Our law firm was interviewed for a story in Lawyers USA about lawn mower accident lawsuits.1 We were representing a family whose 8-year-old daughter was severely injured in a backover accident on a farm. The girl’s father was using the farm owner’s utility tractor to mow around the trailer where he lived with his family. The girl came up behind him and was caught in the blades.
One of her legs had to be amputated.
Her father just didn’t hear his daughter come up behind him, and he backed up and ran her over. The lawn tractor was only slightly largely than a residential riding mower, but because it was considered a “utility tractor” the voluntary safety standard didn’t apply.
The manufacturer contended that the lawn tractor was intended only for commercial uses. But this kind of machine is routinely used to mow school yards and parks and everywhere you’d expect to see children.
“This was an entirely preventable tragedy. The technology to prevent this exact scenario was readily available to the manufacturer. Nonetheless, it made a conscious decision to bypass that technology. When life altering injures occur, bringing legal action is the most effective way to get the manufacturer to change its behavior.”
The case was settled for a confidential amount. This means we cannot make the exact amount of the recovery public, but we can say it was significant.
Even if several children are injured by a product, the cases are generally not litigated as a class action lawsuit because the injuries almost always vary significantly from child to child. For this reason, we sue them out on an individual basis.
1. Nora Lockwood Tooher, “Cutting a swath in lawnmower accident suits,” Lawyers USA, August 13, 2007.