Pain in back and buttocks after using new office chair...

by Joe
(Shreveport, LA)

I had been using cheap office chairs in my home office. They weren't very supportive, so in September 2014 I ended up paying a significant price for a new major brand ergonomic office chair. After 3 days of sitting in the chair, my buttocks started hurting, especially under my pubic bones and the upper butt. The pain radiated down the back of my thighs.

For the next few weeks, I added additional cushions to the chair but could find no relief and returned the chair for a refund. I've since seen an orthopedic surgeon, had several cortisone injections in different locations along my spine, and gone through 2 rounds of physical therapy.

The surgeon thinks a vertebrae fusion might help but is not sure. The pain management doctor doesn't think the fusion would help.

The physical therapists say they have never seen a case like mine (in 30 years of practice). I have a very difficult time sitting in a chair for more than a couple of hours a day, even if I get up for frequent breaks and do exercises.

Although the chair functioned normally, is it possible the manufacturer could still be liable for the pain and difficulty I am still experiencing from having used their chair? If it had a faulty design? IS there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Pain in back and buttocks after using new office chair...":

Joe (Shreveport, LA):

You are referring to a legal doctrine called product liability. Learn more about how to establish a product liability case here. This doctrine refers to the liability of one or more parties for damage and personal injuries caused by their product. This includes the designer of the product, the manufacturer, the assembler, and the retail store where the product was sold to the consumer.

It is unlikely the manufacturer will be held liable for your injuries and resulting medical costs. At this point you really don't have any proof the chair was the cause of your injuries. Even your doctors don't mention your injuries were caused by the chair.

Proving a product liability claim is an unbelievably difficult challenge. It's you against a multi-million dollar manufacturer. You can be quite sure the manufacturer isn't going to admit its chair is defective. Even if you were to successfully sue them, you can be just as sure they would appeal the case. That can take years.

Moreover, you will find it virtually impossible to find an attorney who will accept your case in a contingency basis. Product liability claims can take years and cost thousands of dollars in research, not to mention pretrial discovery costs for depositions, and the cost of hiring experts who will testify that the chair is defective.

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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