Flammable clothing is a term that is often used to refer to articles of clothing that fail to comply with certain federal safety regulations. In general, all clothing items in the United States are required to meet the safety standards set out in a federal law known as the Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953.
Specifically, if a manufacturer makes clothing products that do not pass the flame resistance and durability tests under the Act, they can be sued on a basis of negligence. The Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953, more commonly known as the FFA for short, provides three different categories for classifying textiles and/or fabrics that are used to make clothing.
- Normal flammability (Class 1): Textiles or fabrics that meet all of the requirements of the FFA and are assigned to this category may be used to make articles of clothing.
- Intermediate flammability (Class 2): Textiles and fabrics that fall under the class two category typically involve those that contain raised-fiber surfaces. Despite this fact, they may be used for clothing when they meet all of the regular safety standards required under the FFA.
- Rapid and intense burning (Class 3): Any fabric or textiles that are found in this class cannot be used to make clothing. The reason for this is because these kinds of textiles and fabrics are considered to be extremely dangerous due to their highly flammable properties.
Articles of clothing that are made out of fabrics or textiles from the rapid and intense burning category (i.e., Class 3) will typically be subject to a recall. In addition, a manufacturer or designer that uses Class 3 fabrics or textiles to make clothes may be at risk of being sued for damages if a person sustains injuries from wearing those flammable clothing items. Depending on the facts of a case, an entity could be sued under both federal and state laws.
To learn more about the laws and requirements to file a flammable clothing lawsuit in your state, you should contact a local consumer lawyer immediately for further legal advice on the matter.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Flammable Clothing Injuries?
There are a number of parties who may be held legally responsible for flammable clothing injuries. Some parties who may be held liable for injuries associated with flammable articles of clothing may include the following:
- A retail seller or clothing store owner who knowingly sells articles of clothing that are dangerous or who refuses to remove defective clothing products from their shelves;
- The designer or manufacturer that created the flammable clothing item; and/or
- A distributor or wholesaler that continues to ship flammable clothing articles to retailers and resellers.
Basically, any individual or entity within a flammable clothing product’s chain of distribution can be held liable for injuries received from wearing flammable clothing.
For example, a manufacturer can be sued for creating an article of clothing that contains a defect which makes it more susceptible to catching on fire. In this scenario, an injured party could sue the manufacturer for products liability; specifically, for causing a design or manufacturing defect in the product.
A manufacturer may also be held legally responsible for a victim’s injuries if they did not include adequate warning labels that would put consumers on notice of the flame and fire risks associated with a particular clothing product. In this instance, the designer or manufacturer could be sued for either using a defective warning label or for failing to place a warning label on the item of clothing in question at all.
Are There Any Legal Remedies for Flammable Clothing Injuries?
The injuries that flammable articles of clothing may cause to persons who wear them and are then subsequently exposed to fires can be quite severe. Some common types of injuries that may result from wearing flammable clothing near a fire include disfigurement, third-degree burns, and possibly even death. Thus, the legal remedies awarded for flammable clothing injuries tend to factor in the amount it would cost to reimburse a victim for their losses.
For example, an injured party who prevails in a flammable clothing lawsuit may be able to recover monetary damages to cover bills for hospital stays, medical devices, treatment, medications, and various other losses that affect their daily life, such as lost wages or loss of earning potential. In extreme cases, an injured party may be able to recover a punitive damages award on top of a compensatory damages award as well.
However, punitive damages may not be available in every flammable clothing injury case. Punitive damages may also be limited to the amount of damages prescribed by a product liability law and/or a damages statute enacted in a particular state. If awarded, the amount of punitive damages that a victim can potentially collect may be very high in such lawsuits. This is especially true in flammable clothing cases where the party who is injured is a minor child.
In cases where certain articles of flammable clothing have caused numerous consumers to suffer injuries, a class action lawsuit may be initiated and filed against the manufacturing company. If the class action lawsuit is successful, the plaintiffs will most likely receive an award for compensatory damages. In addition, the manufacturer may also be ordered to issue a recall for those flammable clothing items.
Briefly, a recall is a company-issued statement that informs consumers and retailers to return a product or service because it is defective or dangerous to users. Accordingly, having to issue a recall for flammable clothing items may not only hurt the reputation of a manufacturing company, but can also cause the company to lose thousands of dollars’ worth of products.
Lastly, if an individual or entity is found to have violated certain sections of the FFA, they may also be charged and convicted of committing a misdemeanor. In which case, they may also have to pay a criminal fine of up to $5,000 and/or may need to serve a prison sentence of no longer than one year.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance with a Flammable Clothing Lawsuit?
As previously discussed, persons who receive Injuries from flammable clothing items can often file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of those items. Thus, you may want to consider hiring a defective products lawyer who works in your area to obtain further legal guidance on how to take legal action against the business responsible for creating your flammable garments.
A lawyer who has experience handling consumer-related legal issues will be able to assess the facts of your case and can perform legal research to make sure you have a viable claim. Your lawyer can also assist you in drafting and filing any necessary legal documents for your flammable clothing lawsuit, and will be able to provide legal representation in court or at any other legal proceedings that are connected to your case.
On the other hand, if you are the party who is being sued for creating or selling flammable clothing products, your lawyer will be able to conduct legal research to determine if there are any defenses that you can raise against the plaintiff’s claim and can help you to build a strong defensive case. Your lawyer will also be able to present the argument in court and can find out if there are any ways that you can reduce the damages against you should you lose.
Finally, whether you are suing or being sued for issues concerning flammable clothing, a consumer lawyer will be able to assist you with the appeals process if you are not satisfied with the initial outcome of the case. Additionally, your lawyer can help you to settle the matter out of court in a quicker and more efficient manner than would be possible if the case were to go to trial. Thus, you should at least speak to a consumer lawyer to learn about your options.