Button battery manufacturers put on notice: Lawsuits await
A LEADING product liability lawyer says manufacturers who place easily accessible button batteries in children's toys are likely to face legal claims for negligence.
Shine Lawyers product liability partner Roger Singh said yesterday that it was reasonable to expect companies making products aimed at children to foresee that an exposed button battery could cause serious injury.
The comments come a day after a Santa Toy with an exposed button battery was recalled by the ACCC.
"Products like this which are specifically designed to entice children need to be vigorously tested to ensure they don't pose risks of harm," Mr Singh said.
"It's alarming that a product like this, where children can very easily come into contact with such a hazard has been distributed.
"If a hazardous product is distributed and causes injury to consumers, then the manufacturer, retailer and distributer may be held liable for the damage. A product like this could cause disastrous consequences and it's vital that its recalled and that steps are taken to ensure it doesn't fall into the hands of other children.
"Button batteries are notoriously dangerous as past experiences have very sadly shown. In Australia and elsewhere in the world, children have suffered severe injuries and death after ingesting this type of battery.
"We have acted for a number of families who've been impacted in situations like this. In these cases, children have sustained severe internal burns which have led to permanent damage and even death.
"If someone is injured after coming into contact with this product, there will in my view be strong grounds for claims to be brought against the manufacturers and / or distributors for negligence and breach of duty of care. Distributers and those that sell the product could be held responsible as they have a duty of care to ensure the products they sell are of merchantable quality, and fit for purpose. "