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IKEA’s $46 Million Wrongful Death Settlement

Today’s news contains reports of a $46 million wrongful death settlement to be paid by the furniture manufacturer IKEA to the parents of a 2-year-old child who was killed in 2017 when an IKEA dresser his parents purchased in 2008 fell on top of him in his California home. According to USA Today, IKEA previously paid $50 million in settlement of similar lawsuits back in 2016, and recalled over 17 million dressers that year. Nevertheless, millions of IKEA dressers remained in use.CNN Business reports that there have been eight reports of deaths of children related to IKEA chests and dressers, according to IKEA’s US website, and that IKEA has received close to 300 reports of incidents that have caused 144 injuries to children since 2016 USA Today reports that, according to the parents’ lawyers, the $46 million settlement is the largest settlement for the wrongful death of a child ever to be awarded in the United States.

Basis of the IKEA Wrongful Death Settlement

According to USA Today, the 2-year-old California child was the first child to die after the 2016 furniture recall was announced by IKEA. One of the lawyers for the parents was quoted as saying, by way of explanation, that once a company admits that its product is dangerous and defective, the company should do everything possible to inform consumers and purchasers of the defect and danger. In this case, the lawyer said that because the parents of the California child who was killed had used their IKEA credit card to buy the dresser that toppled over onto the child, the company had the parents’ contact information. The settlement amount, according to the lawyer, was due in part to the fact that IKEA did not do more to reach out to purchasers in connection with its product recall.

Wrongful Death Laws

Generally, wrongful death laws are state laws that allow certain family members of a deceased individual to bring a civil lawsuit to recover damages from the party or parties who allegedly caused the deceased’s death. Maryland’s wrongful death statute, for example, allows two classes of individuals, referred to as “primary beneficiaries” and “secondary beneficiaries” to recover damages for the wrongful death of a loved one. Primary beneficiaries include spouses, parents, and children. Secondary beneficiaries are other persons related to the deceased by blood or marriage. The law provides that if there are no primary beneficiaries, a wrongful death action shall be for the benefit of secondary beneficiaries. Maryland’s wrongful death statute allows for recovery of damages based on a variety of claims, including

  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of society, companionship, comfort, and protection
  • Loss of marital or parental care, or loss of care by children (filial care)

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is three years. The three-year period is generally measured from the date of death of the deceased family member.

For more information about wrongful death laws, contact The Law Office of Robert R. Castro ay (301) 870-1200. Our Waldorf wrongful death lawyers will help you to understand the process of recovery for wrongful death cases in Maryland.