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Product Defect Causes Model's Death - Can Her Family Sue?

What are your legal rights after a defective product recall?
Product Defect

Defective products are recalled from the market every day in this country. There is virtually no way to keep up with every one, but missing a recall announcement could have dangerous or deadly consequences. As consumers, do we have legal recourse if one of us is injured or killed by a defective, recalled product? Deceased model Rebecca Burger’s family must be asking that very question, right now.

Recalled Defective Product Kills Model

On June 18th, 2017, a product defect — in the form of an exploding cream dispenser — killed French Instagram model Rebecca Burger. The popular fitness and travel public figure died of cardiac arrest, following the impact of the exploding dispenser. Her grieving family used Burger’s Instagram account to alert her 154,000 followers of the dangers of this device, which has tens of thousands in circulation, despite a 2013 recall by the manufacturer.

Due to a fault in its conception, the siphon’s plastic cap appears much too fragile to withstand being put under pressure … as a result, the siphon could explode and injure the user and those around them,”

French consumer magazine, 60 Millions de Consommateurs

A Photo of the Defective Product was posted on Rebecca Burger’s Instagram.

Consumer Magazine Warns while Injuries Pile Up

60 Millions de Consommateurs warned readers about this product defect after more than 6o reports of related injuries surfaced. Consumers reported broken teeth, tinnitus, multiple fractures and, in one case, the loss of an eye.

One victim told RTL radio in 2013: “I had six broken ribs and my sternum was broken. At the hospital, I was told that if the shock and blast had been in front of the heart, I would be dead by now.” Tragically, for Rebecca Burger, this warning did not reach her in time to save her life.

Manufacturer Denies Product Liability

Ard’Time, the manufacturer of the dispenser that killed Burger, admits the product defect, but denies liability in her death, because they issued a product recall in 2013. However, of the 160,000 dispensers sold, only 25,000 were returned. “We did all we could to alert everyone,” a spokesperson for Ard’Time said. “We couldn’t do any more.”

But, couldn’t they do more? According to 60 Millions de Consommateurs, “It took almost a year and after two serious accidents in February 2014, before [the supermarket chain] Auchan, the biggest distributor of these utensils, finally took the decision to write to 50,000 customers who had a loyalty card and had bought the Ard’Time siphon.” They called for Ard’Time to organize a full-scale, national recall campaign to alert consumers of the product defect.

“In four years we have counted more than 20 accidents involving the Art’Time siphon and in seven years about 60 accident of all makes, some causing very serious injuries. But these figures are no doubt well below the real number of accidents.”

“We can only regret this accident, even though at this stage a link between the accident and our label has not been established. We do not accept that we have done nothing since February 2013, when the first incident involving an Ard’Time siphon was reported.” Ard'Time

Manufacturer of dispenser with product defect

Does the Family Have a Product Liability Case?

Product recalls exist as a remedy in addition to other legal remedies. Even if a product is recalled and compensation is offered, victims of defect-related injury or death can still file suit against the manufacturer.

There are three common types of defective products claims that can be brought: 1) manufacturing defect cases alleging a mistake in the manufacturing process, 2) design defect cases alleging that a product was unsafely designed (e.g. lack of safety features), and 3) failure to warn cases in which a manufacturer or seller failed to include proper warnings.

Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an injury can be critical as proving a defective product claim requires that a plaintiff show that: 1) the product was defectively designed or manufactured (or did not include proper warnings); 2) that the product has not been modified/changed by the time the plaintiff received it; 3) that the defect presented an unreasonable danger; and 4) the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Contact Shamieh Law

If you have an injury, or have lost a loved one, due to a product defect, don’t let the product manufacturer hide behind a recall. A recall does not make you whole again. Perhaps nothing can, but our firm will negotiate and/or litigate a full award on your behalf as quickly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

In an instant, a healthy and vibrant woman was cut down by a completely avoidable product malfunction. Her family deserves restitution. If something like this has happened to you or your loved one, you have legal recourse. You have Shamieh Law.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a defective product in Dallas, contact us now for a free consultation and to protect your legal rights. Call 214-389-7333.

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Attorney Ramez Shamieh