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Lawn Mower Injuries: Can You Sue?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Summer is here. Grass is growing. Time to break out the lawn mower -- but be careful!

Every year, more people are getting injured by lawn mowers. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 83,291 people were injured by lawn mowers in 2011. Of those people injured, 3,780 were children under the age of 14.

If you're injured by a lawn mower, can you sue?

Possible Injuries

Lawn mowers may seem harmless, but they are dangerous heavy machinery. There are a plethora of ways a user or bystander can be injured by a lawn mower, such as:

  • Children are run over and crushed behind a lawn mower in reverse.
  • Toes and limbs are cut or severed by the lawn mower's blades.
  • Loose objects such as rocks can be propelled at high speeds when hit by the lawn mower's blades.
  • Riding lawn mowers can roll over and crush the rider. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "limb injuries and chest, or crush, injuries are common with riding mowers."

Avoiding Injuries

Here are some tips to avoid lawn mower injuries:

  • Always wear protective gears such as goggles and closed toe shoes.
  • Do not allow children to play nearby when a lawn mower is being operated. Additionally, do not allow children to ride on a lawn mower, especially on an adult's lap.
  • Pick up stones and toys that could become hazardous flying objects before mowing.
  • Never mow in reverse.

Safety Defects and Product Liability Lawsuits

Sometimes, lawn mower injuries may be unavoidable because of a defect in the mower's design.

For example, in one case, an 88-year-old man was killed when a defective fuel tank caused the lawn mower to explode while he was riding it.

In another case, a father sued the manufacturer of a lawn mower after he backed over his daughter, causing her severe injury. The father argued that the lawn mower was defective because it did not have proper safety precautions that would have prevented him from injuring his daughter.

In both cases, the manufacturers were sued for product liability. In the first case, the jury awarded the victim's family $2.5 million dollars. In the second case, the parties settled for a confidential amount.

Negligence Reduces Lawsuit Recovery

More often than not, lawn mower injuries are caused by improper use or user error rather than a product defect. While you may sue the manufacturer, evidence of your own negligence in handling the lawn mower could reduce your recovery or prevent you from recovering any money at all.

Also, if your negligent handling of a lawn mower caused someone else injury, you could be sued for negligence.

This summer, be extra careful when operating a lawn mower, and if you are sued or injured, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help.

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