the U.S. must abide by the federal product safety standards and the American Society for Testing Materials' regulation(F963), otherwise known as the Toy Standard. These standards include all the regulations and all the methods that should help prevent accidents such as choking and cuts from the sharp edges.
A manufacturer of fidget spinner must therefore ensure that the toy complies with the toy standards. They must also have a Children's Product Certificate whenever they are shipping the toys. The manufacturer must also ensure that they are always on the lookout for incidents that need to be reported to the CPSC.
The distributors of these toys should also check to know whether these toys have certification. By doing this, a lot of injuries will be prevented.
Types of Product Liability Claims
Your claim should fall under the following categories depending on their harmful effects. These are:
Design defects are any products that have safety equipment that is not made correctly. The design of the products is flawed.
A manufacturing defect occurred when a product was being manufactured, but it was released to consumers without being rectified.
Failure to Warn
A product should be labeled appropriately with clear instructions on how to use it. When a manufacturer fails to give out clear instructions on a product that leads to injuries or harm to users, the manufacturer can be held liable. A product should have instructions and recommendations on proper usage and what to avoid. Otherwise, the consumer risks suffering from serious injuries or even death.
When a product injures you, the manufacturer is held liable and should compensate you for all the injuries you have experienced. The company and everyone in the chain of distribution are held liable for the harm brought about by a product.
Before filing a product liability claim against the fidget spinner maker, you should be aware of California’s liability laws. Here is an overview of the laws:
Statute of Limitations
You must be aware of the statute of limitations of the product. The statute of limitations against a defective product is two years, so you must file the class action within this time.
Basis for Liability
You must have a basis for liability for you to file a claim against the fidget spinner maker. As explained above, the basis for liability falls into three categories, which are design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.
Proof Against the Company
You should also show that the company is responsible for the defects in the products. If you don’t want to be part of the class action, you can opt-out of the class. Opting out doesn't mean you cannot file the class action as an individual.
Process of Filing the Class Action
A class-action suit is brought forward when an organization or an individual has caused widespread harm and injury. All the organization victims will come together because of limited resources, then file the class action suit.
Reviewing the Facts of the Case
The process of filing a class action suit begins by hiring an attorney to represent your case. An attorney will help you go through the fact of the case and determine whether there is a basis for filing a class action. In doing this, the attorney will be checking whether:
- The number of people injured is enough to file the suit.
- There is an existing case with similar allegations.
- Other lawsuits with similar claims have been successful.
- The case is still within the statute of limitations.
- The defendant has filed for bankruptcy, which shields them from liability.
Your attorney must thoroughly go through the facts because the courts are keen concerning class action suits. Any mistake will have the whole suit thrown out. For this reason, you should consider an attorney recommended by consumer alert now.
File the Suit
Once the attorney has gone through every detail of the case, he/she will write a complaint. The complaint is a court document that outlines the injuries and losses the plaintiffs have endured because of the defective product. The document will also outline the damage the plaintiffs expect from the defendant and also the members involved in the class action. The attorney will also define the lawsuit as a nationwide suit or a statewide suit.
Certifying the Suit
A suit does not become a class action suit until the judge certifies it. When the complaint is drafted, it is considered a proposed class action. A judge will go through the complaint and determine whether it should be given the title class action. For the proposed class-action lawsuit to be officially considered class action, it must meet the following requirements:
- The lead plaintiff has similar injuries as the other members of the class.
- You can quickly tell who is a member of the class and who is not.
- The number of class members should be large enough not to fit in the class action suit practically. If they are 40 or more, that is enough. On the other hand, if the number is less than 21, then it’s impracticable for the lawsuit to proceed.
- A class-action lawsuit is the best way for the lawsuit to be filed.
- All the members of the class have a similar legal interest.
- The lead plaintiff interests are so similar such that representing him/her as the lead plaintiff will automatically mean the other people can benefit from the judgment in court.
Discovery involves exchanges of information between the attorneys representing the defendant. The attorney will request documents from the defendant. In some cases, the defendant may be reluctant to share these documents. In such a case, the courts will intervene, and the defendant will be forced to give them out. Also, during discovery, the attorney may depose witnesses and the organization’s representatives for more information.
