Common Defects Found in Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are complex pieces of machinery. It’s critical that all parts are in working order and that the wheelchair is properly assembled. Any error has the potential to make the entire device dangerously defective.
There are several common types of wheelchair defects that can cause serious injuries for people who use them. Some examples include:
- Defective wheels falling off or out of place
- Electrical issues in motorized wheelchairs
- Malfunctioning motors
- Loose screws and bolts
- Defective seats failing to support the user
- Defective brake systems
If you’ve been injured in a wheelchair accident, it’s important to ask how the accident happened. If the wheelchair deviated from its intended use in some way, there is a decent chance the accident was caused by a defect in the wheelchair.
In cases where a wheelchair injury is caused by a defect, the injured person likely has a strong case for a product liability lawsuit against the wheelchair manufacturer.
Injuries Caused by Defective Wheelchairs
The consequences of defective wheelchair injuries can be devastating. These defects can cause permanent injuries that require expensive medical treatment and limit the victim’s quality of life. Wheelchair defects can even be fatal and result in the tragic death of the wheelchair operator.
Here are some examples of injuries caused by wheelchair defects:
- Bruises, cuts, and broken bones caused by falling from the wheelchair
- Electrocution and burn injuries caused by electrical issues
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and Facial Injuries
Recovering from these injuries is a difficult process, especially if the victim is one of the many elderly people who use wheelchairs. Manufacturers who disregard the safety of their customers by releasing defective products must be held liable. Those injured by defective wheelchairs should not have to worry about covering the personal and economic damages caused by their injuries.
Can I File a Wheelchair Lawsuit for Injuries Caused by a Defective Wheelchair?
After suffering an unexpected serious injury, it’s normal to be curious aboust your legal rights. When the injury involves a product or device, we should ask whether the product was safe or if the injury was caused by a defect. Even though all types of product manufacturers have a legal and moral obligation to make sure their products are safe, not all manufacturers meet this obligation.
Virtually all product defects are related to negligence. Regulations require companies to ensure the safety of all products before their release and there is no excuse for releasing a defective product to the market, where innocent consumers purchase them and are at risk of suffering serious injuries.
If a wheelchair injury is determined to have been caused by a defect, the injured person likely has a strong case for a lawsuit against the wheelchair manufacturer. Taking this type of legal action is often the only way wheelchair injury victims can recover the full financial compensation they need and deserve for their injuries.
Taking legal action also helps call attention to a dangerous issue, as other users of the defective wheelchair will also be at risk. Filing a lawsuit can result in a product recall and save countless other wheelchair users from suffering their own serious injuries because of the defect. Lawsuits can help individuals who have suffered injuries by providing financial compensation and also help the community at large by preventing future injuries to other product users.
Types of Financial Compensation in a Wheelchair Lawsuit
If you file a wheelchair lawsuit, you’ll be eligible to recover financial compensation for several common setbacks caused by your injuries, including:
- Current and future medical expenses – All medical costs suffered due to your injuries can be covered in a lawsuit. This includes medical bills that you’ve already received as well as the estimated cost of future treatment.
- Lost wages – Unexpected injuries often lead to an inability to work for extended periods. Fortunately, product liability lawsuits also cover lost wages from time missed at work.
- Loss of future earning potential – Severe injuries that result in permanent disabilities often result in a loss of future earning potential for the victim. Damages for future lost wages are also available in defective wheelchair lawsuits.
- Pain and suffering – In addition to economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, victims of defective wheelchair injuries also may recover financial compensation for mental and emotional difficulties, often legally referred to as pain and suffering. This can include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other seriously difficulties related to the injuries.
Quicky Q7 Wheelchair Recalled For Defects
At least one major wheelchair manufacturer has had a product recalled due to dangerous defects. The Model EIR4 of the Quicky Q7 wheelchair was issued a recall in July of 2016, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This model was recalled due to “an observed failure of the bracket which can fatigue over the life time of the product. When this occurs there is the possibility of the bracket fracturing, causing the backrest to detach from the chair frame.”
One man who suffered severe injuries from this defect filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, Sunrise Medical, in 2009. Toby Morin took legal action against the company after suffering a puncture wound from an inward-facing bolt. Roughly one month after being wounded, Morin fell from the chair when a seat rail failed. This aggravated the wound and it stayed open for years.
Morin turned down two settlements and took his case to court. In the end, a jury awarded him $9.8 million – including $4.8 million for medical and life care and $5 million for current and future personal damages.
Finding a Product Liability Lawyer for a Wheelchair Injury Lawsuit
If you’ve recently been injured in a wheelchair accident and you believe your injuries may have been caused by a defect in the wheelchair, it’s important to explore your legal options.
An experienced product liability lawyer can analyze your case and determine if the injury was caused by a negligent product defect. From there, he or she can guide you through the legal process as you fight for the financial compensation you deserve from the manufacturer of your wheelchair.
At Banville Law, our product liability injury lawyers specialize in holding negligent companies accountable for preventable injuries suffered by their customers. We have the resources, knowledge, and dedication to help you recover the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.
Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation.