Finger severed by collapsible lawn chair...

by Joann
(Manton, Michigan)

I was removing a collapsible lawn chair lounger from a trailer and it opened up on its own and pinched my finger, cutting through the nail, clipping off the tip of the bone, and severing the tip of my finger 3/4 way through. Can the manufacturer be held responsible for this?

The chair is older, but has been hardly used and is in like-new condition, obviously, since the folding areas move easily, far too easily. I just couldn't get my hand out of the way fast enough to avoid being cut by the tubes of the chair.

I also think I tore my shoulder in the process, but that is not as obvious. The stitches and pain in my finger, and loss of use for I don't know how long, is what bothers me most. What can I do about this? Do I have a case? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Finger severed by collapsible lawn chair...":

Joann (Manton, Michigan):

Your injury is indeed unfortunate. It's safe to say at one time or another most people have had their hands or fingers pinched by a folding chair or other extendable object. In most cases, the injury was painful, but not serious enough to require medical attention.

Unfortunately, your injuries were quite serious, requiring emergency medical treatment. You may have the basis of a product liability claim. The age of the chair may not be relevant unless, as a result of its age, it was broken or otherwise malfunctioning.

Manufacturers and sellers of consumer products have a "legal duty of care" to do everything reasonably possible to assure their products are safe.

In your case, the manufacturer and retailer of the chair may have been negligent in the design, production, and sale of the chair. That negligence may make them liable for the injuries you sustained.

Gather copies of your medical records and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. Seek out personal injury attorneys who concentrate their practices in product liability cases. You would not be able to handle a case like this yourself. Most injury attorneys will not charge you for an initial office consultation.

Moreover, you may not be the only person seriously injured by the same model as your chair. If that's the case, there may be a class action pending against the manufacturer. If so, you can "opt-in" (join) the class action.

Be sure to move promptly. The statute of limitations in the State of Michigan (the time period to either settle a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit) is three (3) years.

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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