Riding Lawnmower Injury


Each year, hundreds of small children are tragically maimed by riding lawnmowers backing up with the cutting blades turning. The children most frequently injured by backover blade contact are ages 2 to 5. Virtually all of these accidental injuries could have been prevented if the manufacturer of the riding lawnmower had used a simple and inexpensive “No Mow In Reverse” (NMIR) safety feature. NMIR safety features have been designed into all MTD/Cub Cadet riding lawnmowers since the early 1983 and into riding lawnmowers manufactured by John Deere beginning in 1998. By 2001 riding lawnmowers manufactured by Toro, Snapper, and Kubota were all equipped with NMIR safety features. Sears Craftsman, Husqvarna and Murray did not equip their riding lawnmowers with NMIR safety features until approximately September, 2004.

Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has failed to create any mandatory safety standards for riding lawnmowers. In 2003, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), a manufacturers’ organization which creates voluntary safety standards for riding lawnmowers, approved a standard which contemplates that NMIR safety features will be designed into riding lawnmowers sold after 2004. Riding lawnmower manufacturers have known for at least thirty (30) years that NMIR safety features would prevent young children from suffering catastrophic injuries from backover blade contact accidents; and the OPEI considered a NMIR safety standard for many years before 2003. Sadly, the OPEI did not approve a NMIR safety standard until the majority of the manufacturers had already designed NMIR safety features into their products.

Sears Craftsman, Husqvarna and Murray continued to manufacture and sell riding lawnmowers without NMIR safety features until approximately September, 2004. Similarly, John Deere, Snapper, Toro and Kubota have not offered to retrofit any of the riding lawnmowers which they sold without NMIR safety features. Consequently, we anticipate that catastrophic backover blade contact injuries to young children will continue past 2010.

Since 1997, our law firm has successfully brought claims against the manufacturers and sellers of riding lawnmowers sold without an NMIR safety feature. In this regard, we have forced the manufacturers and sellers of these riding lawnmowers to pay money damages for the catastrophic injuries resulting from backover blade contact with a child. We attempt to recover for the injured child’s loss of wage earning capacity, past and future medical needs, as well as compensation for non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, physical disfigurement and mental anguish. We normally retain medical doctors with special expertise in life care planning to establish the long-term complications and costs associated with these catastrophic, mutilating injuries, which usually include amputation.

Most importantly, the certified safety professionals, engineering experts and medical experts, which we involve in backover blade contact accidents, are dedicated to raising awareness in the industry of the dangers associated with riding lawnmowers without “No Mow In Reverse” safety features. We believe that our efforts, as well as the efforts of our experts, have contributed to improving the safety of riding lawnmowers.