Annually, over 100,000 injuries are caused by handheld power tools. Handheld power tools are common in work settings. However, with technological advances and increased availability through retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes and the like, injuries at home are on the rise. Manufacturers offer handheld power tools to accomplish almost any task. These tools are smaller, more powerful, and are as dangerous as ever.
Injuries caused by these devices include simple lacerations, finger amputations, eye injuries and even death. Our law firm has handled numerous cases involving defective tools. A grinder cut a client’s ulnar nerve rendering his hand virtually useless. Also, a nail gun misfired and struck a client in the eye. A cut-off machine kicked back and killed a client. These are just a few examples of how dangerous these devices can be. These injuries could be prevented with a simple design change. More often than not, the addition of a simple guard would significantly decrease the device’s ability to maim or kill.
In certain cases, an optional safety device would have limited or even prevented an injury. The existence of an optional safety feature means the manufacturer has identified the hazard along with the ability to control the hazard. However, instead of making the device safer automatically, they put the burden on the consumer to make a design decision. Consumers often make their decisions based on price. Safety should never be optional and the consumer does not have access to the information and expertise available to the manufacturer. In pending lawsuits, we have found that optional safety devices are offered as standard equipment only after numerous people have been unnecessarily injured. Or, we may find that an identical device is offered with improved safety features with a different model number.
Consumers can protect themselves by researching the power tool before purchase to determine if a safer model is available from the same manufacturer or a different manufacturer. Research prior to purchase may disclose optional safety devices or even a recall on part of the product or the entire product. The nail gun that shot a large nail into a current client’s eye was recalled. Interested consumers can check our website www.beasleyallen.com or CPSC.com to determine if their device has been or is the subject of a recall. Recalls are often issued too late, and adequate notice is rarely provided. If you need more information on this subject contact Kendall Dunson, a lawyer in our Personal Injury Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Kendall.Dunson@beasleyallen.com.
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