Defective Weed Trimmers Attorneys
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) May 2003 Hazard Screening Report, Yard and Garden Equipment, there were 14,580 emergency room visits and 37,000 medically treated injuries in 2001, and two deaths in 2000 as the result of powered pruning and trimming products. And, although there are products not strictly referred to as "weed trimmers" within this category of products, other sources corroborate that several thousands of people are seriously injured as the result of weed trimmer accidents each year.
The vast majority of weed trimmer- and lawn edger-related injuries are due to sticks, stones, and other objects being hurled into the air by the devices. The CPSC has therefore recommended that yards be cleared of sticks, stones and other debris before weed trimmers and lawn edgers are used, and that their operators and anyone present nearby wear goggles or safety glasses. Approximately one third of injuries related to weed trimmers are to the eyes.
Although accidents can still occur after taking precautions, injuries resulting from defective weed trimmers are nearly entirely preventable. In the last few years, several weed trimmers have been recalled due to faulty design or workmanship. Included among the more publicized recalls in recent years are Black & Decker GH1000 Grasshog XP String Trimmer/Edgers, some Troy-Built 4-Cycle Gasoline String Trimmers, and certain trimmers made by Tecumseh Power Co., Stihl, Inc. and Weed Wizard Acquisition Corp.
Troy-Bilt trimmers models TB425CS and TB525CS were recalled in 2006 because their trimming blades can detach from the shield that covers the trimmer head and be thrown out toward its operator or a bystander, potentially causing a laceration. An example of another kind of hazard defective weed trimmers can present prompted the recall of Stihl trimmers model numbers FS 120 and FS 200. It was found that an unsealed seam in their fuel tanks could pose a potential fire hazard as the result of leaking fuel.
In a recent relatively high profile case, Sufix, U.S.A. v. Cook, a man brought suit against Sufix, U.S.A. for allegedly having defectively designed a weed trimmer that disintegrated, launching several parts that struck his leg. Despite reconstructive surgery, the man never regained normal use of his foot and calf.
The jury awarded the man three million dollars in punitive damages and nearly as much in compensatory damages. Sufix appealed the decision on grounds that the plaintiff had failed to prove gross negligence or reckless indifference, which is required for an instruction for punitive damages.
At the Court of Appeals, the plaintiff's counsel argued that Sufix could and should have discovered the defect in the course of testing prior to release of the product, that its testing had been grossly inadequate, and that it had produced a stronger metal-capped version of the trimmer for distribution in Italy, where the weaker plastic version was rejected.
The Court of Appeals held that "a manufacturer's failure to test for defects that pose a risk of serious injury and that are susceptible to adequate pre-release testing can amount to a conscious or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others and thus can justify an award of punitive damages."
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective weed trimmer, you may be entitled to compensation. A qualified product liability attorney can assess your case and advise you with regard to your legal rights.