Our client was a college student attending a wedding and was staying at a Marriott hotel in Northern Virginia. He was replacing the glass carafe into a coffee maker when the glass carafe shattered in his left hand, causing a deep wound to his hand between the thumb and first finger. The plaintiff notified the hotel of the injury and went to the emergency room of a local hospital for treatment. The wound was located at the metacarpal phalangeal joint and caused a digital nerve injury, as well as a flexor tendon injury. Upon returning home in another state in New England, our client underwent hand surgery by an orthopedic surgeon to repair the digital nerve and repair te flexor digitorum longus tendon.
Following surgery, the plaintiff received physical therapy to restore function of the hand. However, the orthopedic surgeon has indicated that the plaintiff would have some stiffness and decreased strength of the hand, as well as some slight decrease in sensibility of the nerve, which would be a permanent injury. The manwho was on the verge of graduating college at the time of the injury and who later obtained a teaching position, incurred $11,000 in medical bills and approximately $3,000 in lost wages.
Our legal strategy was to pursue claims against the hotel for providing a glass coffee carafe with a known propensity to shatter and to identify and pursue a claim against the manufacturer and/or distributor for product liability on the same grounds. We conducted research and found that many of the coffee maker companies are offering metal coffee carafse or shatterproof plastic-ceramic carafes. Either of these changes will prevent the type of permanent hand injury that that happens when a glass carafe shatters while being manipulated by a user.
After making settlement demand recommendations on both the manufacturer and hotel the case was settled for $70,000 dollars, with $45,000 being paid by the manufacturer and $25,000 being paid on behalf of the Marriott franchise owner.
Richard N Shapiro, Attorney
Jackie T. Hunsburger, Paralegal
Meg G. Cudden, Legal Assistant