Laundromats, or self service laundries, are places where customers can bring their dirty clothes and wash and dry them in machines provided for a fee.
The owner or operator of a laundromat is liable for injuries to people that were caused by the owner’s negligence. The owner has a duty to keep the laundromat reasonably safe and warn people of known dangers. To be liable, the owner must be negligent in some way. For example, if the owner fails to inspect and maintain a washing machine with a history of problems, he is liable for injuries caused by the machine.
Some places regulate laundromats to ensure that the premises are clean, well-lit, and ventilated. Some places also require that an attendant be present. Whether or not a laundromat complies with the regulations in your area will have an affect on its liability. If you can show the laundromat failed to meet a regulation, it could help your case.
Common injuries include:
- Slip and fall accidents from wet floors or dangerous conditions on the premises.
- Electrical shock from loose machine wires.
- Getting hands or fingers caught in defective machines.
By opening the laundromat for business, the owner is representing that his machines are fit, suitable, and safe for washing. If the machines do not work correctly or are improper for their purpose, the owner has a responsibility to make that known or correct the problem. If he does not, he may be liable to damage to your clothing or other personal belongings.
The negligence of the owner must cause the injury and not some other unforeseen event. Also, the owner is only responsible for unreasonable risks. That means that the owner does not have to fix every possible dangerous condition. A dangerous condition in the laundromat does not make the owner automatically liable. If the condition is so obvious that everyone should know to avoid it, then there is no liability. Also, if the defect did not exist long enough for the owner to possibly discover it, there is no liability. Contributory negligence and assumption of risk may also limit recovery.
If you have been hurt or injured during a visit to a laundromat and want to assess the viability of your claim, the advice of a personal injury lawyer can be extremely helpful. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate your injury and recover damages.