Injuries Caused By Clothing

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Can A Manufacturer Or Seller Be Liable For Injuries Caused By Clothing?

A seller or manufacturer has a duty of reasonable care to prevent harm.  Breach of that duty can give rise to a seller or manufacturer being held liable for failure to warn of a dangerous condition, breach of warranty, strict liability, or fraud when an article of clothing causes injury.  Liability on any of these theories requires proof that the product was actually defective or harmful in some way and that the person sought to be held liable for the injury, such as the manufacturer or seller, actually manufactured or sold it.

The duty of reasonable care does not require a manufacturer or seller to determine whether dyes will cause harm, to test the product for latent defects, or to refrain from offering the product for sale until he has had it individually analyzed and inspected for deleterious substances.  Additionally, there is no duty to warn of conditions of which every reasonable person is or should be aware.

What Are Some Examples Of Cases Where A Seller Or Manufacturer Has Been Held Liable For Injuries Caused By Clothing?

One woman was able to recover from the manufacturer of a dress which burst into flames while she was wearing it.  The netting of the skirt had been made with nitrocellulose, an ingredient in gunpowder.  The court found the manufacturer liable even though the dress may have been set on fire by a cigarette because the manufacturer knew or should have known that such an evening gown would be worn to dinners and cocktail parties where large numbers of persons gather and many indulge in smoking.

Another woman was able to recover from the seller of a dress for injury to her skin as a result of wearing the dress.  The seller's salesgirl offered to help the woman and selected the dress.  When the woman wore the dress her skin broke out in a rash which was later found to be chemical dermatitis caused by a toxic substance used in coloring the dress which had not been completely oxidized.  The court found the seller liable for breach of an implied warranty of fitness of the dress for the purpose of being worn.

The family of a child was able to recover from the manufacturer and seller of a "Gene Autry" cowboy costume which caught fire.  The costume included flammable chaps made of pile rayon which had not been properly treated.  The manufacturer and seller were found liable for failure to warn since the costume contained no warning of the danger of contact with fire or flame.

Should I Consult An Attorney About Clothing Injuries?

If you have been injured by an article of clothing, a personal injury or product liability attorney can help.  Proving your case can be difficult, but an attorney can help explain the law and your rights so that you can recover damages for your injuries.

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Last Modified: 03-12-2012 03:43 PM PDT

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