Laundromats and Personal Injuries: What You Need to Know

Law Articles

While many Americans own and use a washing machine at home, some people must use communal washing facilities and laundromats. Coin-operated laundries give patrons access to washing machines and dryers, but the owners and operators of these establishments must make sure their customers are safe. Learn more about your rights if you or someone you love suffers an injury in a laundry and find out what you may need to do to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Hazards in laundries

There are more than 35,000 laundries in the United States, and thousands of Americans use these facilities every day. While the principle of washing your clothes probably seems simple and safe, these facilities can still present hazards to people using the machines.

Hazards that can cause injuries include

  • slick, wet floors that can pose a slip-and-fall hazard.
  • dryer fires that start when lint builds up in the machine.
  • cleaning and maintenance equipment.

The circumstances that relate to each accident can vary considerably, so a court will consider each case on its merits. However, if you suffer an injury in a laundry for a reason outside your control, you should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Types of personal injury lawsuits

The owner or operator of a laundromat is responsible for the safety of patrons, but when something goes wrong, there are normally two types of personal injury lawsuits.

A negligence lawsuit can occur when a laundromat owner or one of his or her employees does something that causes your injury. Owners and their employees must meet their duty of care, so if their actions directly cause your injury, you can often claim damages for negligence. In a laundry, examples of negligence can include ineffective maintenance or failure to adhere to agreed-upon working practices. For example, staff members need to keep the floor clean, but if they leave cleaning equipment lying around, they may cause an injury.

A defective product liability lawsuit can arise when the machinery in the laundry does not work as it should. For example, if the door mechanism is faulty, you could trap your fingers or hand. 

Public laundries have to adhere to any state safety regulations. For example, some states insist that laundries have appropriate ventilation and lighting. If your accident occurs because the owner has not met these requirements, you can often file a lawsuit for negligence or product liability if faulty equipment causes the breach in regulations.

Proving negligence or product liability

Unsurprisingly, it isn't always easy to win a personal injury lawsuit in these cases. The defendant (the owner or operator) will not usually want to accept liability, so you will need an experienced attorney's help to win your case.

Commonly, the defendant's attorney will allege that it was you (the plaintiff) who caused the injury. For example, the defendant's attorney may allege that you

  • failed to follow the instructions provided.
  • acted in a way that put you at risk.
  • ignored an obvious hazard.

To prove negligence or defective product liability, you will need to show that you acted appropriately and that you did nothing to cause the accident. To do this, it's useful to collect evidence in the event of an accident. For example, a photo of a wet, slippery floor with no warning sign can help you show the court that the accident was not your fault.

Of course, your lawyer will also look for other evidence of liability. The owner must show that he or she follows a regular maintenance routine, and if there are no valid records, he or she will struggle to defend a negligence claim. Similarly, evidence from other customers can also support your case, especially if they have also suffered an injury.

Thousands of American people safely use laundries every year, but accidents can sometimes occur. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney for more information or advice.


13 May 2016

Car Accident Clues

It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.