In the US, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms as a result of serious injuries from broken or defective chairs. The catalogue of medical issues that can result from broken chair injuries is staggering, often including severed fingers from jagged edges, fractured skulls from collapsed chairs, and crushed fingers from rickety chairs. 

However, chairs should not lead to injuries of this kind, or any kind, especially when they are well-maintained. Seating in all establishments should be safe, and constantly checked to ensure that it is in good condition for the users it was designed for. When establishments fail to ensure they maintain good seating, or manufacturers produce defective chairs, they can be held responsible for their oversight. 

The medical issues resulting from broken chair accidents will often be financially significant, especially considering the rising costs of medical care. This expense can cause unanticipated difficulties, putting many families in financial trouble. You should not have to bear this burden alone, or suffer for the consequences of someone else’s negligence. 

At Fiore Legal, we have built a reputation for committed, and successful, representation of families that have been affected by the carelessness of others, including broken chair accidents. Our broken chair injury attorneys are experts at personal injury law, and are deeply experienced at litigating these complaints. If you or your loved one was injured in a broken chair accident, our attorneys can help you secure justice and the fair compensation you deserve. 

Contact our offices to set up a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys today. 

Broken Chair Injuries Statistics 

People of all ages are affected by broken chair injuries, which can occur in a variety of circumstances. People get injured when they try to recline in chairs they do not know are faulty, exposing them to potentially severe trauma to their neck and the back of their head. Elderly people can be especially at risk, due to their potential to look for more support in the chair than other individuals. 

Unfortunately, children can be just as much at risk as their parents and older siblings. Every 30 minutes in the US, an injured child has to visit the emergency room because of tipping and falling furniture, including chairs. Sadly, a child dies every two weeks, on average, from injuries caused by falling or poorly constructed furniture such as collapsing chairs. 

In addition, over 18,000 children sustain injuries in accidents involving high chairs, some of which are caused when an unstable chair tips over as the child attempts to get on or off the chair. The statistics are scary, especially considering that children can be exposed to as much risk as adults. 

Yet, many producers of chairs and establishments where seating is provided fail to live up to their responsibility of providing safe and non-defective seating. 

Where Broken Chair Accidents Happen 

Chair accidents and injuries occur in many situations, within many establishments daily. Many of these injuries often occur in restaurants, such as national chains or “mom and pop” eateries. While large restaurant chains typically try to minimize the possibility of these injuries, people can still get injured from chair accidents in these places. 

Often, the large chains impose strict standards on how they source their seating, who they buy from, and how these chairs are set up. In addition, they typically require employees to conduct constant visual checks and immediately take action when they discover seating that presents a potential hazard. However, certain employees fail in this duty, leaving defective seating in place, which eventually leads to avoidable injuries. 

These injuries can happen more frequently in smaller restaurants where there is not such a focus on maintaining strict standards. Often, these establishments have older seating or hard-used furniture, and they may not maintain such rigid inspection requirements. As a result, chairs may break, collapse, or have defective parts that can cause injuries to patrons. 

Other places that broken chair injuries may occur include salons, movie theaters, nightclubs, bars, and any other business that provides seating. 

Common Injuries From Broken Chair Accidents

Broken and defective chairs have the potential to cause varying types of injuries for people of all ages. These injuries may be severe and cause long lasting effects, or they may be mild and temporary. The injuries that may result here include: 

  • Crushed or pinched fingers
  • Torn skin leading to serious bleeding
  • Broken bones in the shoulders, arms, or wrists
  • Head and skull injuries resulting from falls
  • Back and spinal cord injuries, including fractured tailbones and herniated discs
  • Neck injuries, such as whiplash and trauma from falls
  • Muscle and nerve damage
  • Knee and hip injuries 
  • Concussion

In all or some of these cases, the injuries experienced may require emergency care at a hospital or urgent care. And in some instances, there will be a need for ongoing medical care to manage recovery or rehabilitate the injured body part. In either case, the financial consequences will be significant, which is why our broken chair injury attorneys recommend speaking to an attorney immediately to learn your options for recovering compensation. 

Determining Liability in Broken Chair Injury Claims

After suffering injury in a broken chair accident, your next thought is likely “who is responsible for my injuries?” While the answer to this question may be straightforward in some cases, it can be difficult to find an answer in other situations. 

In most cases, broken chair accidents occur as a result of a failure to take proper care in maintaining seating in an establishment. When patrons are injured due to this negligence, the responsible establishment may be held accountable under premises liability principles. 

Premises liability is a principle of law that holds owners or occupiers of premises responsible when hazards in those premises cause injury to others. Restaurant owners and their staff are examples of owners or occupiers of premises. The premises liability laws impose an obligation on them to ensure that the premises are safe, and do not contain any conditions that may bring harm to people. 

The restaurant owners must take care to ensure that all of their chairs are in serviceable condition. Where there are faulty chairs, they must be removed quickly, and if they cannot be removed before patrons arrive, sufficient warning should be provided so people can avoid seating on those chairs. 

To succeed in a claim of this nature, you would usually be expected to show that the following facts exist:

  • There was a seating hazard in the establishment;
  • The owner or staff of the establishment knew about this hazard, or should have known about it;
  • The owner or staff of the establishment either failed to remove the seating hazard or failed to warn patrons about the hazard;
  • You suffered injury from one of the hazardous chairs as a result of this failure

In certain other circumstances, the establishment may not be responsible for the injuries you were exposed to. This may be the case if they had recently bought the chairs or had them fixed recently, and expected that the chairs would be in good condition. In these circumstances, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the chairs. 

