Rental Equipment Dangers

posted on:
May 21, 2007

author:
Staff

What is rental equipment?

The summer months usually provide homeowners with a chance to perform needed renovations and repairs around the home.

Property related emergencies will arise on occasion that cannot wait until a more convenient time to be addressed and have to be remedied immediately. More often than not, the homeowner does not own specialty equipment to perform this work.

Instead, they resort to renting what is needed from a local equipment rental store. Rightly so, the homeowner trusts and relies on the rental store to provide him with not only the right tool for the job, but also a tool that is safe for its intended operation.

Perhaps most importantly, the homeowner relies on the rental store to give him proper instruction and warnings regarding safe use of the equipment. However, we have learned that is not always the case.

Each year, individuals are injured while using rented equipment and their injuries can usually be traced back to some defect in the design or maintenance of the equipment or the lack of proper warning regarding safe use of the equipment. As a result of such unnecessarily hazardous equipment, sometimes a joyful family home can be turned into a place of unthinkable tragedy.

What are the dangers associated with rental equipment?

We recently represented the young wife of a man who was killed at his home while using a rented electric drain cleaner. When his drain line became clogged, this young man rented an electric cleaner, sometimes known as a drain snake, from his local rental store.

No doubt he trusted the store to provide him with a safe and properly equipped machine. However, when he returned home and began to use the drain cleaner he was electrocuted and killed in his own yard. When his wife, pregnant with twins, tried to rescue him she also received an electric shock.

During the course of our investigation into this case we learned several very disturbing things. Sometime during the period that it owned this electric snake, the rental store had to replace the original electrical cord for the machine; the original cord was equipped with what is known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to protect the operator against electrocution. However, the rental store replaced the original cord with one that did not have a GFCI protector. In fact, the cord that was on the machine on the fatal day was actually frayed in several places and the machine did not have any warnings on it whatsoever.

Clearly, an electrical machine that is intended to operate in a wet environment should be equipped to protect the operator from electrocution, but the rental store removed that protective device. The machine should have carried warnings to advise the operator of the extreme and deadly hazard associated with operating the machine in such a dangerous condition absent the GFCI. However, when the machine was seized at the scene by law enforcement, it had no warning stickers whatsoever.

Such cases are prime examples of the need for punitive damages to punish and deter companies from such unthinkable conduct.

What can I do if I have been injured by defective rental equipment?

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as the result of defective rental equipment, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us today!

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.
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