Finger cut off by electric ice shaver, now what do I do?
The top part of my finger was cut off due to an electric ice shaving machine incident. While making shaved ice, the snow backed up into the product and I tried to use my finger to get it loose, which I had done many times when the machine was off. I never felt anything sharp or dangerous while doing so.
This time the machine was on, and since I was under the assumption there would be no grinding metal blade, I went ahead and used my finger. Had I had ANY way of knowing that this danger was present, this never would have happened. I need my hands for my work as a paralegal, so I can type!
I would like to pursue a product liability case on behalf of my injury. My product was not labeled with a warning label, and it was not until today that I looked online and found that it was supposed to have a warning on it, specifically regarding the fingers and where I was injured.
This picture was so small online I had to enlarge the image to see the warning that would have been obvious if it had been properly placed on my product. There are no precautions made by the company to protect fingers or any object near the chamber the shaved ice comes out through.
It has been about two weeks since my injury, and I am in so much pain I can barely function. Imagine the pain of a paper cut, and multiply that times a thousand. That is how uncomfortable and painful it is, and the pain medication only takes the edge off. I cannot work, and I am having trouble concentrating in my college classes (paralegal degree).
Can I do anything? Or am I just out of luck? Thank you for any information.
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ANSWER for "Finger cut off by electric ice shaver, now what do I do?":
Shay (Alliance, Ohio):
From the facts you present, you appear to have the basis of a strong personal injury defective product claim against the manufacturer. Moreover, that claim can extend to the store where you purchased the ice shaving machine.
Both the manufacturer and the store had a legal duty to make sure the product was safe for consumers. While you certainly should not have not placed your hands inside the machine, if the product had a history of "backing up," the manufacturer and retailer knew, or should have known consumers would likely place their fingers inside the machine to relieve the backed-up ice.
Keep the ice machine alone. Don't clean it, change any settings, or otherwise change it from the day of the injury. Then find several personal injury attorneys in your area who specialize in product liability claims.
Gather copies of your medical records and make appointments to see the attorneys. Bring along your medical records and the machine, if possible. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Moreover, they will not charge any legal fees until, and unless they settle your claim or win it at trial.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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