$3.5 Million Settlement Reached in Case Involving Improperly Installed Garage Door
When equipment is installed or serviced in a home, the failure to properly install the equipment can jeopardize the safety of the homeowner and visitors to the property. When the installation, repair or maintenance of a device like a garage door is not performed properly, the company that does substandard work can be liable for injuries. The property owner also might be financially responsible to those who visit the property.
A $3.5 million settlement in a case involving an improperly installed garage door provides an example of the competing issues in this type of lawsuit. The plaintiff was a 52-year-old salesman employed by a furniture rental company. While he was at work, the company’s commercial garage the door of the facility became stuck in the open position. He climbed a ladder to examine the door after it failed to close when he repeatedly pushed the button to activate the door. While he was on the ladder, the door suddenly slammed to the ground and knocked the plaintiff off of the ladder.
The plaintiff was in a coma for six weeks following the accident. He experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with subdural hematomas. After the plaintiff awoke from the coma, his course of treatment continued at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation for another five months. He continued to suffer residual effects from the TBI, such as cognitive impairment.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against multiple parties involved in the manufacture and installation of the garage door. The plaintiff alleged that the door was improperly installed without a safety interlock switch. This safety feature is designed to prevent people who try to open the door without disengaged the lock from suffering injury or causing damage to the door. The garage door was injured because of the failure to install the safety interlock switch. One of the defendants was retained on multiple occasions to repair the door in 2008. The same defendant was also enlisted to repair the door in 2010.
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had a long period with multiple opportunities to discover the safety issue and make the garage door safe. According to an expert for the plaintiff, the failure to install the safety switch was the proximate cause of the garage door accident. The defendants contended they were not liable because the door had adequate warning labels indicating the need to call a qualified garage door repair company.
Evidence presented as to the plaintiff’s damages included $1.4 million in medical bills and a $130,000 in lost wages. The plaintiff was unable to work because of cognitive deficits caused by his injury. The parties settled the case for $3.5 million. If you are injured by your garage door or other fault equipment installed in your home, you might have a claim against the manufacturer of the device or the company that improperly installed the device. If you have been injured by a defective or improperly installed product, we encourage you to contact us.
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