Each year thousands of people are injured because of lawnmowers. The Consumer Produce Safety Commission reports that in 2010, 235,000 people were treated for lawn mower injuries. Of this number 17,000 children were injured in power lawn mower incidents. More than 600 of those children suffered from amputations.
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Common Causes of Injury
The majority of serious or life-ending injuries to children are caused by riding lawn mowers, and most children injured are hurt in their own yard. Commonly, the operator of the riding lawn mower is a parent or another family member. Common injuries include lacerations, loss of hands, fingers, feet, partial amputation of extremities, burns, fractures, disfigurement, and death. Injuries are caused by faulty manufacturing, defective design, or failing to warn of hazards.
Many of the most serious injuries are associated with riding lawnmowers that continue to send power to the cutting blades when the mower is in neutral or reverse. These injuries commonly include amputation of a foot, leg, multiple exterminates and even death. Most injuries caused by backing up affect children aged 2 to 5.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Manufacturers of these products have known for years how to prevent the blades from being engaged while the lawn mower is backing up, but many manufacturers failed to implement the technology in a timely manner. The solution is simple: an anti-lock system that stops the blades from turning.
Unfortunately, many injuries still happen each year in which children are run over or backed over by a lawn mower with the cutting blades still turning.
This risk has been known by the industry since the 1960s and has been identified by the government as a hazard. In 1981 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report entitled “Hazard Analysis Injuries Associated with Riding Type Lawnmowers”. The CPSC identified the mow in reverse situation as a hazard. In response, some manufacturers designed riding mowers with antilock or no mow in reverse systems to avoid this hazard. Unfortunately, other manufacturers ignored the hazard and continued to make mowers that present a significant hazard to children and can lead to serious injury or death.
A Responsibility to Ensure Safety
Manufacturers have a duty under the law to make their products safe for their intended and foreseeable uses. Good product design requires manufacturers to learn of a hazard and address the hazard. Manufacturers have an obligation to make the product safe by designing the hazard out of the product. If the hazard cannot be designed out of the product because it would ruin the utility of the product, the manufacturers must provide a guard, and/or warn of the danger. Unfortunately, some manufacturers put profits over people.
We Are Here for You
Our firm has worked with families and children who have been struck with the tragedy of a serious injury or death. If you or your child has been injured as a result of a lawn mower accident, contact an experienced attorney at the law firm of Gump & Faiella, LLC for a free initial consultation or fill out the contact form on this page.