Monday, February 27, 2017

Is Your Garage Door a Lawsuit Waiting to Happen?

A potential safety liability on many home owners' radar is the backyard swimming pool. Swimming pools have been the scene of many serious injuries and fatalities. The victims are often unsupervised children, or children who wandered onto the property and made their way to an un-gated pool. However, there is one overlooked item that is equally dangerous to children and adults alike: the garage door.

Unlike the backyard swimming pool, people often underestimate the danger of their garage door. This is likely because it's used so frequently that complacency sets in, and its danger becomes hidden in plain sight.

What makes a garage door dangerous? It's a three or four hundred pound object that moves up and down a vertical height of over 7 feet several times a day. If it's well maintained and frequently inspected, then it's reasonably safe. However, that can change with owner neglect. Safeties that prevent the door from closing on someone can stop functioning. A door with a broken spring can drop down its track, and a door that hangs unevenly may pop out of its track and land flat on the garage floor.

In addition to being concerned about the safety of yourself and your family, you must also think about the welfare of invited guests to your home. If they are injured by your garage door because of a known problem that wasn't fixed, and you didn't warn them of the danger, they would have a good liability case against you in court. Even friends sue friends if the injuries suffered are sufficiently debilitating or the injury happened to their child. Three or four hundred pounds of garage door can cause serious harm.

Although giving guests sufficient warning gets you off the liability hook, it does nothing for your family's safety if they continue to use the door. If you have a problem garage door in a house that you rent out to others, you're required to keep it in good working order. Otherwise, it's also an injury and lawsuit waiting to happen. We suggest you have your garage door regularly inspected and maintained by Overhead Door Co. of Lansing.

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