Lawn Mower Design Flaws Can Lead to Tragedy

Categories: Products Liability

blackfin product liability lawn mower

Savannah, Georgia Lawn Mower Product Liability Attorney

The scent of newly mown grass is in the Georgia air these days. Drive through most neighborhoods and you’re likely to see several homeowners mowing their lawns. What could be more idyllic? Perhaps the question should be, “what could be more dangerous?” Design flaws can lead to tragedy.

80,000 Hospital Visits Due to Lawn Mower Accidents Each Year

According to a report released last year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 80,000 people are annually treated in U.S. hospitals for lawn mower injuries. All too many involve children and teens. While the circumstances can vary, there are several common causes of lawn mower accidents. They include:

  • Contact with the rotating blade – Persons sometimes attempt to dislodge grass from the mower without stopping the engine. At other times, people slip on wet grass and injure their feet and legs. Occasionally, an operator will run over another person as the operator moves backward, determining that the move can be safely made.
  • Objects ejected by the mower – The mower operator may not realize it, but the outside edge of the mower blade can be traveling as fast as 200 mph. It is fully capable of propelling small objects, such as rocks or bits of glass as far as 50 feet.
  • Burns – Mower engines get hot during operation. Mower parts near the exhaust can be particularly hazardous. Burns are common.

Defective Design or Manufacturing

Other injuries are not so much caused by the fault of the operator, but by the fault of the designer or manufacturer. For example, last year, the estate of an 88-year-old man was awarded $2.5 million in a wrongful death action filed against Ryobi Technologies, a mower manufacturer. The estate contended that the design of the fuel tank and fuel line assembly was defective, causing the mower to catch fire and fatally burn the deceased. The estate was able to prove that the mower manufacturer knew about the faulty design, and did nothing to prevent accidents. Earlier, a similar mower caught fire in Indiana and burned a house to the ground. The estate also argued that Ryobi should have issued a formal recall of the mower, but failed to do so.

In other cases, plaintiffs have been successful in showing design defects that caused some other manufacturers’ riding mowers to overturn easily. Plaintiffs have also prevailed in cases where they proved that manufacturers had:

  • Used poorly worded safety labels
  • Used plastic in parts where the material was inadequate to promote safe use
  • Manufactured defective blades
  • Failed to include appropriate and clear instructions for assembly

Mower Injury Cases Are Complex; Skilled Legal Counsel is a Must

Winning any products liability case takes time and energy. This is even more the case with mower accidents. The manufacturer undoubtedly will contend that the injuries were caused by operator negligence, and not something for which the manufacturer was responsible. Success may require the retention and use of experts. The manufacturer/designer has an army of attorneys and experts on its side. If the consumer is to prevail, he or she needs skilled, aggressive, effective counsel, as well.

At the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., you will have strong and aggressive counsel. Clarke isn’t some TV face supported by a back office of case managers. He is a fair, strong, aggressive lawyer who has the resources to assist you if your claim has merit. When you call Clarke’s office to check on your case, you can discuss the situation with Clarke himself. Clarke once worked for the insurance companies; therefore, he knows how they operate and what motivates them. He has office availability throughout the state of Georgia. To schedule an appointment, contact Clarke by telephone at (912) 200-5292, or complete the online form.