Filing a Product Liability Claim

Chairs can break or be defective for any one of various reasons. Sometimes, this may be due to a factor or condition that is nobody’s fault. For instance, when moisture seeps into the joints of a chair, it can make the chair weaker and more likely to collapse when heavier weight than usual is placed on it. 

But there are other instances when the chair failed to behave in a manner that a sturdy, well-constructed chair would. In such cases, there might be sufficient facts to ground a product liability claim. 

Product liability principles hold that manufacturers or producers of goods must ensure their goods are safe for public use. They must take proper care to ensure their products do not harm people when used as they would normally be used. This principle is also called “the neighborhood principle”. There are three primary defects that can lead to a product liability claim: 

  • Construction defects: Liability arises here when the chairs were unsafe because they were not built correctly. The liability may be based on a failure to use adequate or good quality materials, or allowing errors in construction escape quality control.
  • Design defects: These defects occur due to flaws in the design for the chairs. Liability arises here, not necessarily because of errors during the process but because the design was flawed right from the start. 
  • Marketing defects: Manufacturers are generally required to provide adequate instructions for safe use of their products. While this is not generally a factor for chairs or other seating, it may lead to liability where there was a need for proper use instructions and these instructions were absent, wrong or incomplete. 

The responsibility for these defects will usually lie with the manufacturer. But in some cases, the retailer that distributed these chairs may also be liable. This may be the case where the retailer knew that the chairs were defective but continued marketing and selling them to final consumers. 

Succeeding on product liability principles can often be challenging. Your broken chair injury attorney will likely require the assistance of experts who are experienced in the building and composition of the chairs that caused you injury. If you were seriously injured in the accident, or your loved one suffered severe hurt, you should speak with an attorney about your case. 

When You Share the Blame

In some circumstances, the restaurant or manufacturer of the chairs may claim that you were partially responsible for the injuries you suffered. For instance, if you were sitting on a chair that collapsed, the defendant or their insurance company may allege that the accident occurred because you were using the chair incorrectly. 

If the court finds that you share some of the blame for the circumstances that caused your injuries, the amount of compensation you received may be reduced by the court. Under shared fault principles, the court will “apportion” the blame for the accident between you and the defendant. If you were 10% at fault for the accident, the compensation you may receive will be reduced by 10%. 

Often, how shared liability principles would apply depend on the laws in the state where the claim was filed. In California, the principle that applies is the “pure comparative negligence” principle. Under these rules, you can still recover compensation no matter how much blame is put on you for the accident. Even if you were 60% at fault, you can still recover compensation, although this will be reduced by 60%. 

However, to ensure you have the best chance of succeeding at your claim, you should inform your broken chair injury attorney about all the circumstances involved in the accident, even when some of those facts place fault on you. This helps the attorney plan properly for how to maximize your chances of recovering compensation. 

Setting up a Broken Chair Injury Claim

To give yourself the best chance of winning your personal injury claim, you have to collect as much evidence as possible. This starts by taking the following actions at the scene of the accident: 

  • Notify management of the injury: Although your first impulse may be to minimize the accident, you should resist this. Instead, call for the manager immediately, or ask a friend or bystander to do this. In some establishments, you will be asked to fill an incident report. Letting management know about your injury helps you set the process in motion. If you were seriously injured, you should also call 911 at once. 
  • Receive prompt medical attention: Receiving prompt medical attention is important for two reasons. First, it helps you quickly discover how serious your injury is and get on the recovery track as soon as possible. Second, it helps protect your claim, as failing to receive medical care soon after the accident may introduce doubt into your claim. The insurance company will take this as an opportunity to claim your injuries were not as serious as you claim, or that the injuries are not related to the chair accident. 
  • Gather evidence at the scene: Photographs and short video clips provide powerful evidence of what transpired at the scene. Take photographs of the chair itself, the parts that broke or caused you injury, and surrounding chairs for comparison purposes. If you can, ask bystanders who saw the chair accident if they would be willing to provide a statement as to how the accident occurred. Hopefully, they would also have some knowledge about any previous negative experiences with the establishment. 
  • Keep records of your loss: Being injured in a broken chair accident may not be sufficient to prove your claim. You should also collect a medical report or x-ray showing the extent of your injuries and what they have caused. Your medical bills provide a good record of the cost of your injuries. You can also collect a written statement of wages from your workplace, if you were unable to work due to the accident. 

When you collect all of this evidence, you are ready to start the process of pursuing your broken chair injury claim. If your injuries were minor, such as a shallow cut or minor sprain, you can probably negotiate an acceptable settlement with the defendants without needing to hire an attorney. But if your injuries are serious or may cause you permanent harm, you will need the help of an experienced broken chair injury attorney to help you recover the compensation you deserve. 

The Broken Chair Injury Attorneys at Fiore Legal Can Help

Being injured in a broken chair accident can not only be embarrassing, it may expose you to severe injuries and substantial financial harm. Give yourself the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve by contacting our experienced broken chair injury attorneys for help. 

Call Fiore Legal for help or schedule a free no-obligation consultation with our attorneys here.

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