Garage. Friday , October 20th , 2017 - 18:59:11 PM
I have been involved in numerous garage door lawsuits where many different reasons for an injury have occurred. Having been retained as expert witness for both plaintiff and defense, several common factors have been observed. In many cases, unqualified individuals have attempted to repair or install garage doors. They have lacked the knowledge, skills or even the basic required tools to perform the work safely and properly. I have been hired as an expert by garage door manufacturers and installers to defend claims that they are not responsible for alleged product defects. In most cases, the components that failed, failed as a result of abuse or improper installation on the part of the end user. As stated above, the installation of many garage doors is not appropriate for an untrained person. An exception to this relates to "do it yourself" garage door kits that are sold at local home centers. A homeowner could install the door because these kits do not come with a professional quality package of hardware that should or would require special knowledge for the installation. These kits do not typically employ torsion springs that would require special knowledge, proper tools, and working skills to install. The doors are typically for light duty use. Professional installation services are often available through a home center to assist a homeowner in need of a specialized installation. As with most trade specific tasks, years of experience working as a professional installer qualifies tradesmen for their contracting license. The average homeowner watching a few television shows that give rough explanations of how to install garage doors is not usually qualified to install his or her own door. These "how to" television shows are no substitute for the many skills acquired after working in the field.
In response to the inherently dangerous old style garage spring issues as above, a newer and safer system for opening the overhead garage door was created. The idea was to transfer the load or weight of the door via a cable and pulley system to a vertical rod now equipped with a torsion (twisted) spring. This type of spring is installed with specialty hardware and bolts to a fixed plate at one end, while the entire spring is installed around a horizontal pipe. This load balancing device is normally installed directly over the header of the garage opening. Using appropriate cables, connectors and pulleys, the weight of the garage door is transferred into the torsion spring system. The difference between the old style stretched spring and the newer torsion spring is the way that the spring energy is stored. With the old style stretched spring, the energy is stored and released by pulling on the spring or returning the spring to its un-stretched condition. With a torsion type of spring, the energy is imparted or removed by rotating the spring clockwise or counter clockwise depending upon the direction of usage. With professional installation, the complete loading of the torsion spring is controlled by the garage installer, and is determined by the weight and size of the garage door that it is operating. When this type of torsion spring fails, it remains attached and intact to the location on the horizontal control rod where it was mounted. I have not heard of or seen any torsion spring fly across a garage, creating injury from failed components as with the stretched older style garage door springs. This is not to say that injuries have not occurred with the torsion style spring. The installation of this type of spring is generally safe when left to a trained garage door installation professional. Severe and serious injuries have occurred when untrained, unqualified individuals have attempted to install or service this type of spring. In most installations, a warning tag is left attached adjacent to the torsion spring when the garage door is installed. This tag warns of the danger associated with the stored energy of this spring, and alerts untrained individuals to not attempt any repair, adjustment or to even touch the spring and associated hardware. When the label that should be attached to this spring becomes damaged, is removed or tampered with, it is important that a new warning label be reattached immediately to show the dangers of this spring tension
Security is key: With expensive tools, garden and sports equipment stored in the garage, it’s essential that they can be secured. Leaving them scattered around the garage can create a dangerous environment and is an invitation to the light-fingered! There are a number of locking garage cabinets and cupboards on the market that will help to solve this issue.