If we have problem with our laundry room that has caused us serious injury, can we go against the builder and make him correct the problem?

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If we have problem with our laundry room that has caused us serious injury, can we go against the builder and make him correct the problem?

Last year my daughter fall as she was backing out and she hit her head. She had a brain injury and now she has a cyst in her brain and another dark spot in the PONS (just under the cerebellum) as the result of the fall according to her neurologist. Then, 2 months ago, my husband fell the same way. He still feels the pain and he knows something is wrong on the back of his head. We bought the house 4 yrs. ago and ever since it’s a nightmare for us to go in there. I’m afraid one of us will be seriously injured in that room.

Asked on April 23, 2014 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

First, you could only potentially take legal action against the builder if the laundry room is in some way unreasonably dangerous--e.g. designed or built in a way that inherently poses an unreasonable threat. If that's not the case and the injuy is something which was not inherently caused by the design or how it was built, they would not be liable. For example, say the ceiling is low, or that the door jamb is somewhat high--that is not uncommon for a laundry room, and further, is a visible feature which users should be able to navigate (e.g. duck head; raise foot; etc.). In that case, they would likely not be liable. You write that your daughter fell as she was "backing out"--in that case, there is a good chance the injury was not due to the laundry room design or how it was built, since she fell as she was "backing out"--moving without looking where she was going.

Second, even if the is some fault on the builder's part, if too many years have passed since the home was built, they would not be liable or responsible, since the statute of limitations (or time period within which you may sue) may have expired.

Third, if you did not buy new from the builders but rather bought from a previous owner, it is unlikely that you could sue them, because they would not have a duty or obligation to you.

You should consult with a personal injury attorney, or better yet, one who specializes in defective construction suits, to evaluate the situation and see if you have a case; but be prepared to hear that you may not.


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