Visitor Question

Guest at meeting sits in and breaks chair…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

At a business meeting, a guest sat in a chair that broke during the presentation. The chair(s) were in good working condition (used each week). The guest was extremely overweight, and the chair literally snapped.

That person proceeded to go to the doctor and seek out a personal injury attorney. The lawyer reached out to us via letter to either contact them or have our insurance company contact them.

To compound the issue, the business liability insurance has lapsed. We spoke to an attorney (a friend, so not an “official” consultation), and we feel that it is definitely worth talking to an attorney officially, and that we could very well win a case if it goes to a trial. Thoughts?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

You’re in a precarious legal position. If the chair manufacturer made clear there was a limit on the weight the chair would support, it would have been incumbent upon you to tell the woman it appeared the chair couldn’t support her weight. You might have done so privately so as not to embarrass her any more than was necessary.

If the chair company never told you there was a limit on the amount of weight the chair could hold, or if there isn’t a sticker on the bottom of the chair designating maximum weight, you could bring them into any lawsuit which might be filed against you.

Once the woman’s attorney realizes you don’t have insurance, he or she may decide to sue the chair manufacturer directly for a “defective product”. The attorney may be doing that anyway. If you aren’t in a position to hire an attorney, you might contact the woman’s attorney and attempt to work out a settlement.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 19, 2013

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