Most people use automatic doors every day. They are everywhere almost to the point where they cannot be avoided. They are meant to make lives easier for everyone, but while they are meant to open for us and close after we are through, malfunctions can occur. While not hugely common, when automatic doors malfunction, they can close quickly, knocking people down or painfully crushing sections of their body that didn’t get out of the way in time. However, when you get injuries from a malfunctioning automatic door, who is to blame for your injuries?
Liability for Automatic Doors
When holding someone liable for automatic door injuries, very rarely is the door malfunction due to some manufacturing defect. This rules out lawsuits against the manufacturer. Instead, the injured party should look to hold either the business owner or the landowner liable for their doors. Often in the case of malfunctioning automatic doors, injuries occur due to negligence. This means that the owner of the premises, whoever was in charge of taking care to make sure the building was in working order, was not diligent in having their doors inspected and fixed in a timely manner.
For example, if you were headed to the grocery store and the automatic door closed on you, the store manager who is responsible for keeping the building in working order can often be held liable. However, in some cases where the business leases or rents the property, then the landowner may in fact be held liable since, as a landlord, they are responsible for fixing issues with their building.
Building Your Case
After being injured by automatic doors, finding the liable party is typically the easy part of seeking compensation for your injuries. However, next comes building evidence against them that they knew the door was malfunctioning or did not take proper care to prevent injury.
In some cases, the business or landowner had the door inspected previous to a malfunction and did not fix any potential issues. If it is a first time malfunction or they just found out of a potential problem the day before the incident, typically the injured party will still have a case against them. However, evidence will be much more difficult to gather.
When building your case, there are three important pieces of evidence that you will want to gather.
- Surveillance Footage – This will document that actual accident showing that you were not doing anything dangerous or negligent yourself in the doorway when the doors closed on you. This could also show that the door malfunctioned and failed to open, causing you to walk into it. While you may feel silly, that still counts as a malfunction and you can seek compensation for your injuries.
- Inspection Reports – Looking over past inspection reports can show if there were signs of wear or other issues that may have caused a malfunction. If these issues were not addressed in a timely manner, it can greatly help your case.
- Previous Malfunctions and Injuries – When an automatic door malfunctions, often it is not the first time it has done so. If there have been injuries in the past, or even better, successful lawsuits, then it can mean the success of your case.
If you were hurt by one of the many automatic doors in the Oshkosh area, contact us today. If you were injured due to the negligence of a premises owner, then you should not have to pay for those injuries yourself. Let the Harnitz Law Office put our years of experience with personal injury law to work for you to get the best possible results.