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Product Liability - Collapsing Chairs

Robert Karns

Many people are injured from chairs that collapse as they sit in them giving rise to serious product liability cases. The injuries are usually quite serious as the unsuspecting person sits in a chair and it collapses causing the spine to compress or causing a striking of the head or both.

A chair, stool, booth or any other type of furniture designed for sitting can collapse and cause serious injury for many reasons including:

• An improper design - Chairs that are designed negligently that do not meet engineering specifications including ANSI general purpose office chair tests, United States Furniture Compliance Requirements under the National Institute of Standards and Technology, safety performance and environmental testing of commercial and residential furniture - underwriters laboratory white paper and human factors design handbook - Wesley Woodson. If a chair is not designed properly it is defective and dangerous giving rise to a product liability case for injuries that are suffered.

• Defective manufacturing - When the chair is properly designed but it is not manufactured properly in that it is not assembled or fabricated correctly. This can mean missing screws or fasteners or screws and fasteners that are not tightened. It can mean inadequate weld or incorrect component parts that are installed. Once again this would mean the chair is defective giving rise to a product liability case.

• Failure of component parts - Even if the chair is designed properly and manufactured correctly if the components that are being used fail the chair becomes defective giving rise to a product liability case for the injuries that are suffered. This may mean inadequate threading on fasteners, glue that does not hold or anything to do with defective component parts.

In addition to injuries regarding collapsing chairs from product liability there can also be premise liability regarding the chair much the same as a slip and fall case. This occurs when a hotel or restaurant is negligent based upon failure to act with reasonable care. This can be when the hotel or restaurant does not inspect their chairs or seating arrangements and allows older, worn out or broken chairs to be used by the public. This usually consists of a negligent failure by the restaurant or hotel to inspect the chairs or seating arrangements or to give them the proper maintenance. This type of liability is premises liability similar to slip and falls that happened in restaurants and hotels different from the above product liability.

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