As we head into the summer months, it’s important to remember lawnmower accidents always increase dramatically this time of year. Unfortunately an estimated 9,400 children are injured in lawnmower-related accidents each year and many of the accidents result in amputations of legs, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Safety experts say that the most serious accidents occur when operators back up riding mowers with the mower blades engaged and inadvertently run over small children they can’t see. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, back-over accidents alone account for 560 injuries to children each year. As a result of numerous studies, the lawnmower industry has known for years of the risk to children and the tragic consequences.
In 2003, the lawn mower industry adopted a voluntary industry safety standard requiring new riding mowers to include a “no-mow-in-reverse” feature to prevent the mower from backing up while the cutting blades are engaged. Although the standard is certainly a step in the right direction, the safety standard also allows manufacturers to install a device that overrides that feature. Logically, experts point out that the override device defeats the purpose of the no-mow-in-reverse system. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the rate of lawn-mower related injuries to children remained constant from 1990 through 2004.
Current safety features on these products are not adequate to prevent lawn mower-related injuries. Because most override switches are located on the front control of the mower, the academy recommended that manufacturers locate the override switches on either the posterior wheel well or behind the seat, which would force the operator to look behind the mower before disengaging the no-mow-in-reverse feature. Because consumer safety must be held paramount in the design of riding lawnmowers, mower manufacturers must do more to protect the safety of intended users and the children who are so often injured as a result of a foreseeable tragedy.
Lawyers in our firm are preparing to file another tragic mower back-over case in Colbert County, Ala. In this case, a little girl’s leg was traumatically amputated above the knee when her grandmother inadvertently backed over her with the family riding mower. During our investigation we have learned that the subject mower was manufactured during a time period when most other manufacturers already included the no-mow-in-reverse feature. Sadly, the mower in our case was not equipped with this simple, proven device which would have prevented this child’s life-altering injuries.
Mike Andrews, one of our product liability lawyers, who has handled several such cases in the past, is representing this family. Mike says that “because riding mowers often last many years, sadly we will continue to see unspeakable tragedies involving mowers that were built before the safety standard took effect.” We will keep our readers updated as this case develops. Mike can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at Mike.Andrews@Beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.