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Defective wheelchairs are a serious issue affecting the elderly, disabled, and injured people throughout the country. Manufacturers that have failed to ensure the safety of their products must be held accountable when a defect results in serious injuries to someone using that product.
The Quickie Q7 Model EIR4 wheelchair was recalled in July 2016 after serious defects were found in the device. In at least one case, someone who suffered serious injuries took legal action by filing a wheelchair recall lawsuit against the manufacturer of this wheelchair - Sunrise Medical LLC.
Sunrise Medical LLC ran a recall on its Quickie Q7 Model EIR4 wheelchair between July 2016 and September 2017. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this model was recalled due to "an observed failure of the backrest bracket which can fatigue over the lifetime of the product. When this occurs there is the possibility of the bracket fracturing causing the backrest to detach from the chair frame."
On July 7, 2016, the company started calling dealers to notify them of the recall and to obtain contact information. Sunrise Medical then sent dealers a list of Quickie Q7 chairs that records showed they had sold. These dealers were asked to return a list of the chairs that they were able to track down for corrections.
The Quickie Q7 hit the market in 2009. Shortly after its release, the design was changed from outward-facing bolts to inward-facing ones because some users complained about the bolts backing out.
In 2011, Toby Morin bought a Quickie Q7 and in 2013, his wheelchair was updated to the new design with bolts facing inward. One year later, Morin suffered a serious puncture wound from one of these inward-facing bolts. A month later, that wound was aggravated when a seat screw and aluminum seat rail failed, causing Morin to fall from his wheelchair.
Morin sought medical care for the aggravated wound, but it stayed open for nearly three years. He took legal action against Sunrise Medical by filing a personal injury lawsuit. When this lawsuit was filed, the wound had still not fully healed. Morin suffered nerve injuries related to this wound.
Morin turned down multiple settlement offers and his case was brought to trial. During this trial, he and his lawyers made the case that Sunrise Medical deserved to be held liable for these injuries and related complications because the wheelchair had a dangerous and defective design, the update to the design was also dangerous and defective, and the instructions that Sunrise Medical provided concerning the design update were insufficient and thus negligent.
A jury deliberated for just two days and ruled in Morin's favor with a $9.8 million verdict. $4.8 million of this amount was awarded for medical care and lifecare, while another $5 million was awarded for current and future non-economic damages.
Product defects of all types are extremely dangerous and have the potential to cause severe or even fatal injuries. Defects in wheelchairs can be especially hazardous because many wheelchair operators are elderly or disabled and more susceptible to severe injuries. If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a wheelchair accident that you believe was caused by a defect, the product liability lawyers at Banville Law are prepared to help you find answers. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation.