Chainsaws are powerful tools most often used by people in the landscaping and logging industries. Unfortunately, their ease-of-use and devastating power combine to cause major injuries. Unfortunately, there is often little training for employees and even less for private citizens. In some cases, the manufacturer of a chainsaw can be held liable for injuries sustained in a chainsaw accident as well.
Even celebrities aren't spared. Greg Norman was a PGA legend and still managed to nearly lose his hand while attempting to cut mandrakes at his Florida home. The above video illustrates the necessity of using both hands while operating a chainsaw. His story is one of the more famous but it is easy to find video and photos online of the tragic consequences of these accidents.The Stats Behind Chainsaw Accidents in California and the U.S.
There are approximately 30,000 chainsaw accidents each year and, according to one insurance underwriter the average accident can cost more than $10,000 in medical bills. In the case of loggers and landscapers, they may need at least a month to recover from their wounds. The medical costs are staggering, totaling some $350 million or more annually.
What's interesting is that the U.S. Department of Labor only has 200 such incidents coded into its accident database on behalf of workers. That is an impossibly low number, for it would assume that only one in 150 injuries occur while someone is on the job. There are a number of factors that could come into play. Obviously, people who work with chainsaws are more likely to have some training. However, it also brings up the likelihood that businesses may want to underreport injuries.
Not only does it limit their liability for workers' compensation insurances but it reduces the likelihood that they will be investigated by government agencies.Steps to Take to Limit Chainsaw Injuries
What's ironic is that better training and inexpensive equipment (chaps costing less than $100 in this case) could limit employers' liability and reduce the odds off these accidents. Some key factors that have led to hundreds of injuries include:
- Using an underpowered chainsaw - This can lead to the tool getting stuck in the wood or other material, leading to difficulty for the operator when trying to extract it.
- Wearing loose clothes - One man's jaw is permanently disfigured, not because of the wood he was trying to chop but because of his own hooded sweatshirt. One of the ties got caught in the chainsaw, pulling his face into the blade in a horrific scene.
- Using the device one-handed - Chainsaw accidents have increased in recent years in part because manufacturers have improved the products and reduced their weight. Unfortunately, while it is possible for some to hold a chainsaw one-handed because of its weight, the torque that it can produce makes it very risky to attempt it.
- Faulty equipment - Chainsaws include a number of parts that will wear down from the blades to the links between the chains themselves. If any of these parts fail, the chain may come off of the saw and strike the user or anyone nearby. Many chainsaws are also defective in design.
- Inadequate safety gear - In addition to the relatively inexpensive chaps noted above, most experts recommend users with a chainsaw wear eye and ear protection, a hard hat and steel-toed boots.
If you feel that the manufacturer may be liable for your injuries, contact us today.
Negligence can extend to the manufacturer of a saw for a number of reasons. Examples of manufacturer liability include manufacturer defects, design flaws, or incorrect operating instructions.
Manufacturer's defects, while relatively uncommon, occur when a product that is used for its intended purpose causes injury. For example, this could be a chainsaw with a defective kickback lever or bad chain link that fails under normal use. In general, manufacturer's defects will only affect a handful of saws.
Design flaws and defective designs which cause injury occur when a manufacturer fails to anticipate the intended use of a product such as a chainsaw.
Operating instructions can be to blame if they fail to warn operators of the product of dangers which can arise from using the product. This could mean incorrect instructions, lack of warning labels or other failures to warn of dangers which may not be obvious.Employers May Be Liable in Chainsaw Accident Lawsuits
Of course, it is possible that a chainsaw accident in California could be the result of user error. For example, using older blades, air-dropping them to start them and using an underpowered tool can all be the responsibility of the owner or user IF they are aware of them.
However, in many cases, personal injury lawyers in California are finding that there is little or no training before workers start using chainsaws. Too often, workers are thrown into duty with little more than instructions on how to turn the tool on.
In addition to the tips noted above, it is not always clear who is responsible for inspecting the tool to ensure minimal risk of any potential chainsaw accident. Further, companies may expect workers to have their own safety equipment even though they may not mention what is recommended.
The tool manufacturer may also face liability issues if it's found that a defect in the tool led to the chainsaw accident in California or the other states. Proving this can be difficult and may require a legal team with expertise in tracking down past incidents and injuries.What Damages May Be Available
In addition to the parties who may be liable, it's also important to note what damages a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain. For example, if you have not been able to obtain workers' compensation insurance payments even though the incident occurred on the job, they may be able to help. They may also be able to seek damages based on medical bills, pain and suffering as well as lost future earnings.Get Help with Your California Chainsaw Accident Case Today
Statistics show that getting into an accident involving a chainsaw can be devastating both in terms of injuries as well as the recovery process. Finding the right legal representation to get the best results based on the merits of your case is critical.
I’m Ed Smith, a California Chainsaw Accident Attorney. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or has passed away as a result of a chainsaw accident, please call me at 916.921.6400 for free and friendly advice.
I’ve been helping people recover compensation for their personal injuries and wrongful deaths for more than 33 years.
See my long history of success on my our past verdicts and settlements page.