A Washington, DC-area dentist recently warned about the importance of protecting children’s teeth and jaws from injury as they participate in fall and winter sports, noting the potential for serious damage and complications from fairly common sports injuries. The dentist, of course, recommends obtaining a custom-made mouth guard with the assistance of a dental professional. His advice demonstrates the importance of ensuring safe and reliable protection for children (and adults) who participate in sports, whether the protective device is store-bought or professionally-made.
Sporting goods stores and other retailers sell a variety of protective equipment, including mouth guards, pads, and braces. Almost any of these types of equipment are also available custom-made from medical professionals. The recent article focuses on mouth protection, but its advice applies to protection for the head, limbs, back, and more. Manufacturers of products offered for sale to the public have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that their products are fit for their advertised use.
Consumers, under the legal theory of products liability, may be able to recover damages from the manufacturer of a product if that product causes them injury in certain circumstances. A manufacturing defect could be any sort of flaw occurring during the production of a product that makes it unsafe. A design defect is a problem inherent in the product that would have occurred before the product was ever produced or assembled. A marketing defect refers to the advertising of a product for some improper use. Any of these defects could cause an injury to a consumer, and could entitle the consumer to compensation for injuries.
Medical professionals, by virtue of their education, training, and unique position of responsibility to their patients, have a very high duty of care. Producing customized protective equipment for athletes places them into a position of responsibility for the design, manufacture, and marketing of these products. They therefore bear some potential liability for customized equipment along with the actual manufacturers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an agency of the federal government, monitors the safety of consumer products, issuing recalls for products it deems sufficiently unsafe. It enlists the cooperation of the manufacturers themselves when possible, but it has the legal authority to order a recall when necessary. The CPSC maintains records of recalls it has ordered or requested, organized by market segment. It has issued multiple recalls for sports equipment, including safety equipment for both adults and children, such as:
– Football helmet chin straps due to “laceration hazard,” November 3, 2011
– Ski helmets due to “head injury hazard,” July 21, 2011
– Baseball and softball gloves due to “presence of mold,” July 6, 2011
– Bicycle helmets due to “head injury hazard,” May 31, 2011
– Lacrosse gloves due to “violation of lead paint standard,” July 26, 2010
Consumers should take great care to ensure that any product they use is suitable for its intended use, particularly with regard to sports equipment. Injury is an inherent risk of participation in almost any sport, and use of protective equipment should be a reassurance, not a further risk. This is especially true for children’s sports.
The Washington DC injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen represent people who have been injured due to faulty or defective consumer products. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case, contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949.
More Blog Posts:
Players Sue NFL and Helmet Manufacturer over Head Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 3, 2011
Children’s Jewelry Manufacturers Agree to Limit Cadmium Levels, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011
Dangerous Toys Still Found on Store Shelves, Says PIRG, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 24, 2010