Garage doors can be operated manually (by hand), as well as automatically (by power assisted motor). In both cases, the proper operation of the garage door is determined by the proper balancing of the garage door weight, springs and related component hardware. An automatic power assisted motor cannot overcome an improperly balanced garage door. The weight of all garage doors is normally deceptive. Due to the fact that a properly functioning door appears easy to open and close, many users do not realize the combined overall weight until springs fail to assist the door in its operation. In all cases, regardless of the type of garage door, the entire system of hinges, track, hardware, and door opener work as a team. Problems with misalignment, shifting, or jamming can lead to problematic operation of a door. Counter forces imparted to a garage door, not engineered into the components, can lead to injury. Inappropriate maintenance or complete lack of maintenance has lead to severe bodily injuries. Forcing the operation of a garage door, when one or more components have become damaged or broken has lead to serious bodily injuries. In all cases, maintenance is a crucial and important aspect of proper operation of all door systems.
Chamberlains Power Drive® and Whisper Drive® belong to the residential garage door opener category in the do-it-yourself range. The Elite(TM) range contains premier residential and commercial gate operators and access control systems. The Sentex® range is for secure residential and commercial garages. Sears Holdings Corporation, parent of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Co., is the third largest broad line retailer in the US. Sears Holdings is a leading supplier of tools, lawn and garden, home electronics, and automotive repair and maintenance. It supplies the Craftsman range of garage door openers.
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.
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