Each year, as spring and summer approach, many Americans prepare their lawns for the warmer months. That means breaking out the lawn mower and getting yards ready for barbecues, family get-togethers, and holidays. But did you also know that it means as many as 82,000 lawn mower-related injuries?
In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that 81,938 people in the United States would be involved in lawn mower-related injuries, with a significant number of injuries affecting children. Injuries involving lawn mowers can range from minor lacerations and burns to amputations and even fatalities. Tragically, many of these injuries are preventable because they are the result of either manufacturing or design defects, or operator misuse or recklessness.
It’s important to practice extreme safety measures when using push and riding lawn mowers to avoid the following types of injuries:
- Lacerations: Lacerations can occur anywhere, but most commonly happen on the fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
- Burns: A lawn mower’s hot motor, gas tank, and exhaust system can result in burns.
- Projectile injuries: The spinning blades of a lawn mower can propel rocks and other objects on the ground with great speed, injuring anyone who is near the machine. This put both operators and those nearby at risk for injury – including severe eye injury if the object hits the face.
- Broken bones: Fractures can occur if any body parts contact them, or when riding mowers overturn.
- Amputations: The blades of a lawn mower can cut off appendages that get too close. Additionally, burns, lacerations, and broken bones can be serious enough that the injured body part requires medical removal to prevent further complications.
- Damage to internal organs: If a riding lawn mower is overturned, the operator may suffer damage to internal organs, the vascular system, and muscles and tendons if the mower crushes him or her.
- Spinal cord injury: If a riding mower flips, the driver can suffer from spinal cord injury which can cause paralysis.
- Permanent disfigurement: Despite the best medical care, lawn mower injuries can be serious enough that there is permanent disfigurement.
Tips for Preventing Lawn Mower Injuries
There are safety measures that you can take to prevent lawn mower injuries. The following are some of the safety practices suggested for maintaining your personal safety, while maintaining your lawn:
- Always read the lawn mower’s instruction manual before you use it.
- Keep up with the maintenance of the machine, including sharpening the blades.
- Only use a mower that has hot and sharp parts covered when being used.
- Remove all potential flying objects from the lawn, such as rocks, sticks, toys, and other debris, before you begin mowing.
- Wear protective eyewear, gloves, long pants, and sturdy closed-toed shoes when mowing.
- Never drink alcohol or use drugs before or during lawn mower use.
- Never remove safety devices, covers, or guards on switches.
- Do not insert hands into the mower to remove cut grass or other debris, the blades may still be moving even when the motor is off.
- Never lift the lawn mower by the bottom when you are moving it. The blades are sharp and can cut your fingers or hands even when they are not moving.
- Don’t use your lawn mower when the grass is wet.
- Do not allow children under 12 years old operate a lawn mower, or children under the age of 16 to operate a riding mower.
- Keep children and pets off the lawn while someone is using a lawn mower.
- Never allow children to be a passenger on a riding mower.
- Do not pull a lawn mower back toward you, or drive a riding mower in reverse unless absolutely necessary.
- Always start and refuel lawn mowers outside, not in a garage. When you add gasoline, make sure the motor is off and cool.
- If adjusting the blades of the lawn mower is necessary, it should only be done by an adult.
- When shopping for a lawn mower, look for one that has a forward control mechanism that will stop the mower from moving when the handle is released.
Keep yourself and your family safe with the above tips. If you are going to allow your teenager to use a lawn mower, make sure that he or she has read these tips and understands the importance of practicing safety measures while mowing.
When the Worst Happens
If the worst happens and you or your loved one is injured while using a lawn mower, it may not be through any fault of your own. The machine may have been defective or not functioning properly. If you think that you may be a victim of a defective or malfunctioning lawn mower, Ross Feller Casey can help you determine if you have a case of product liability and whether you may be entitled to compensation.
At Ross Feller Casey, we have attorneys who are experienced in dealing with cases in which lawn mower injuries are involved. Contact us for a free case evaluation. All of our cases are handled on a contingency basis, including lawn mower injury lawsuits, so there is no cost to you unless there is a financial recovery.