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Woman Dies After Being Impaled by Reusable Metal Straw

While reusable metal straws are being promoted as being safer for the environment than their plastic counterparts, a new story out of England shows they may not be safe for humans. Elena Struthers-Gardner was holding a glass that contained a 10-inch-long stainless-steel straw. She fell while walking due to a medical condition, and the straw impaled her eye. Struthers-Gardner suffered fatal brain injuries as a result.

The news has sparked concern over the trendy new straws, with many wondering whether they are safe to use.

Who Is Liable for Reusable Metal Straw Accidents?

Whether or not the manufacturer is responsible for accidents involving reusable straws depends on three elements. These are the design of the straw, potential defects, or if the manufacturer knew of a danger and failed to warn consumers.

Starbucks recalled reusable straws the coffee company sold in 2016 due to a design defect. The company’s straws had a textured bottom. This was to prevent the straws from coming loose from a Starbucks cup. However, that same textured bottom lacerated and cut the inside of people’s mouths, mostly children. This is a design flaw in the straw, and Starbucks could be held liable if serious injuries result, regardless of the fact that the straws have been recalled.

It’s currently unclear if there was a design flaw or defect in the straw used by the woman in England. If there was, the manufacturer could be held liable. Now, though, with stories like this emerging, manufacturers may have to begin including warning labels on their straws if they don’t already.

It’s not only manufacturers that can be held liable for dangerous straws, or any other defective product. Anyone involved in the storing or handling of the product, such as a retailer, can also be liable if they mishandled the product. For example, if a retailer or supplier bent the box, causing damage to the straws, and a consumer was cut by a broken straw, the injured individual could also file a claim against these parties.

What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Dangerous Product

Most people don’t expect to be hurt by the products they use. As such, they may not know what to do when this happens. If a dangerous product causes an injury, you need to take the following steps:

  • Get medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible.
  • Do not throw the product away if it is safe to keep it.
  • If you must discard the product, take pictures of it, particularly of the defect.
  • Gather any documentation pertaining to the purchase or maintenance of the product.

The product, pictures of the product, and other documentation will all help support your claim if you pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer, supplier, or retailer. A Chicago product liability attorney can help you with your claim, and it is important to speak to one as soon as possible.

Talk to a Product Liability Attorney for Free Now

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a dangerous or defective product, contact our Chicago product liability attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. You could be entitled to compensation to help pay for the cost of your injuries, and we can help you pursue it. Contact us online for your free consultation.

Patrick A. Salvi

Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.

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