Stairlifts are useful machines that can enable an elderly or otherwise immobilized person to maintain their independence and go from the top to bottom floors of their homes. However, stairlifts have been the subject of terrible accidents in the past. Given that the people who normally rely on stairlifts are, in general, frailer than others, these incidents can result in grisly injuries and even death. If you or a loved one were injured due to a malfunctioning stairlift, contact the Cambridge personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP today.
Stairlifts are manufactured by numerous companies in the United States and abroad, but most seek to deliver one goal – to help those unable to climb or descend stairs be able to access all floors of their home again. However, this prospect is not cheap nor is it covered through most health insurance, including Medicare. Stairlifts can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on the type of stairlift and the design of the house it is being installed in.
Once installed, a stairlift will enable the user to sit in the seat and activate the lift by pressing a button. The lift should deliver the individual safely – safety belts are often included – at a slow pace towards the top or bottom of the stairs.
Unfortunately, as with any manufactured product or good, there is the potential for these devices to fail or not deliver on their promised intentions. Stairlifts have caused grave injuries, even blamed for deaths in some cases, when they suffered mechanical failures during use. In one instance, an elderly woman was paralyzed after the chair malfunctioned and flung her from the seat down the stairs.
Elderly individuals and those with mobility issues are at heightened risk of serious injury from such serious falls and accidents, so those designing these devices have a huge burden of responsibility to ensure that they are producing them safely and to the highest standards of quality.How Else Might a Stairlift Accident Occur?
A mechanical failure may not physically throw the user from the seat, as was explained above, however in various reviews of the Acorn brand stairlift, numerous users of the lift have complained that the lift has stopped working mid-use, stranding the individual in the middle of their staircase with nowhere to go and no one to call for help.
This situation could go from inconvenient to tragic very quickly, especially if the person is unable to call for help for a long period of time and has other medical issues – like a chronic disease requiring medication – that needed attention. If the individual tried to climb from the seat and wound up falling down the stairs, the stairlift company could potentially be liable due to the product’s failure resulting in a serious injury.
Stairlifts may also cause harm in other ways. Children have been injured by stairlifts before, where they have had feet or hands be run over by the lift as it travels along the track. Children could also potentially be crushed underneath the machine if they were immobilized or otherwise unable to move out of the way, a possibility which has led some to suggest automatic failsafe measures through motion detection to ensure such an accident couldn’t occur.Call Us Today to File a Claim
As with any injury, you will only know for sure if you have a viable claim for financial compensation if you consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have been helping our clients for over 50 years in Boston, Cambridge and all throughout Massachusetts get the money they need to pay their medical expenses, pay for rehabilitation or simply recoup money that was lost from being unable to work.
An injury from a stairlift can be devastating, so it is important to have competent and experienced experts on your side. Contact us online or call for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.