A Simple Fix to a Number of Products Could Prevent Many Children from Being Maimed and Killed Every Year
Just over the last 15 years, there have been over 100 cases of young children being injured by lawn mowers backing over them, resulting in at least eight deaths and a number of other children suffering from amputations of feet, fingers, hands, limbs, toes, and other body parts.
Still, there is no question that this list of injuries doesn’t even come close to the number of people who are actually injured or killed in lawnmower accidents every year. According to a study recently published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, they were more than 1,500 lawn mower back over injuries in the US between 1990 and 2014, and most of the victims were under the age of five years old.
A Failure on the Part of Industry and the Government?
Who is responsible for these accidents? While clearly, people operating these machines can make mistakes, it is also obvious that manufacturers have intentionally designed their machines to be able to mow in reverse even though there is significant evidence that this places small children and others in danger. Although, in 2003, the industry adopted a voluntary standard that requires the mower’s blades to stop spinning when the machine goes in reverse, operators can still include override and disable this safety feature, which is arguably why these accidents continue at alarming rates. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission put a safety standard in place in the 1980s, riding mowers were excluded from this, and back over injuries are still not on the Commission’s radar today. In fact, the only effort that the Commission appears to of made in terms of addressing this issue is to make a statement that consumers should try to keep their children out of the mowing areas and look behind them before they go in reverse.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Alleging Defective Design
There is no question that is manufacturers have known about these issues for decades and have failed to address them properly. Although the company experimented with back over safety systems and this became an industry standard, technically, this standard has never been evaluated to determine whether it actually reduces accidents. And while the industry claims that they must have safety overrides in order to please consumers, others point out that there are basic, obvious adjustments that can be made even to the current models, such as even placing the button override in the back so that operators are forced to look behind first in order to turn it off. These issues are arguably the consequence of allowing the industry to police itself, which is placing a number of people in danger every year.
Some have chosen to take these manufacturers to court as a result of these tragic accidents. For example, in 2018, one jury found that mower manufacturer Deere & Co had defectively designed the mower that injury injured one little girl and awarded her more than $12 million as a result.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury & Defective Design Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, contact our experienced Jacksonville product defect attorneys at the Douglas & Carter law firm today to find out how we can help.