$805,000 Bergen County Jury Verdict for Burn Injuries from Defectively Installed Kitchen Appliances
A Bergen County jury held a Teaneck appliance retailer accountable for improperly installing a microwave oven and cooktop against the manufacturer’s safe installation rules which caused second degree burns to a Ridgewood mom. Gerald Clark, Esq. represented the mom at trial.
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The mom and her husband went to the Teaneck appliance retailer to replace their existing stove. The salesperson suggested they also purchase a space saver microwave to go above the stove (something they did not ask for). The couple told the salesperson they were reluctant that a microwave might not fit in the limited space they had. Prior to completing the purchase, the owner of the store went to their house and measured. He said it would fit fine and they went ahead with the sale.
Approximately 9 months later, mom was at home preparing a pasta dinner for her family. When she opened the microwave, it hit the top of the pot and spilled boiling water onto her lap. She suffered second-degree burns and was rushed to Hackensack Medical Center. Her two kids saw it happen.
It turns out the microwave was mounted too low and was against the manufacturer’s safe installation requirements. Had they been told the truth by the appliance dealer- that the appliance did not fit and its installation violated the manufacturer’s clearance requirements- they never would have bought it. They said their primary concern in replacing their existing stove was the safety of their children.
The dealer admitted they knew the appliances were installed below the manufacturer’s instructions but went ahead with the sale anyway. He also said the most important thing is making sales and he has installed hundreds of these appliances below the manufacturer’s requirements.
The jury ordered the dealer- which like most businesses was covered by liability insurance- to pay $750,000 for pain, suffering, disability, impairment and loss of the enjoyment of life, $16,487 for medical expenses and $38,962 for lost income.
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