Finger Injured When Sitting on a Chair in a Restaurant...

by Musick
(Fairfax, Virginia)

I sat on a loose chair at a local restaurant. I tried to pull up the chair to the table and my finger penetrated between the base of the chair and the frame. I sat on the loose base which pinched my finger between the base and the frame. My finger is now twisted and swollen.

I talked to the manager and provided him with my contact info. I was told that the insurance will contact me. I have not heard from them yet. I have terrible pain and I am not able to use my finger to do my usual things at work.

I am wondering what legal procedure I should take? Is the restaurant liable, or is this a product liability case against the chair manufacturer? Thank you for responding.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Finger Injured When Sitting on a Chair in a Restaurant...":

Musick (Fairfax, Virginia):

That's a great question. You are correct on both assumptions. Your claim can be classified as a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the chair, or a personal injury case against the owner of the restaurant, or the owner of the property upon which the restaurant stands, or all three!

Your problem though is medical documentation of your injury. In order for you to be compensated for your injury you will have to have suffered more than the injury you have described.

Before you have any contact with the insurance company take some photographs of your finger, go to a medical clinic, your local hospital's emergency room, or your doctor. If the doctors believe your injury is more than a sprain they will send you to radiology for an x-ray.

If the doctor thinks there may be torn tendons or ligaments she may send you for an MRI - a Magnetic Resonance Imaging examination. An MRI can determine those soft tissue injuries an x-ray cannot.

If your finger is fractured, or there are tendons or ligaments torn then you have a documented compensable injury with which you can pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the chair, the restaurant owner and the property owner.

If the x-rays and MRI don't detect any fractures or torn ligaments or tendons, and all you have is a bad sprain, that isn't much of a claim.

If in the fortunate event you have merely suffered a painful sprain, ask the insurance company for about $1500.00 for your pain and suffering. They may offer much less or nothing at all. You probably don't want to settle for less than $500.00.

The problem is you have very little leverage. If the insurance company doesn't offer you what you believe to be a fair amount all you can do is sue the manufacturer, the restaurant, the property owner, or a combination of the three.

Whether in small claims court or county or state court, your case won't be very strong. By the time the trial date comes up your finger will have healed and all you may have left is a photograph of the swelling.

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,

Judge Calisi

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