Every year, people in Alabama and throughout the United States suffer severe injuries in lawn mower accidents. These unexpected and devastating accidents are often caused by defective design, faulty manufacturing, or a manufacturer’s failure to warn about hazards.
If you are one of the millions of people who use a lawn mower, it is crucial to know and follow some widely recognized guidelines to keep yourself, your children and others safe. It’s also important to understand how dangerous these machines can be, and the types of injuries they can cause. Take care for young children, as they are the most likely to be severely injured in lawn mower accidents.
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Lawn Mower Injuries
Victims can suffer severe injuries requiring immediate medical attention, including:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Loss of digits (fingers and toes) or limbs (arms and legs)
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine injuries resulting in paralysis
According to a study published in the journal Public Health Reports, each year in the United States, an average of 6,394 people suffer serious injuries — including burns, cuts, and broken bones — in lawn-mower accidents. The study found that lacerations are most common (47% of injuries), followed by fractures (22%), and amputations (22%). Many injuries are disfiguring, especially for children as they continue to grow.
Medical care for lawn mower accident injuries can be extremely costly. Victims should not have to struggle to pay for the expenses associated with the accident if their injuries were the result of a faulty or defectively designed product. If you, your children or a loved one have been injured in a lawn mower accident, talk to an attorney to help you to determine the party or parties who might be responsible.
Lawn Mower Safety Tips
Keep in mind the following safety tips when operating a lawn mower:
- Keep your lawn mower in good working order and with sharp blades.
- Keep your hands and feet away from the blades.
- Pick up potential flying objects in the yard before you begin mowing (for example, stones, sticks, toys.)
- Wear goggles, gloves, hearing protection and pants.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots. Don’t mow barefoot or while wearing open-toed shoes or flip flops.
- When adding fuel, be careful of hot surfaces and ignition sources, like cigarettes, that could ignite the gas.
- Take care when pulling a mower backward or driving a riding mower in reverse.
- Don’t drink alcohol before or while using a mower.
- Don’t remove guards and safety devices from a mower.
- Don’t lift a mower by the bottom, as blades can sever fingers even when the mower is turned off.
- Avoid operating riding lawn mowers on wet hills.
- Never allow children under age 12 to use a push mower and those under 16 to operate a riding mower.
Even if you take all safety precautions, accidents can still happen. Product defects caused by manufacturers can lead to injuries. For example, in one case, a father sued the manufacturer of a lawn mower after he accidentally backed over his daughter, causing her severe injury. The father argued that the lawn mower was defective because it did not have proper safety precautions that would have prevented him from injuring his daughter.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to being injured in riding mower back-over accidents with the cutting blades turning. Many of these accidents are preventable; when manufacturers fail to place a “No Mow In Reverse” (NMIR) safety feature on their mowers they are risking more riding lawnmowers accidents. Many lawn mowers with NMIR are designed so that the cutting blades shut off automatically when the lawnmower was driven in reverse. However, some NMIR models are designed with a mechanism for overriding the automatic shutoff feature, which could put children at risk.
Contact a product liability attorney for help in holding accountable lawn mower manufacturers, and any other parties in the supply chain who are responsible. Also, when a person’s negligent handling of a lawnmower causes someone else to be injured, they can be sued for negligence.
How Can Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Help Me?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a lawn mower accident, our compassionate and experienced lawyers can advise you on how to seek compensation for your injuries. Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., is ready to put our extensive experience to work for you. Our personal injury attorneys assist victims throughout Northern Alabama, including child injury victims.
To speak with a lawyer about your lawn mower injury claim, call us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.