Some cases may also settle at this point instead of proceeding to trial. Most defendants will try to save time and negative publicity by settling.
Each class action suit is different. While some may take longer to settle, others settle almost immediately. Some companies choose to settle immediately to avoid embarrassment and negative publicity, especially if it involves the company’s members’ misconduct. It is not uncommon to learn of cases where the settlement has dragged for years, especially where the defendant has appealed the ruling.
In other cases, the defendants may appeal the ruling, which awarded the plaintiffs a settlement. The defendant will appeal only based on a lack of proof of causation.
When the class action suit has been filed, the court will try to find more victims who can be included in the suit. The court will then issue them with a notice concerning the suit.
Compensatory Damages Available in a class action
In any class action brought due to injuries suffered from a defective product, plaintiffs deserve compensation. There are two types of compensation you can recover from the class action, economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can be calculated from the available documents, such as receipts. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are those that cannot be easily computed. The economic damages include:
An exploding fidget spinner leaves you with severe injuries that require regular medical support. Medical expenses include the ambulance fee, medicines, surgery, hospital beds, and consultation. These expenses can be too much for you to handle on your own, which is why you need to be compensated. The medical expenses here include both current and future treatment.
Loss of Income
As an adult who suffers from fidget spinners' injuries, you deserve compensation for all the lost time spent in the hospital recovering. Being away from work can negatively impact your income as you won't be paid for work that is not done.
Loss of Future Earnings
The injuries could also affect your ability to make a living in the future. Anyone who was also hurt to the point that can't work anymore deserves compensation.
You also deserve compensation if initially you were able to take care of the house but cannot do it because of the injuries.
Non-economic damages include:
You deserve compensation for all the mental anguish you endured after the accident.
You also deserve compensation for the injuries that your spouse endured. Loss of consortium compensation is compensation given when your spouse either dies or suffers injuries.
Importance of the Class Action Suit
A class action is much beneficial to litigate compared to filing an individual suit. Some of these benefits include:
Few Cost of Litigation
The costs of filing a class action will be shared among the plaintiff, which makes it affordable to file the class action. The class action is also handled on a contingency basis, which means the plaintiffs will only pay the fees if they win the case.
Filing a class action allows the plaintiffs to recover compensation equally, also even if the money is little.
Probability of Financial Recovery
A judgment against the defendant means the plaintiffs will receive compensation for their injuries. All the plaintiffs will receive fair compensation like they would if they had filed a personal injury lawsuit.
There are no inconsistencies in judgment in a class action because only one judge determines the case’s outcome.
Opportunity to Litigate the Case
A class action provides an opportunity for litigating a worthy cause.
Duration takes to File a class action.
Class action takes a significant amount of time before settling. A lot of time is taken to go through the cases, investigate them, and gather evidence against the defendants. Some other factors can also determine the amount of time a class action will take. These factors include:
Lawyers will spend time looking for witnesses of the case then deposing them. Some of the witnesses include expert witnesses such as an economist, developers, among others. These witnesses can provide first-hand information about the fidget spinners and how it was made.
Traveling or the Need to
Traveling or the need to travel to locate these witnesses will also impact how long a case can take. The need to travel occurs when a witness is not in the same city where the suit was filed and the length of the investigation.
Evidence Collection and Investigation
Evidence collection will also determine the length the class action will last. Investigation can take months as it involves collecting documents and data that support the allegations against the fidget spinner company. Even when the evidence has been gathered, the investigators will need time to analyze every piece to ascertain that it is legitimate. However, all this must be done within the statute of limitations; otherwise, you will miss out on the opportunity to file the suit.
Find a Product Liability Lawyer Near Me
Fidget spinner has caused widespread dangers and risks to users worldwide. It is fair that victims file a class action against the fidget spinner company. Filing a class action is also easier to receive damages when there are many people with similar issues. Manufacturers must create safe products that don't harm the consumers and warn them of any product issues.
At Consumer Alert Now, we will inform you of all the dangers of the defective devices and advise you on how you can proceed with the case. If you have been injured by a fidget spinner or know of anyone who has suffered from the injuries caused by the devices, Consumer Alert Now can help. We will help connect you with the right lawyers for the case. You can reach us at 800-511-0747 if you have any questions.