Wheelchair Tip Overs

Over two million Americans rely on wheelchairs to assist them with mobility. However, sometimes being confined to a wheelchair comes with its own risks and dangers. Approximately 3.3 percent of individuals in wheelchairs suffer from wheelchair-related accidents every year. The most common type of accident relates to the transport of individuals in wheelchairs by automobile, including public transportation. Sometimes, wheelchairs are either manufactured or designed improperly and can be inherently unsafe. If you have been injured in a wheelchair tip over accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Common Injuries Caused by Wheelchair Tip Overs

When a wheelchair tips over, it can cause several different injuries depending on the state of the occupant and the nature of the fall. Some of the common injuries include:

  • Aggravation of a previously existing condition
  • Brain injury
  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Fractures
  • Exacerbation of spinal condition
  • Lacerations (cuts)

Children are involved in a large proportion of wheelchair tip over accidents. This is because they do not have the judgment that older individuals may have and the experience navigating obstacles, such as stairs, ramps, or curbs. However, when an elderly person is injured in a wheelchair tip over accident, they are more likely to suffer a serious injury and may have more trouble healing and recovering than a younger person.

Causes of Wheelchair Tip Over Accidents

Improper Design/Manufacturing

Sometimes, a wheelchair has been designed incorrectly, or manufactured improperly. A common example of this is when a wheelchair is fitted with a seat that is not deep enough. This, or other structural defects, can cause a balancing defect in the wheelchair.

Improper Placement in Vehicles

Another cause of wheelchair tip overs happens when they are improperly secured in a moving vehicle. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that all public transit companies must serve disabled passengers. In some cases, the ADA specifically prescribes how disabled passengers are to be transported and requires a three-point securement system at every wheelchair base location in the vehicle.

In addition to the legal requirement that the wheelchair itself be secured in public transport, occupants should be secured within their wheelchair when riding in a moving vehicle. In New Jersey, it is mandatory that passengers in school buses of all sizes be secured in their chairs. Although there is no law requiring passenger securement in public transport vehicles, there is a well-defined industry standard; the use of a three-point securement system. Most transit buses are now equipped with commercial tie-down systems intended to secure wheelchairs and three-wheel scooters to the floor. However, these systems do not always work as intended, and sometimes occupants of public transport vehicles or school buses will tip over during a turn or routine stop.

Even when these systems work as intended, sometimes the bus driver fails to properly secure the wheelchair or scooter to the floor. This commonly happens when a bus is running behind schedule and the driver tries to cut corners with safety measures. Moreover, the wheelchair itself can fail and the bendable plastic frame could snap during transport if it is defective.

Passaic Wheelchair Tip Over Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Victims of Wheelchair Accidents

If you have been involved in a wheelchair accident, the seasoned team of Passaic wheelchair tip over lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you obtain the answers you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 732-249-4600 or contact us online. With offices located in Highland Park, we represent victims of wheelchair tip over accidents throughout Central New Jersey, including the communities of Highland Park, Somerset, New Brunswick, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia, New Jersey.