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Exploding Toilet in GSA Building Injures DC Woman

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 28, 2011 6:48 AM

Toilet injuries: they exist, and not just in cartoons. A woman was injured by an exploding toilet at a federal building in Washington D.C. on Monday.

The explosion occurred at the General Services Administration (GSA) building on 7th and D SW in our nation's capitol.

The woman was taken to the hospital after the accident with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Employees were warned not to use the restrooms after the incident.

Well, clearly nobody would try to use the toilet. Not after one exploded.

Can the poor woman sue to recover damages?

Imagine this scenario: you’re sitting on an ivory throne, minding your own business while doing your business. Suddenly, you hear a loud noise and you feel a sharp pain. The toilet exploded underneath you.

Clearly, something went awry either with the building’s maintenance or with the design of the toilet.

If the toilet exploded because of something that went wrong with the plumbing, the building’s owner may face liability. They are obligated to ensure that the building is reasonably safe for individuals. Exploding toilets are not safe.

On the other hand, the company that made the toilet could be liable as well. Under products liability law, manufacturers and distributors of products can be held responsible if their product causes injury to consumers.

So who’s at fault? Apparently a memo was circulated to GSA employees after the incident, warning them against using bathrooms because of a mechanical failure. The mechanical problem caused high air pressure to build up in the water system.

If that’s the case, it’s possible that the woman who was injured by the exploding toilet at the federal building might be able to sue the property owner. But will she? It seems that the facts surrounding the toilet injury might be a little bit embarrassing to recount during a trial.

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