I fell at while testing a store’s product and sustained a lower back injury, what should I do?

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I fell at while testing a store’s product and sustained a lower back injury, what should I do?

I’m a business owner and I was at a home improvement store with my business partner and her aunt shopping for furniture. There was a chair that we were interested in testing out. The aunt asked for assistance from a store employee to bring down the chair because it was on display. The employee comes back with a ladder, brings down the chair and realizes it was a little unstable. The employee takes out a tool and tightens the chair to make it sturdier for us to sit on. The aunt sits first, nothing happened, my business partner sits down, nothing happened, but when I sat down I was on it for around 30 seconds and then it completely shatters. Our initial reaction is laughter and embarrassment

but my lower back really hurt badly. The aunt goes over to an employee to report the incident and he states.

Asked on January 30, 2017 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way to proceed is to sue the store and/or the chair manufacture: you would sue on several basis, such as product liability (a defective product) and negligence (the unreasonable  carelessness of letting you sit in an obviously unstable chair and/or not tighteng it properly before letting you try it out). Note that this is actually a somewhat involved lawsuit: you'd need some "chair expert" (maybe a designer or engineer) who could analyze what happened and offer an expert opinon, backed up by education and/or experience, as to why it occured; and you'd need a medical expert to testify as to your injuries--how they occured, their severity, the prognosis, etc. You'd have to pay both for their time and testimony, so you could incur several thousand dollars possibly in expert fees--and that's even before considering legal fees for your attorney. Therefore, unless you do have thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket medical bills, plus lost or diminished wages (from not being able to work as much or missing work) and some significant, long lasting (at least *many* weeks) disability or life impairment to support compensation for "pain and suffering," the case may not be economically worthwhile.


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