Kentucky residents may remember the small, round rare-earth magnets that were sold as a stress reliever and desk product for adults. Back in 2014, they were banned because they had been connected with a high number of injuries, but in 2016, the ban was rescinded. The aftermath, as one might expect, was a spike in injuries, especially among children.
Rare-earth magnets are 30 times stronger than ordinary refrigerator magnets and are, thus, difficult to separate. If ingested, they may come together inside the intestines and wind up tearing the inner lining. In 2016, two years after the ban, there were 281 reported cases of ingestion. In 2019, though, there were an estimated 1,666 cases.
Emergency room data shows that a significant number of the victims are children. The Toy Association has stated clearly that these magnets are not children’s toys. Parents have been advised not to carry the magnets in their homes and to educate their children about the hazards they present. It should be noted that the injuries that these magnets cause can, indeed, be life-threatening.
Those injured by defective or hazardous products, or the family of children injured by them, can pursue a product liability claim against the responsible party. Most of these claims are founded on one or more of three possible defects: manufacturing, marketing and design defects.
In the case of an injury arising from a rare-earth magnet, the plaintiff would most likely allege a marketing defect. For example, the makers may not have sufficiently warned about the hazards. Rather than filing their claim alone, though, plaintiffs may want a lawyer to assist them. A lawyer may hire third parties to investigate the case and gather proof of negligence. The lawyer may then proceed to negotiations for a settlement out of court.