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April 13th, 2020
When one thinks of wheelchairs, one may think of a medical device that is designed to provide independence, mobility, and freedom to some of the most vulnerable members of society. Wheelchairs assist people with disabilities to become productive members of their communities. About 10% of the global population, i.e. about 650 million people, have disabilities. Studies indicate that, of these, some 10% require a wheelchair.
(Publish Date: 2013/04/22 – (Rev. 2018/09/28), Author: The University of California – Disability Statistics Center)
Just over 6.8 million community-resident Americans use assistive devices to help them with mobility. This group comprises 1.7 million wheelchair or scooter riders and 6.1 million users of other mobility devices, such as canes, crutches, and walkers.
(Publish Date: 2013/04/22 – (Rev. 2018/09/28), Author: The University of California – Disability Statistics Center) https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/mobility-stats.php
When considering the numbers, it doesn’t cross your mind that according the Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 3.3 of every 1000 persons in the United States who use a wheelchair, an estimated 3.3% per year have a serious wheelchair-related incident.
(Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1990 Aug;69(4):184-90.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2383378
wheelchair related injuries are not unheard-of, they can be easily prevented.
However, sadly with so many companies flooding products on the market, there
are bound to be wheelchair related injuries due to a defect with the chair
in Baton Rouge Louisiana, a woman who was dependent upon her motorized
reclining wheelchair experienced an event that would forever change her life.
While attempting to recline her chair to its rest position, the brackets on the
base of the chair sheered away from the seat resulting in the chair breaking in
half and violently depositing its occupant on the ground. She struggled for
over an hour to call for help before assistance ever came. It has since been
discovered that a major manufactures defect existed within the chair before she
was ever put into possession of the product.
the company who manufactured the chair takes the position that it was a onetime
occurrence, the truth is one wheelchair accident is simply one too many. People of all ages, sizes, and genders are
injured in wheelchair mishaps each year, which is why it is important to target
the reasons why these events happen and put a stop to the numbers!
Manufacturers have a duty to ensure
their products are safe. While products liability law differs
slightly from state to state, the four main types of product liability claims
are based on:
(1) The product is unreasonably dangerous in construction or
composition as provided in L.A. R.S. 9:2800.55;
(2) The product is unreasonably dangerous in design as
provided in L.A. R.S. 9:2800.56;
(3) The product is unreasonably dangerous because an
adequate warning about the product has not been provided as provided in
L.A.R.S. 9:2800.57; or
(4) The product is unreasonably dangerous because it does
not conform to an express warranty of the manufacturer about the product as
provided in L.A.R.S. 9:2800.58.
Many wheelchairs are made electrically and
motorized these days, which means injuries could happen on a whole new level
due to technological defects that we see day-to-day. A
wheelchair could be improperly designed, poorly manufactured, or lack the
proper warnings and instructions, leading to dangerous or deadly events; in
which case, the manufacturer could be liable for any injuries or damages.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a wheelchair related incident, we would like to help. Please reach out to Dudley DeBosier Injury Attorneys and let us show you, the Dudley DeBosier Difference.