Many people in California rely on wheelchairs to navigate throughout their day. Unfortunately, sometimes the negligence of others can cause an accident, which can cause new injuries and aggravate any existing ones.
Generally, a wheelchair accident case proceeds along the same basic lines as other types of personal injury cases and plaintiffs recover the same types of damages. The plaintiff must show the defendant's negligence caused the accident, which resulted in the plaintiff's injuries.
Some wheelchair accidents occur due to defects on certain premises. Some of these defects may stem from ADA violations; many types of public venues must provide wheelchair accessibility. Failure to do so can consist of lack of ramps, uneven flooring or narrow doorways.
In some cases, the ADA may not apply. However, even in the absence of an ADA violation, some failures to keep premises in a reasonably safe condition can constitute negligence. The general standard is that the person or entity controlling the premises must take reasonable steps to guard against foreseeable injuries to people who are invited there.
Wheelchair accidents can also happen because of a defective chair. In such a case, a products liability suit may be appropriate. The major types of products liability cases consist of defective manufacturing, defective design and lack of appropriate warnings and instructions. In this kind of case, the plaintiff does not have to show a specific lack of negligence; that is, he or she does not have to explain exactly how the defect came to be, merely that it was present.
One issue injured wheelchair uses may face in such a case is that, at the time of the accident, they already suffered from an injury or a health condition. The medical records will have to be clear as to the exact ways the new injury affected the plaintiff. The plaintiff can also recover damages for the aggravation of the previous condition so long as the new injury demonstrably caused it.