What if?

Question: Can I sue a company for not replacing a machine, which burst into flames?
Question Detail: I have a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, which began acting up three days ago. I contacted Norco my medical provider and they said the machine was indeed not working properly but refused to provide a replacement until I contacted my doctor. The next day I contacted the doctor and they directed Norco provide a replacement. Norco again refused to provide a new CPAP machine. Last night I plugged in my CPAP machine to again try and limp through the night. Just prior to going to bed the machine literally burst into flames on my nightstand. Had this occurred an hour later I would have been attached to the machine. Is this in any way actionable? I was not injured other than the acrid smoke and fear created by the melt down but I am still without treatment and more than a little nervous due to the negligent actions of Norco.

Answer: Yes that's bad that the machine just burst into flames. And if you were standing over it and it burned you that would have been worse. And if this CPAP machine was on your bed while you slept, and then ignited your sheets, pillow and blanket on fire burning you literally to death that would have been even worse. But what if your entire family was in bed with you and they all died? What then? That would have been ten times worse. And then what if after your house burned down the neighbors’ homes all caught fire and it burned killing all those occupants. That might have been 100 times worse!

But really no one was hurt and no one was burned so you get compensation for the smell of smoke and nothing more. The 'what if's' add nothing to your claim because what if it was your entire fault? No one's case is better because of what ifs. You still must prove the four elements of any personal injury case and those are: 1. Duty 2. Breach of Duty 3. Damages 4. Proximate Cause. Sorry, but you are still missing damages.


Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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