A few years ago, YouClaim helped a retiree make a product liability claim for a piece of defective furniture. The 66-year-old man from Barnet, Greater London, was sitting at his newly installed home bar, enjoying a pint of homebrew, and his stool collapsed.
He'd only had the stool for a few weeks, had paid more than £200 for its trademark design, and never imagined that it would cause him personal injury and give him grounds to make a claim.
The impact of the fall left the 66-year-old former surveyor with a fractured coccyx and severe bruising, for which he needed chiropractic treatment. This treatment, however, was not enough to cure the lasting pain and discomfort of his injury. Eventually, nine months later, a leading acupuncturist helped him fully recover from the injury.
Fortunately, for the safety of the public at large, the stool was not in mass production but instead was only a limited edition design made by a small but prosperous designer.
Three days after the accident, the retiree decided to contact the manufacturer of the stool to let them know of both the defect and his injury.
Although the manufacturer at first expressed grudging sympathy for the man's injury, when the question of compensation arose, they became defensive and suggested the man's weight was to blame for the stool. It was then the injured man decided to contact us to make a claim.
The personal injury solicitor we appointed him made some careful investigation of the facts surrounding the accident. With the assistance of an independent design expert he discovered that the limited edition stool had an inherent flaw which made it unable to safely support more than 15 stone in weight.
In the words of the independent expert, "The manufacturer of this stool had sacrificed practical and safety aspects of design in the name of aesthetics. While it might look great in a showroom, in the home this stool is just an accident waiting to happen."
In short, the manufacturer was found to have breached obligations owed to all consumers as outlined in the Consumer Protection Act of 1987.
In the face of overwhelming evidence, the manufacturer's insurers decided against enduring lengthy and costly litigation, so admitted liability and paid the former surveyor the sum of £5,200 in compensation.
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