Attorneys representing victims injured during the deadly Apple Store crash in Hingham, Mass., in November 2022 announced that they are filing a suit against Apple, the owner, developer and manager of the property and the driver claiming that the incident could have been avoided.

Doug Sheff, a personal injury lawyer at Sheff and Cook representing multiple victims, says that Apple’s all-glass storefront design is not designed to prevent such tragedies.

Apple stores are known for their innovative modern style and abundance of glass. Photo by Trac Vu. 

“The frontage of the Apple Store features tall glass windows and doors that reach to the ground,” states Sheff. “These glass windows and doors are not designed, engineered or reinforced in such a way where they would act as an effective barrier against a moving motor vehicle.”

Sheff added in an interview with WBX-TV that Apple should have installed cement barriers, which would have prevented death and serious injury. Those barriers are made of metal or concrete and designed for safety. The Storefront Safety Council reports that from 2013-2022 there have been more than 800 accidents involving cars crashing into buildings in Massachusetts. None of them had protective barriers in place.

Sheff said that while there were no protective barriers in front of the store, the shopping plaza did have them in front of electrical fixtures and trash receptacles behind the building.

Apple stores are known for their innovative modern style and abundance of glass. The Apple Store in Sydney, for instance, features 6,180 square feet of glass panels supported by laminated glass fins and beams connected by stainless steel fittings. Albeit smaller in scale, the Hingham Apple Store’s front façade is covered in glass, following the company’s desire for minimalistic designs at its storefronts.

Despite the glass-covered front façade, the Hingham store’s structural integrity remained intact following the crash on November 21 when Bradley Rein slammed his 2019 Toyota 4Runner SUV into the building. The crash killed one and injured over a dozen more.

“It looks like a good design with laminated glass that was well able to withstand ‘normal’ impact loads,” glass consultant Chris Barry said when asked about the type of glass used at the Hingham Apple Store. “The load in this case seems to be ‘abnormal.’”

Laminated glass comprises two or more lites of glass with an interlayer material between the lites. When shattered, laminated glass usually breaks, forming a spider web-like pattern, reducing injury chances.

Businesses typically use a safety glass (tempered or laminated) for their storefronts. Tempered glass is required when the window is near a door or close to the ground.

3 Comments

  1. Chris Barry has it right. Listen to him.

  2. It doesn’t matter what you do. People are going to sue. The deeper your pockets, the bigger the target on your back.

  3. Will the City be sued because building code doesn’t require storefronts to be car proof. The 3/4″ laminated glass they use in the Apple storefronts can probably pass for low grade hurricane rated glass.

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