Each year in the United States, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 37,000 individuals are involved in accidents related to power motor usage. Six thousand four hundred individuals, including children, visit the emergency room for injuries sustained by a lawn mower accident.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that individuals take certain precautions when allowing children to operate lawn mowers due to the dangers they pose. The AAP suggests that a child should not operate a traditional walk-behind power mower or hand mower until they reach at least 12 years of age.
A child should not operate a riding lawn mower until they are 16 years of age. In response to the ever-increasing number of injuries related to lawn mowers, the mower industry in 2003 voluntarily adopted a standard for riding mowers.
This standard requires that the mower blades stop spinning whenever the mower moves in reverse. Even with these precautions, lawn mowers cause numerous injuries every year.
One of the types of injuries that result is when the mechanism that is supposed to stop the mower blades when the mower shifts into reverse may malfunction, and the blades will continue spinning.
What Is a Lawn Mower Injury?
A lawn mower injury often involves some type of laceration resulting from using a lawnmower device, tool, or vehicle. These types of injuries commonly result from a malfunction of the lawn mower, especially with the parts of the machine that cover the spinning blade.
Due to the high speed of the blade rotation, these injuries may be severe. Examples of injuries that may occur in a lawn mower accident may include:
- Lacerations, which can lead to permanent scarring;
- Damage to nerves;
- Amputations of fingers, toes, and arms;
- Traumatic brain injury, usually sustained in riding lawn mower rollovers;
- Spinal cord injuries, also resulting from rollover accidents;
- Bone fractures of the nose and fact;
- Injury to the gums and teeth;
- Loss of vision;.
- Broken ribs; and
- Punctured lungs.
Other causes of accidents and resulting injuries involving lawn mowers include fire risks and failure to stop spinning blades. A lawn mower explosion, gas fire, or overheating of the electric mower may create a fire risk.
For example, Black & Decker, Inc., in cooperation with CPSC, voluntarily recalled approximately 140,000 cordless electric lawn mowers for repair. An electrical component in the lawn mower could overheat and cause a possible fire hazard.
Failure to stop spinning blades may occur when the control bar or off mechanism malfunctions, causing the blades to continue rotating when they should, instead, shut down.
Mower blades themselves constitute a significant hazard. It is beneficial to be aware that certain riding lawn mowers, such as John Deere mowers, may present the same risks as those related to the use of motor vehicles or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), for example, crashes or tip-overs.
What Are Lawn Tractor Accidents?
A lawn tractor is a motorized lawn mower device with a built-in seat for the user to ride on. A tractor is often used to mow grass in many places, including:
- Residential properties
- Larger commercial areas
- Sports arenas
- Other surfaces and settings.
A lawn tractor may present certain injury and accident risks. Common types of lawn tractor accidents include:
- Accidents involving collisions with:
- a person;
- a vehicle; or
- a stationary object;
- Accidents related to the blade, for example, if a protective blade guard comes loose, resulting in injury to an individual;
- Explosions, fires, or other mechanical incidents;
- Accidents where the rider drives off a ledge or into a ditch;
- Electrical accidents or issues; and
- Crashes resulting from transmission failures.
It is important to note that different types of lawn tractors may vary with regard to their:
- Maximum speed
- Other factors.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Lawn Tractor Accident?
Lawn tractor accidents and crashes may cause serious injuries and property damage. Depending upon the circumstances of the incident, various parties may be held liable for the injuries resulting from an accident.
In many cases, the manufacturer of the lawn tractor vehicle may be held liable for an accident that is caused by a defect with the product. For example, suppose there is a defect in how the transmission was manufactured, leading to an accident or crash because of the transmission failure. In that case, the manufacturer may be held liable under product liability laws.
In other situations, other parties may be held liable. For example, suppose a lawn tractor collides with another type of vehicle, such as an automobile or a truck. The other vehicle’s driver could be held liable, similar to any other type of automobile accident.
Such may occur when automobiles and other vehicles are driven in the same areas where lawn tractors operate.
What Is Product Liability?
The legal theory of product liability is used to hold a manufacturer or seller of products accountable for placing a defective product or products into the stream of commerce. Any party responsible for any step in the product’s manufacturing may be held liable for injuries that result, just as any seller may be held liable.
A common illustrative example of this is with vehicles. Numerous manufacturers typically produce vehicles, one creating the tires, another creating the engine, and so on.
These individual parts are brought together and assembled before the vehicle goes to a retailer or dealer. If the vehicle that results is defective, any of the following parties can be held liable for resulting injuries:
- The assembling manufacturer
- The wholesaler
- The dealer
- The manufacturer of the part or piece that was found to be defective.
Defective products are governed by a body of laws that dictate who is responsible for these injuries, known as product liability law. This category of law is distinct from personal injury laws.
Product liability laws are intended to protect consumers and compensate them for their injuries and serve as a deterrent for others by punishing parties who make or sell unsafe goods. These laws ensure that manufacturers and sellers are held to a higher standard than an average defendant in a civil lawsuit.
This can make it easier for an injured party to recover compensation when compared to other types of lawsuits.
What Are the Legal Remedies for a Lawn Tractor Accident?
A lawn tractor accident may be complex and result in a lawsuit. In most cases, the legal remedy in this type of lawsuit would involve a monetary damages award. The damages award will often cover losses, such as:
- Hospital bills
- Medical expenses
- Property damage repairs
- Other costs.
Lawn tractor safety issues affecting large groups of consumers may result in a lawn tractor recall or a class action lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Lawn Tractor Accident Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a lawn tractor accident and suffered an injury, it is in your best interests to consult with a local personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible. A lawn tractor lawsuit may involve complex legal issues requiring medical expert testimony.
Your attorney can advise you regarding the applicable laws, which parties may be liable, and represent you throughout the process.