female laying in the bathtub

Written by: Ken Harrell

Walk-in tubs have become a hotly marketed commodity for companies like Jacuzzi. Basically, these units are large bathtubs with a water-tight door. They are marketed primarily to the elderly on the premise that the door allows you to step over a low threshold into the tub instead of having to climb over the wall. Because of their design, these tubs can be filled with much more water than a traditional tub. In some cases, these tubs hold up to four feet of water. That can be as much as 80 gallons of water! Of course, the fact that so much water can be held by these tubs creates an added danger, especially if you’re bathing someone who is a young child or someone who is small and frail. If someone meeting this description slips from the tub seat, they can quickly be fully submerged below water and the design of these tubs makes it difficult for a family member or aide to extract them.

Undoubtedly, the biggest risk of these walk-in tubs is the risk of getting trapped inside one with an inward opening door. Since users of these tubs tend to be elderly, it’s easy to see how someone could slip off the tub seat and then get wedged behind the door. As documented in the attached links below, there have been multiple instances where users of walk-in tubs got trapped at the bottom of the tub, resulting in a drowning death.

It is understandable that any elderly person desires to maintain as much independence as possible, especially when it comes to matters of personal hygiene. Not only can a walk-in tub promote that but it can also be source of relaxation as most of them incorporate some form of jet stream feature in their tubs. However, before spending the $15,000.00 to $20,000.00 necessary to buy most of these units, the buyer needs to fully consider the potential dangers posed by these tubs. That’s especially true if a family is considering purchasing one of these tubs for an elderly loved one.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to a defective walk-in tub, protect your rights and contact the experienced product liability team at the Joye Law Firm for a free consultation.

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About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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