Premises Liability: October 2009 Archives

October 12, 2009

Target Settles Automatic Door Injury Lawsuit for $7 Million

Target Corp., the owners of Target locations nationwide, recently settled an automatic door personal injury lawsuit filed against them by an 80-year-old customer.  According to reports, the customer claimed that Target had failed to inspect and maintain a set of automatic doors that malfunctioned and injured her.  The customer was injured after the automatic door struck her and knocked her to the ground causing her to hit her head.  She was then struck in the head again by the door when it continued to open and close while she was on the ground.  The customer also claimed that Target did not follow the safety guidelines set out by the automatic doors' manufacturer, Besam USA, who was also named in the lawsuit.  The injured party also claimed that the doors did not have a proper fail-safe system which would alarm to obstructions.

The elderly customer suffered brain injuries that prevented her from taking care of her eldest daughter with special needs.  The injured customer also claimed that she had to enter a nursing home to obtain the proper daily care after her injuries.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the second leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States among people 65 years of age or older in 2007 was being unintentionally struck by or crushed by a human, animal, or inanimate object other than a vehicle or machinery.

Of course, the technology behind these doors that open and close based on sensors or the push of a button is quite helpful in everyday life.  Automatic doors provide access to people carrying objects into and out of buildings, large crowds, physically challenged individuals, and have numerous other useful applications.  However, when these doors are not maintained properly or designed defectively, they can be extremely dangerous and cause serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and severed fingers or limbs.  Automatic door injuries are often caused by defective or poorly maintained systems closing with excessive force or closing unexpectedly.

Traumatic brain injuries are more prevalent than one might imagine.  According to the CDC, approximately 1.4 million people in United States suffer traumatic brain injuries each year.   Of those, approximately 50,000 die from their injuries, 235,000 are hospitalized, and 1.1 million are treated and released from the emergency department.  Injuries to the brain can be difficult to self-diagnose as the signs and symptoms may be subtle and not appear until days or weeks after the injury.  People that have suffered a traumatic brain injury may appear fine, but changes in their behavior or health may signify injury.

Some signs of traumatic brain injury include:

  • headache or neck pain that does not subside
  • difficulty remembering, concentrating or making decision
  • slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
  • see more signs and symptoms at CDC.gov

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