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No Security Sensor on Apartment Gate, City Transit Driver Drops Disable Person Off at a Non Designated Area

Memphis, TN |

My grandson is transported to and from adult day care by MATA Plus, a transportation service for the disabled. Today the driver dropped my grandson off outside the apartment, near the exit gate instead of at my apartment door. We were walking through the gate when it began to close. it knocked my grandson down and my grandson took me down. It kept closing on us. Three boys were near and ran to help us. I guess the sensor sensing more bodies is what caused it to start opening. My grandson appeared shaken and only a little bruised. I was shaken, no bruises, but I will be in lots of pain soon from holding back a 1000 lb gate with my body. Who is to blame? Me for walking through the car's exit, the driver for using an unsafe stop, or the apartment for a possible ill working gate?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Under Tennessee law, injuries resulting from a dangerous condition on property involve questions of reasonable care by 1) the property owner/operator, and 2) the person using the property. The law does not require property owners to prevent all injuries - only to take "reasonable" care to guard against risks of harm. The greater the knowledge of a risk, and the greater the harm, the more a property owner is held to do something about the situation. There is an equal duty on the person using the property to act reasonably - seen from the perspective of the community as a whole, not just your particular normal habits. Issues about whether the gate should have a sensor are part of the balancing of what is reasonable under the circumstances. So long as a property owner has taken some reasonable measures to take care of their property, the law is not going to require a specific measure be taken to avoid a specific harm.

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Posted

This sounds like an old state bar question. Seriously, assuming you and / or grandson suffered injuries, I think you both should get medical attention. With respect to liability, I think the gate probably malfunctioned and you may have claim against the apartment complex. There might be some comparative negligence for walking through the area designed for vehicle and not pedestrian but if it is commonly used by pedestrian, then that would shift more blame to the complex, in my opinion. With respect to the transport people difficult to say because if they left you in a place of safety then they may have fulfilled there duties. Were you unable to walk to your apartment without using the driveway? or was it more convenient? If the MATA is government agency or service, then government claims would need to be filed.

You really need to contact counsel in your state to review your situation.

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Asker

Posted

Attorney Katz you said: but if it is commonly used by pedestrian, then that would shift more blame to the complex, in my opinion. I see pedestrians using the car exit all the time. In fact, as my grandson and I lay on the ground a guy in a wheelchair approached the gate to exit. There is a pedestrian gate immediately beside the car exit, but it opens towards you. I’m wondering now if the guy in the wheelchair always uses the car exit or the pedestrian exit since the pedestrian’s gate would open toward the wheelchair and probably making it difficult if not impossible to pass though. (I don’t know either for sure.) I see children going through the car exit all the time. It’s almost second nature to pass through it if it so happens to be opened when you approach the exit. There is no warning sign prohibiting pedestrians from using car-exit and I looked the other night; I did not see an emergency release button either. With respect to the transport people, I was able to walk to my apartment without using the car exit. It was opened because a car had just passed through and who would have thought that it did not have sensors on it, again I think it does because the gate reversed when the guys came to help me. MATA is a city ran bus service. I pay $7.50 a day to have my grandson picked up and dropped off at my apartment door. I think they should be legally bound to do just that. In fact, the driver said to me when I asked him why he did not come to my door, “They sent this long bus. It’s too difficult to drive this bus through there.”

Richard Marc Katz

Richard Marc Katz

Posted

You should make an appoinment with a local attorney to discuss your potential matter, the sooner the better. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. I wish you the best of luck

Posted

I'm glad that nobody was injured. Let the gate owners know of the sensor issues.

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Asker

Posted

I did. I told management. She offered no compassion, just reprimanded me for walking through the exit. And told me that their gates do not sensor people, only cars. But if that is true then what about: The UL 325 standard, which UL adopted in March 2000, that requires an internal sensing device that will reverse the gate if it encounters an obstruction when opening or closing; and a secondary external sensing mechanism, such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will reverse the gate if an obstruction is detected (Turley, 2009)? (http://articles.submityourarticle.com/automatic-sliding-gates-defective-and-dangerous-71518

Posted

Everyone you mentioned could potentially be liable. None of that will really matter much unless you or your grandson suffered some significant injury. If there were no injuries then such a claim would have little value and you will have a hard time finding a lawyer willing to pursue such a claim.

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

There are injuries. My grandson does not express pain. He has no visible cuts or bruises. The paramedics checked him, said he was in satisfactory condition, and told me to get medical treatment ASAP; which I will do as soon as I can get an appointment. I, on the other hand, am a 61 year old woman who went up against a 1000 lb moving gate. Everything from my hip bones up, hurts. I feel lots of pain; pain which has been near and at 10, especially last night in bed. I was able today to get pain medicine and a muscle relaxer prescribed. I was also mentally injured. I am tortured by a thought that ran through my mind when the gate was closing in on us; the thought: will I abandon Aaron and watch him be crushed to death alone. No one could have ever told me that such a thought would have ever entered my mind. I am beyond ashamed, bewildered and tormented that I thought that thought. I love my grandson more than life, especially my own. I let out gut wrenching screams. God had a ram in the bush. Three young men ran to our rescue; the gate began its reverse; and the guys helped Aaron and me up. I was in too much shock to thank them properly. I can’t wait until I see them again to shower them with sincere heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

Certain this was a horrific experience. Again, to make a claim you will need to have some documented injury. I suggest you both get the care you need including a psychological examination.

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