Injuries From Kitchen Appliances

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What Kind Of Kitchen Appliances Can Cause Harm?

We all use standard kitchen appliances everyday without incident.  However, occasionally kitchen appliances cause injuries.  Appliances such as coffeemakers, pressure cookers, toasters, microwaves, food choppers, mixers, and trash compactors can cause all sorts of injuries, from burns to severed fingers.  When these products cause injuries, the manufacturer or seller may be held liable.

Does The Manufacturer Of A Kitchen Appliance Owe A Duty Its Users?

The manufacturer of a kitchen appliance that is not inherently dangerous, but that may become dangerous when put to the use for which it is intended, owes a duty of care to see that it is reasonably fit for the purpose for which it is intended. The duty of care may require the manufacturer to provide guards or shields to protect users from dangers presented by the exposed parts of the product.  

In addition to exercising a duty of care to avoid any unreasonable risk of harm to persons who use the product in a manner for which it was intended, a manufacturer must exercise care to avoid harm to anyone who is a foreseeable user of the product.  While a manufacturer is generally not liable for injury caused by intentional misuse of a product, he may be liable because he had the duty to foresee that an item may be used for a purpose different from that for which it was sold.  For example, a manufacturer who can reasonably foresee that its product will fall into the hands of children, who, although unintended users, will misuse them so as to cause harm to themselves and others, has a duty to guard against unreasonable harm by designing a childproof product.

However, a manufacturer has no duty to deal in "perfect" or accident-proof products, and is not required to design the safest possible product. In other words, a manufacturer cannot be held to a standard of guarding against all possible types of accidents and injuries in any way related to the design and manufacturer of its products.  

Additionally, a number of jurisdictions hold that a manufacturer has no duty to guard against obvious defects in a product.  Therefore, a person injured by a kitchen appliance must show a latent defect which caused his or her injury.  A manufacturer may have a defense whenever a person voluntarily confronts an open and obvious condition, and a reasonable person in that position would recognize the condition and the risk, even if a reasonable person would not appreciate the gravity of the harm threatened by the condition.

Should I Contact An Attorney About Injuries From Kitchen Appliances?

If you have been injured by a kitchen appliance, you should contact a product liability attorney immediately.  Proving your case can be difficult, but an attorney can help explain the law and assert your rights so that you can recover damages for your injuries.

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Last Modified: 02-06-2013 04:34 PM PST

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