Safety Doors In Schools and Many Other Institutions May Provide A Hazard For Catastrophic Injury and Permanent Scarring If They Only Contain Plate Glass and Not Safety Glass
I recently resolved a case for a confidentially significant amount of money for a young woman who sustained permanent injuries and severe scarring when she was struck by a heavy self closing corridor door in her school hallway. The young lady was walking with friends through the school hallway and a heavy glass paned corridor door closed quickly on her. She put up her hand to protect herself whereupon her hand broke through one of the “safety door" glass panes.
The experienced Pennsylvania premise liability and product defect lawyers of Reiff and Bily hired an engineer and architect to examine and analyze the circumstances of the glass failure and the results of the inspection and analysis were more concerning and alarming then one would believe. Each one of the “safety" doors had 15 rectangular glass panes with exposed areas of panes approximately 8" x 14". I remember being in school when doorway and window glass panes were a wired glass and hexagonal chicken wire pattern yet these doors were just clear unlaminated plate glass. Not only that, the doors were old, heavy doors with failing hydraulic closers mounted at the top that were leaking oil or fluid creating excessive force. Architecturally, there is a difference between safety glass and fire rated glass. Safety glass is intended to reduce the likelihood of severe cuts to people as well as resist breaking in the first place. Wired glass is not safety glass but many times individuals operate under the common misconception that it is. When the school doors were analyzed, they failed a closing speed and closing force test in that they closed in approximately two seconds versus the suggested five second minimum. Obviously, anyone attempting to prevent the door from closing on them would naturally put their hand in the air and the combination of the force of the door closing and the lack of safety glass presented a hazardous and grave danger of high magnitude to innocent and unknowing students. Of course, it is reasonably foreseeable for a student to instinctively put her hand up to block a door closing. Many times, doors have push plates which are fastened to doors for the purpose of providing a spot for pedestrians to place their hands to push a door open. In crowded conditions the chance of missing the plate inadvertently is great and not all students, especially younger ones, understand to use the plate.
Our case was successfully settled against the building owner and school who was determined to be responsible for safety and maintenance and should have noticed non-safety glass used on these doors and should have foreseen that a grave accident such as that caused to our young client. Our skilled premise liability and glass accident lawyers were able to prove violations of applicable property maintenance codes including those of BOCA, ICC, and City codes. The hazardous conditions were easily correctable at a minimal cost. Failure to take action fell below the duty of care owed by institutional facilities such as the school to students attending the school and their parents. Our skilled school accident lawyers were able to prove that the hazards and engineering and architectural failures created a grave danger to students resulting in a substantial confidential resolution prior to trial. For more information, please contact us toll free at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.