It would not be a summer day without the familiar hum of a lawnmower. Indeed, the sound of a lawnmower is a familiar sound for anyone who grew up in the suburbs or in rural areas. For some it may remind them of long summer days, playing outside, and backyard barbeques. However, despite the nostalgia that the whirr of a lawnmower may invoked, lawnmowers can be dangerous all too often people are injured with these common lawn care devices.. Lawnmowers are powerful machines with sharp blades that can rotate at 200 mph. Every year around 37,000 people end up in hospital emergency rooms with severe lacerations, broken bones, crush injuries, burns, and amputated limbs from lawnmower accidents. Adults and lawnmower operators are not the only people at risk of serious lawnmower accidents. Each year 10,000 children are critically injured or killed as the result of an oftentimes-preventable lawnmower accident.
Lawnmower Injuries Involving Others
Anytime a lawnmower is involved in an accident there is the potential that the injuries are going to be extensive and devastating. With those sharp blades spinning in excess of 200 miles an hour and the roar of the engine sometimes people do not realize that they or someone nearby is in danger of being run over by a lawnmower. Lawnmower accidents can occur when someone runs over another person, often resulting in shredded limbs or amputation. Some of the most severe accidents have occurred when someone operating a riding mower backs up, does not see a small child behind him, and runs over the child. Accidents also occur when a mower overturns either throwing the operator off causing broken bones, or crushing the operator beneath. Serious injuries may also arise when a lawnmower blade runs over an object like a rock or stick and propels it into the air, usually throwing the object with violent force. Lawnmower engines can also become extremely hot and faulty fuel lines may cause the mower to catch on fire or explode, causing serious burn injuries and permanent scarring.
Injuries Resulting from Defective Lawnmowers and Parts
Lawnmower accidents may also occur to due defective parts, manufacturing errors, flawed design, and lack of safety features and blade guards. Ruptured fuel lines, faulty blades, and malfunctioning switches can all result in preventable injuries and wrongful deaths. Thousands of lawnmowers are recalled every year due to reports of extremely hazardous defects like certain Black & Decker models, which have reportedly started their engines and blades on their own, even when the safety key designed to prevent the blade from moving was disengaged. Many advocacy groups have called for federal regulations that prevent riding mowers’ blades from working when they are put in reverse, since the most horrific accidents have occurred when small children have been backed over. Every lawnmower manufactured after 2004 is required to have “no mow in reverse” technology, but unfortunately many lawnmowers allow users to disable this safety feature, or override the controls to mow in reverse, and hardly any older models have this technology.
There are many safety features manufacturers could use to make lawnmowers safer, and reduce the number of catastrophic injuries and deaths caused by lawnmower accidents, but sadly, many manufacturers are more interested in their bottom line than consumer safety. Roll-over protection systems, like roll bars and cages, could potentially keep riding lawnmower operators safe from tip-over and crush accidents. Zero-turn-radius (ZTR) lawnmowers are popular for being extremely maneuverable, but are also known to tip over easily due to their design. Still, manufacturers have resisted implementing safer designs or rollover protection systems for ZTR lawnmowers. The technology exists for automatic shut off mechanisms, blade sensors, and blade guards, but many lawnmowers do not come equipped with these safety features.
Common Types of Lawnmower Injuries
As noted above, lawnmower injuries can be severe and can cause massive trauma. Because of how fast and powerful modern lawn mowers have become you may find yourself cutting the lawn and then twenty minutes later sitting in the emergency room. Some of the most common lawnmower injuries are:
- Cuts and lacerations – Not only do lawnmowers have blades to cut the grass but these blades are often sharpened to tackle the most stubborn overgrown grass. A blade spinning at such a high speed can cause severe injuries to the skin and an even cut deep into the muscle fiber or even severe tendons and ligaments, or even slice through bone. Lawnmowers often cause cuts and lacerations to the hands and feet either because a foot is run over or because a person reached under the machine to retrieve an item or examine the blades.
- Burns– Lawnmowers are often powered by high performance petroleum engines that can run at extreme temperatures. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to touch a hot motor you know that it only takes a split second for your fingers or hand to develop intense blisters. However, while these type of minor burns can be bothersome, lawnmowers can also cause severe second and third degree burns depending on how long there was contact between you and the engine. Sometimes there can be a malfunctioning piece in the engine that causes the lawnmower to overheat.
- Amputation – Some lawnmowers can boast as many horsepower as a small car, and with that comes the very real risk of having a finger, arm or leg completely amputated from the body. Additionally, because of damage that a spinning blade can cause the doctors may have to amputate the limb or finger altogether.
While lawnmowers may be a necessary feature of anyone with a lawn, they can result in severe and life-altering injuries and should be approached with caution.
Our Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or someone you love has been catastrophically injured or wrongfully killed in a lawnmower accident, the experienced Pennsylvania lawnmower accident lawyers of Reiff & Bily can help you investigate the accident and determine if a manufacturer’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Always advocates for consumer safety, our lawyers believe that if safety technology exists, manufacturers have a duty to use it and make their products as safe as possible for consumers. We understand the devastation, pain, and anguish that lawnmower accidents may cause, and we know you may be faced with enormous medical bills and possibly funeral costs. For over three decades, the experienced Philadelphia product defect lawyers of Reiff & Bily have fought to hold negligent manufacturers responsible for their careless actions, and have been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to cover medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and lost quality of life. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.