My Chair Collapsed

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Q: At work, a leg of my chair came out, and I fell to the floor.  I have witnesses.  My friends took photos, and they show that the leg had come out of its dowels.

A: Defendants that come to mind include the manufacturer of the chair and the entity in possession of the premises, i.e. the owner or tenant.  However, the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy that a worker may obtain against his or her employer for losses suffered as a result of an injury sustained in the course of employment.  So, assuming that your employer was the owner or tenant, and you were covered by workers’ compensation, then your employer seems not to be an option.

The manufacturer’s attorney will hope to show that the chair’s collapse was caused by a circumstance like the age of the chair, damage during storage, or misuse.  He or she might even have an engineer visit the defendant’s plant to be able to testify that the processes, quality control, testing and inspection were up to snuff, and that a defect in gluing would have been readily identified at several stages of the manufacturing process, so that it was virtually impossible for a chair with such a fault to leave defendant’s plant.

At the outset, your attorney may want to obtain a court order or otherwise make sure that your employer does not allow this chair to be repaired or discarded.  Otherwise, the manufacturer may contend that it is entitled to an ‘adverse inference’ that the gluing was fine.  If somebody now repairs this chair or discards it, the Court may well penalize you for the destruction of evidence – by precluding you from offering evidence of the condition of the chair at the time of your accident.

Surely, a critical phase of a chair’s manufacturing process is the uniform and adequate application of glue in order to create a strong joint.  With proof that the dowels were inadequately glued – indicating that the manufacturer failed sufficiently to coat the dowels and corresponding holes – you can hope to win.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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