Lawnmower Accidents – Safety Issues and Defective Design

riding lawn mower

Stats.org is a website that collects statistics allowing one to deduce risk factors for all sorts of incidents, including lawnmower accidents.  According to their stats, the likelihood of being involved in a lawnmower accident if you are a man is 1 in 2,626 and if you are a woman 1 in 7,248.

Lawnmower accidents involve several ‘typical’ scenarios: trips, slips and falls and the running over a foot or toe.  Of the typical scenarios involving lawnmower accidents, injuries often include amputated limbs, back injuries, and ankle and shoulder injuries.  They may also include burns.

The culprit in many lawnmower accidents is the rotating blade. At times, a  person may slip while mowing (or a nearby person) and this may lead to a limb coming into contact with the rotating blade. Other injuries in lawnmower accidents may be the result of an object being thrown from the lawnmower resulting in lacerations or permanent damage to the eye of the person struck.

From time to time, lawnmower injuries include burns.  This may be from a hot surface on the mower, gasoline leakage or vapors igniting from a spark.  Some lawnmowers have propulsion systems that are inadequately shielded that may cause burns.  Faulty fuel systems also have caused gasoline leaks that result in fire.

If you are injured while another person is operating a lawnmower, severe injuries such as the loss of a limb or loss of vision from a flying object may require medical treatment that can be costly and painful.  The loss of limb or vision will forever alter ones life and  have a major impact on one’s ability to work creating a substantial wage loss claim.  Other damages that can be included in your claim besides the medical expenses and wage loss would include a claim for permanent disfigurement and the resulting emotional distress.  Your spouse may be entitled to a loss of consortium claim.

On the other hand, some lawnmower accidents are not so much the negligence of the operator as they are the result of a design defect.  At times the operator may have used a faulty safety switch that failed to turn the mower off.  Others may have defective propulsion systems which are responsible for injury.  Design defect may also be responsible for rollover injuries on riding lawnmowers.  Injuries could have been minimized on riding lawnmowers had roll bars and seat belts been installed.

Many states, including California, may apply comparative fault rules to this type of claim.  In other words, it may be determined that a percentage of guilt for the accident can be contributed to the lawnmower manufacturer but you, the user of the lawnmower, may also be assigned a percentage of guilt.  Let’s say the mediator, judge or jury decides you are 25 percent at fault for your injuries. This means the damages awarded to you by the defendant would be reduced by that amount.

Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your lawnmower accident claim.  The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith has successfully handled many types of personal injury claims, include lawnmower accidents. We would like to use our expertise to help you with your matter. We  welcome your questions and can set up an appointment for a no-cost consultation.  Please contact us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for more information.

I’m Ed Smith, founder of the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith. I’d like to invite you to see what some of my verdicts and settlements have been and encourage you to check out client reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Avvo, an attorney rating site.

 

Photo Attribution: Rototom at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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