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Who Can Be Held Accountable For Your Wheelchair Accident And Injuries?

When you think about a wheelchair, you simply think about the fact that they provide enhanced mobility and freedom to those who are disabled or physically injured. What you probably don't think about is the fact that tragic wheelchair-related accidents occur. In fact, according to one study, more than three out of every 1000 individuals in a wheelchair will be in a serious accident. Sadly, it can be hard to decipher who exactly is at-fault for the accident, but it can be done. Read on to learn more.

Wheelchair Accidents with Another Vehicle

When a person in a wheelchair is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, it will typically be treated as a standard car accident. To determine fault, it will need to be determined if the person driving the car or operating the wheelchair broke the law in some way, such as by driving under the influence, failing to yield the right-of-way, etc.

Ultimately, it must be shown that one person acted recklessly or negligently to determine that person's legal liability in an accident. If this can be done, a victim may be able to seek and obtain monetary damages via a personal injury lawsuit, apart from any criminal charges that may be brought against the responsible party by authorities.

Wheelchair Accidents Due to Malfunctions

In some cases, an accident with another vehicle could occur as a result of a wheelchair defect. Wheelchair malfunctions can also be the primary cause of almost any accident that takes place in a wheelchair, such as a fall. If there is a defect in the way the wheelchair was designed, manufactured or distributed, the manufacturer may be able to be held accountable under product liability law.  

Under this law, manufacturers are required to ensure that they are designing and producing safe products before these products are put on the market for consumer purchasing. If they fail to perform adequate testing or allow a product that they know to be unsafe reach the market, they can be held liable if a person is injured. There are three basic types of product liability:

  • Design Defects – This means that the design of the product is flawed in such a way that it creates a dangerous situation.
  • Manufacturing Defects – This means that the product was not manufactured properly and deviated from the intended design.
  • Warning/Marketing Defects – This means that the product lacks the adequate warnings or instructions of use, which makes the product unreasonably dangerous, or was marketed in a flawed way.

If you have been injured in any form of wheelchair-related accident, you will want to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to find out if you have a case and who can be held liable in your particular situation.