Wild birds often contaminate bird feeders with the Salmonella bacteria. The latest outbreak has sent over a dozen people in three states to local hospitals.

The current outbreak, which began in December 2020, is most likely more serious than the numbers indicate, because of a lack of reporting and the prolonged latency period of salmonellosis, the infection the Salmonella bacteria causes. A majority of infected individuals said they owned bird feeders. Songbird droppings are often laced with Salmonella bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control advises everyone who comes near a bird feeder to use extreme caution.

Dangerous Consumer Products

Many people assume that bird feeders and other products are safe. However, that’s often not the case. Most manufacturers take dangerous shortcuts during the design or manufacturing process which are potentially dangerous but maximize their profits. Some examples include:

  • Rugs and Mats: Slipping or buckled carpet seriously injures almost a million Americans every year. Older adults are especially vulnerable to these hazards. These victims have a hard time seeing such obstacles and often cannot recover their balance once they stumble or slip.
  • Bookshelves: These pieces of furniture, along with things like chests, dressers, and buffets, often topple over if someone moves them even a little. Usually, the center of gravity is off, perhaps because the owner didn’t properly arrange things on the shelf. As outlined below, manufacturers are usually liable for any resulting injuries in these situations, even if the owner misused the product.
  • Kitchen Knives: Blade/handle separation is one of the biggest problems in this area. Most manufacturers use the absolute minimum adhesive necessary to hold these two parts together. At the same time, most knife makers sell products with the sharpest possible blades.
  • Playground Equipment: Playground injuries, mostly fall-induced head injuries, send almost a quarter-million children to emergency rooms every year. These injuries are especially common on older equipment that’s built over hard ground.
  • Ladders: Perhaps not surprisingly, ladder accidents are among the most common causes of falls, especially residential falls. Frequently, victims fall because they use the top step. Generally, manufacturers are legally responsible for such injuries even if the ladder has a warning label cautioning against such activity.

Bookshelf, ladder, and other misuse injuries usually involve the foreseeable misuse doctrine. SInce it’s foreseeable that people will misuse such products in the aforementioned ways, manufacturers cannot use such activity to reduce or deny compensation. Only egregious misuse, like using a lawnmower to trim ivy on a brick wall, is a legal defense.

Types of Product Defects

Dangerous bird feeders and other hazardous products are probably in your home at this moment. If the product is defective, and that defect causes injury, the manufacturer is legally responsible for damages, whether it was negligent or not.

Some products should have never been made in the first place. They are defectively designed. For example, the aforementioned kitchen knife might have a blade which exceeds industry sharpness standards. Or, the adhesive might not be strong enough to bind the blade to the handle.

Manufacturing defects could be an issue as well. Let-s stay with the kitchen knife example. Frequently, manufactures use cheap adhesives which quickly deteriorate, especially in high humidity and other environments.

Some products, like guns and fireworks, are inherently dangerous. Manufacturers cannot sagely make them no matter how careful they are. In these cases, a New York personal injury attorney might only need to prove that the product caused injury. It doesn’t matter if it was defective or not.

Damages in a defective product injury claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available as well, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk.

Your Claim for Damages

Dangerous drugs and other dangerous products often injure thousands of victims. Therefore, courts normally consolidate these claims for pretrial purposes. This consolidation is usually good news for victims, if the attorney has the resources to handle such claims.

If the same defect injured a number of people in the same way and under the same circumstances, like an e-cigarette which overheats and explodes, courts may combine the claims into a single class action. Once again, an attorney needs special expertise to handle such claims.

Hazardous bird feeders and other dangerous products often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Marie Kaiser Napoli. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.