Toro recently recalled snowblowers that were sold between November 2020 and January 2021 due to a risk of amputation. The recalled snowblowers, also called snowthrowers, were sold nationwide and online at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Toro-authorized dealers. According to Toro, the auger (the rotating corkscrew device) may fail to disengage when the control lever is released. Several reports made to the company have indicated that the auger did not stop spinning when the control lever was released. To date, no injuries have been reported, but a high risk of injury and amputation can occur with continued use of the recalled snowblowers.
Defective products, like the Toro snowblowers, can cause serious injuries. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, snow blower operators suffer more than 500 amputations and more than 5,000 emergency room visits annually. Since 1992, there have been 19 deaths involving snow blowers. Most of the injuries suffered by slow blower operators occur when trying to clear snow and ice from either the auger or the discharge chute. The likelihood of a clogged auger or discharge chute increases based on several factors, including heavy, wet snow, temperatures higher than 28 degrees, and snow accumulation greater than six inches.
Typically, snowblowers cause hand injuries and finger amputations. Generally, injuries occur to the dominant hand, with amputations of the fingertips. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the average person who suffers a snowblower injury is a 44 year-old male. In order to prevent injury, the CPSC recommends that the user of the snowblower stop the engine and use a long stick to unclog wet snow and debris from the machine, keep hands and feet away from all moving parts, and be present of where the power cord is.
Even if you follow the CPSC’s guidelines to avoid injury, an injury may still occur due to a defect in the snowblower’s design or manufacturing process. Product liability cases, where a person is injured by a defective product, can be difficult and require an attorney with extensive product liability experience. In Illinois, the plaintiff has the burden to prove, often through the testimony of consulting engineers and other technical experts, that the product was unsafe when it was placed in the stream of commerce, that it was used as intended, and that the injuries caused by the defective product were reasonably foreseeable to the manufacturer. For more information about successfully proving a product liability claim in Illinois, visit our blog HERE.
Serious injuries, including traumatic amputations, can result from defective products. The cost of treating these injuries can easily add up. The knowledgeable attorneys at John J. Malm & Associates have successfully handled complicated injuries for our clients who have suffered serious injuries as a result of defective products. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a product failure, contact the Naperville product liability lawyers at the law firm of John J. Malm & Associates to learn more about how you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.