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Defective Saw Injury Claims – When to File a Lawsuit

Defective Saw Injury Claims – When to File a Lawsuit

A person using a power saw

In this article, we’ll break down the following:

According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 64,000 people annually sustain saw-related injuries. Of these, about 3,500 required amputations. That works out to an average of 10 amputations a day.

When a defective saw or saw blade causes injuries to the user, the manufacturer of the product must be held accountable. If you have been the victim of a defective saw, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Here’s everything you need to know about defective saw injury claims.

Defective Saw Injury Claims – