Ruptured Tendon While Lifting a Bed...

by Steve
(Eden, NC, USA)

I was injured when I lifted a murphy bed to help a friend move it to another part of the room. This particular murphy bed is built much like a dining room hutch and is compact. It was sitting on carpet and my friend asked me to move it. When lifting the bed I ruptured the tendon in my right (dominant) arm.

There were specific instructions on how to move the bed (it weighed 242 lbs) on carpet and specifically described not moving the bed from side to side because of the way it was built. I now have the instructions and a written letter from the owner of the company on how this should be done. But my friend did not produce the instructions when I first went to move the bed. If she had I would have known not to try moving it by myself.

I had to have my bicep surgically repaired. My friend told her insurance company it was her fault but they refuse to settle. Do you think I have a case for my injury? What can I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Ruptured Tendon While Lifting a Bed...":

Steve (Eden, NC, USA):

Your injuries should be covered under your friend's homeowners policy. You were injured on her property and most injuries sustained on a homeowner's property are usually covered.

If your friend's insurance company has denied coverage your only alternative will be to file a lawsuit against your friend. Unfortunately you can't sue the insurance company for your injuries. You must sue the owner of the policy. Presuming your friend owns the policy she will be the defendant in your lawsuit.

There is a very remote chance you might have a claim against the insurance company for a "bad faith" denial of a claim. To establish bad faith liability you would have to prove they knowingly, recklessly or willingly denied an otherwise payable claim.

You may face a more realistic barrier. If you knew the bed weighed over 200 pounds it might be considered unreasonable to have attempted to move it by yourself. If people were permitted to sue every time they were injured when moving heavy objects the courts would be backed up for years.

It would be an unreasonable burden for manufacturers of heavy objects to have to print instructions on those objects telling people how to move it. If it's too heavy, the companies presume the mover will get help. It's akin to "assumption of the risk". Most people use their common sense when attempting to move heavy objects.

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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