Automatic Door Injuries And Who Is Liable

Automatic Door Injuries And Who Is Liable

Automatic doors are almost everywhere today. Airports, shopping malls, office buildings, and grocery stores all use automatic doors because of the convenience they offer to customers and visitors. These doors operate every day, and often develop problems which cause them to malfunction. When an automatic door malfunctions and causes injuries, the business owner or property owner may be liable.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS FROM A DOOR SERVICE PROVIDER & DOOR EXPERT WITNESS

There can be severe injuries or cases of death as a result of a malfunctioning door system. It is important to protect your organization in the rare and unlikely event of a personal injury or wrongful death caused by an automatic door.

In older automatic door installations, a failed sensor floor mat often caused injuries. These older technology mats, and, in some cases, original system components were generally installed in grocery stores. They were most frequently associated with automatic swinging doors and were considered a great convenience to shoppers that no longer had to hold open the store doorways as they pushed their shopping cart in or out of the store.

Some old door standards refer to control mat usage in sliding door installations. In actual practice, multiple scanning sensors were typically installed in place of the pressure activated floor mats in those systems. Pressure-sensitive control mats would ultimately deteriorate due to heavy shopping carts constantly running over them. Weather-related issues such as exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, or effects from freezing rain, snow, and ice, would cause the mats to become brittle, have contact problems and fall apart. Pedestrians using these doorways would become confused as the mats failed to signal the door operator. The doors would either fail to open, fail to remain open, or react erratically when stepped upon.

Modern technology that uses scanning sensors has increased the zone coverage and made it much safer for pedestrians. Some new automatic doorways have integrated safety features that will deactivate the door operator. This feature can prevent injuries if the new sensors malfunction or are improperly positioned.

The majority of doorways that are currently in use must be inspected daily to ensure the safe operation of the sensors and motor controls before the start of each business day.

Improper or lack of inspection or maintenance can result in injuries. Many businesses may delay inspection and a malfunctioning door could cause severe injury to an unsuspecting visitor. Cutting corners or trying to save money may be appealing in the short run, but will most likely cause more problems in the long run.

What Are Automatic Door Injuries
One of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits are door injuries which were caused by a malfunctioning automatic. These can be from electric sliding doors grocery stores, revolving doors at hotels or garage doors in parking lots.

Is a Business Owner Liable for Injuries Caused by Automatic Doors
Liability to business owners for malfunctioning automatic doors is usually based on negligence and assumes liability. For example, a person injured by an automatic door was able to recover compensation from the business owner for negligence when the automatic door closed unexpectedly due to a defective mechanism. In another case, a visitor at a hospital was injured when an automatic door struck her while closing. The visitor was able to recover when she showed numerous reports of other incidents where the automatic doors had struck people.

Injuries can also occur when automatic doors open too quickly or the customer may not see the clear glass door and walk right into it. An airport passenger who was injured when he came into contact with a glass automatic door that did not open was able to recover from his injuries, even though the doors had been inspected before and after the accident and were found to be working properly.

Is a Property Owner Liable for Injuries Caused by Automatic Doors
A building owner is liable for neglecting the maintenance of an automatic door if it causes an injury to a person passing through the door. However, the liability of landowners or possessors varies depending on the classification of the victim and the victim’s status while on the property. Generally, visitors fall into these categories:

Invitee:
An invitee is a person who has come on to the landowner’s premises as a paying customer or for the benefit of the landowner. Invitees are owed the highest standard of care. The landowner must take all reasonable steps to make premises safe by warning the invitees of all dangerous conditions on the property. These include conditions that are known or unknown to the landowner that could have been revealed through an inspection.

Licensee:
A licensee is an individual who enters the premises for non-business or commercial purposes and benefits themselves. This includes a social guest or friend. The landowner must repair or warn of all dangerous conditions on the premises that are not obvious and apparent to the licensee but known to the landowner. There is no duty to inspect.

The most common types of victims are invitees who enter commercial or business premises and become injured by a malfunctioning automatic door. Invitees don't always if an automatic door is defective or will malfunctioning. However, it is the landowner's responsibility to schedule an inspection and inform the invitees. The landowner owes a safety duty to invitees and would be liable if the invitee was hurt from a malfunctioning door.

Should I Consult an Attorney If I Have Been Injured by an Automatic Door
If you have been injured by an automatic door, a personal injury attorney can help. Proving your case can be difficult, but an attorney can explain the law and help protect your rights so that you can collect damages for your injuries.

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