Just about everyone who lives in suburbia has a lawnmower. It is as commonplace as a driveway. But that’s where things can get a little deceptive. What most people don’t realize is that lawnmowers are extremely dangerous. This year, more than 70,000 people will be injured due to a lawnmower accident of some kind. Yes, that beautiful summer day when you decide to manicure your lawn, under a warm sun and gentle breeze – can turn into a nightmare of the worst kind. Proven by an unexpected trip to the Emergency Room.
Here are some unbelievable statistics:
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010, more than 235,000 adults and 17,000 children in the U.S. were injured by lawn mowers. And here’s where gender counts: Boys usually have 80% of lawnmower injuries, which most often occur on their arms or their hands.
What is even worse: Riding lawn mowers can cause more injuries annually than push mowers. Why? That’s because they can tip and roll over, placing a child - or a pet -- at risk of being run over and severely injured. Each year, according to CPSC statistics, about 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors, which typically back over them or tip over.
As a Westwood, Mass., lawn mower accident attorney, I’ve seen my share of lawnmower injuries. Also, many years ago, someone I know had a five-year-old nephew whose fingers were amputated by a lawn mower. This tragic incident is forever in my head every time that I cut my own grass. Yes, most people would acknowledge that lawnmowers are dangerous – but they typically have no idea of just how deadly they are. Typically, a mower’s steel cutting blade spins at more than 2,000 revolutions per minute. Worse, the blade tip may move at 200 mph.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, whose members care for lawnmower accident victims every day, reiterates these facts. The organization has estimated that the energy that is transferred by a typical lawn mower blade is almost the equivalent of being shot in the hand with a .357 magnum pistol. The results are horrific.
And to be more graphic: Here’s more bad news. An injury from lawn mower blade is typically not a “clean” cut. Usually, the wound is filled with grass, dirt, and other bacteria. The blade speed can also turn rocks, sticks, and other debris into deadly projectiles.
An engine mower is also dangerous; it can get so hot that it can ignite the gasoline, causing third-degree burns. More to worry about.
Mow The Lawn And Toe The Line
How can you protect yourself?
1). Check out the condition of your lawnmower before you use it. When something breaks, have it repaired - immediately.
2). Don’t ever use the mower without its safety equipment functioning properly. Most walk-behind mowers come with a special switch, called a “dead-man.” It shuts off the mower and applies a blade brake when the operator releases the handle. Don’t ever remove this switch or tie it down.
3). Also, most lawnmowers are equipped with a guard on the discharge chute. This plastic directs the mower discharge down and into the ground. If the mower hits a rock, the chute can keep it from shattering a window or striking someone. If the chute clogs while you are mowing, shut the mower off and use a stick to clear it – NOT your hand.
3). When you fill the gas tank, shut off the mower and let it cool before filling the tank.
4). Never mow the grass while barefoot or wearing sandals. Sneakers are probably best, as they protect your feet and also provide traction. Also wear close-fitting clothing that can’t be caught in the engine or in the gears.
5). Perform your due diligence. That’s “lawyer-speak,” but what it means is that you should check your lawn, before you mow the grass, to make sure there are no sticks or stones that might turn into projectiles by the lawnmower, and cause someone serious harm.
6). Keep children and pets as far away from the lawnmower as possible. Optimally, keep children and pets inside when you mow the lawn.
7). Whatever you do, don’t ever give a child a “fun ride” as a passenger on a lawnmower.
As I said above, every year, hundreds of children are run over, or have a limb or finger amputated when they have been “passengers” on a riding mower. Also, remember that it is prudent to make sure kids are at least 12 years old before they operate a push mower, and 16 years old before they use a riding mower.
If the nightmare of nightmare happens – and you or someone you love is injured in a Massachusetts lawnmower accident, promptly get in touch with our offices at (781) 320-0062 or (617) 285-3600. Our legal team can assist you in making the wisest legal decisions at this excruciatingly painful time.