Lawnmower Accident and Injury Lawyer
Lawnmower Accidents and Amputations
At the rate of approximately 180,000 per year, lawnmower accidents affect the lives of those involved forever. An accident involving a lawnmower can lead to amputations or reconstructive surgeries that take months or years from which to recover. Lawnmower accidents range from deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, mangled skin and muscle, second- and third-degree burns, and cardiac arrest leading to death. Because a lawnmower accident occurs outside, surrounding debris such as rocks, grass, hay or dirt add additional elements to a wound which could cause further infection of the blood and torn muscle or flesh surrounding the affected area. Cleaning up a lawnmower injury becomes even more difficult.
Frequency and Facts about Lawnmower Injuries
Lawnmowers fall into two categories: the type that is pushed while someone walks behind it, and the type that is considered a riding mower where someone in a seated position controls the machine. In both cases, the cutting blades are driven by the engine to allow for proper control of the blade and the propulsion of the machine.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports cases and frightening statistics regarding lawnmower injuries, and shows that more than 800 children a year are run over by lawnmowers, mostly by someone in the family. As recently as 2012, the CPSC issued a recall on replacement blades manufactured by Blount International. The reason: the blades had a likelihood of becoming detached and flying off the main part, resulting in cuts and lacerations to anyone in the path of the flying parts.
Causes of Lawnmower Injuries
While many accidents are found among the 75 – 80 age group, we know that school-aged children take to mowing lawns during the spring and summer to earn extra income, presenting a risk of their own. Still in a younger age group, many lawnmower accidents occur with children who fall off the back of a lawnmower, slip under a lawnmower, or are backed over by a lawnmower. Many of the injuries from lawnmowers come from rotating blades, and injure those who place their fingers too close to the blades in attempts to clear away debris that may be jammed up. Other causes include the projection of small, hard objects by the blade as the mower rolls over something in the grass, like toys and stones. The objects propel quickly and in any direction. Other causes of lawnmower injuries include:
- Instability of the machine, from either a defect in the product, or unstable or uneven surface on which the machine is riding.
- Overturning of the mower, from going up or down a hill, and crushing the operator.
- Limited visibility behind and in front of the mower.
- Faulty brakes of the mower that cause the operator to lose control.
- Slipping and falling while mowing from wearing inappropriate shoes.
- Back, shoulder and neck injuries from the weight of the mower.
- Joyriding on mowers.
As evidenced by the variety of causes involving lawnmowers, the weight, force, power and sharpness of components in a lawnmower make for injuries of all kinds when proper care and handling are ignored.
Prevention of Lawnmower Accidents
A safety feature of riding mowers called the “no mow in reverse” feature has been implemented in many riding lawnmowers since 1998. All main manufacturers including Deer, Toro and Snapper ensure their riding lawnmowers are equipped with that safety feature. While it may seem obvious that installing a roll bar on a mower would add extra protection in case of a rollover, some manufacturers are reluctant to make the roll bar mandatory, and offer that feature only as an add-on. Many mowers that are operated by someone walking behind come with a switch that ensures the mower will turn off and brake when the handle is released.
There are other factors for safe lawnmower operation to avoid injury and amputations, such as:
- Wearing the proper footwear and goggles at all times. Closed-toe shoes are preferred, and flip-flops or sandals are definitely not appropriate footwear when engaging in any outdoor chore.
- Conducting regular maintenance on the mower. Make sure the mower is in good shape and condition before using it, particularly if it has been in storage for a season or more.
- Repairing a part quickly once it has been broken. It is best not to wait until the next time you use the product before you have a chance to repair it.
- Keeping the safety release engaged; that is, do not remove the switch or tie it down so that it cannot be released, just for the sake of convenience.
- Shutting the mower off before attempting to remove any debris from around or under the mower.
- Watching for children and pets that are roaming in the area. Instruct all children to stay inside until the task is completed.
- Never allowing children or passengers to ‘ride-along’ on a riding mower.
- Making sure your children are age-appropriate before you give them the task of lawnmowing. As with any moving vehicle, teens must be 16 before being allowed to ride a mower.
- Wearing a seatbelt when using a riding mower.
- Stopping the mower immediately if you see a child coming in your direction.
Contacting Legal Assistance for a Lawnmower Related Injury or Death
Lawnmower accidents are serious, and often the result of product-defect or irresponsible actions. If you or someone you know has been injured or died related to an accident that involved a push-from-behind or riding lawnmower, your best start toward justice is to consult the attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., the renowned personal injury attorneys who can assist you. We invite you to call toll free now at (855) TOP-FIRM to speak with a lawnmower accident and injury lawyer, or simply fill out the Free Lawnmower Accident and Injury Case Evaluation Form with no obligation.