The Zero-Turn-Radius Rotary Mower
Earlier this month, two fatal accidents involving zero-turn-radius mowers
occurred in neighboring Ohio counties within a week. In both cases, the
lawnmower rolled over and pinned the driver underwater. Unfortunately,
these tragic accidents happen needlessly and all-too-frequently. As warmer
weather approaches, lawnmower sales will inevitably increase and it is
important to discuss a few simple ways to avoid this kind of tragedy.
A Zero-turn-radius (ZTR) rotary riding mower is a type of lawn mower that
is able to make a turn of equal degrees upon its own track. Zero-turn-radius
riding mowers were designed to out-steer most lawn tractors at an increased
speed with ease of maneuverability. Often used by commercial landscapers
on golf courses or parks, the ZTR mower is fast becoming the lawn mower
of choice for residential and private home use.
Manufacturers of ZTR mowers often tout the benefits of being able to cut
grass in tight spaces and effectively cut close to trees and other objects
in your yard; thus, eliminating the need for other landscaping equipment,
such as trimmers, and saving time for the consumer. However, built for
speed, the high-powered zero-turn-radius rotary mower has characteristics
that make it more prone to rollover when they encounter small holes or
slight grades in the terrain. These rollovers can lead to catastrophic
injuries such as broken or fractured bones, severed limbs, burns and most
seriously death, as we witnessed in Ohio earlier this month.
Consumer Safety: What to Know about Zero-Turn-Radius Riding Mowers
Fortunately, many of the injuries from riding lawn mower accidents can
be easily prevented by manufacturer-installed guards, roll bars, and seatbelts.
When consumers purchase these mowers, they should make sure that they
are equipped with Roll Over Protective Structures, also known as ROPS.
The purpose of ROPS is to prevent the user from being thrown from, crushed
or pinned under the machine to reduce injury risks and increase survival
chances. Unfortunately, ROPS are optional equipment upgrades on many mowers
and tractors and are often not purchase or used.
Manufacturers have long known the high incidence of lawn mower accidents
and the propensity of riding lawn mowers to rollover during normal use.
Yet many manufacturers have chosen not to install these safety frames
to protect operators when such accidents inevitably occur. If inadequate
safety systems contributed to severe injuries or wrongful death in a lawn
mower accident, a product liability case may exist.
In addition, ZTR drivers should use extra caution when riding on slopes
and near water as these mowers turn over easily and usually weigh several
hundred pounds. An unexpected ditch bank collapse sufficient to cause
an overturn can be obscured by high vegetation and result in injury for
even the most experienced operators. It is also important to remember
that ZTR controls are much more responsive than those of an ordinary riding
mower lawn tractor. Therefore, any quick movement with either hand for
any reason can result in a sudden and unexpected turn - including turns
that lead off an embankment or down a slope.
personal injury and
wrongful death attorneys at Rourke and Blumenthal have the necessary experience and resources to
successfully litigate the growing number of riding lawn mower accident
cases in Ohio and across the country. If you or a loved one has been injured
in any kind of lawn mower accident,
contact our attorneys today to discuss your case or set up a consultation.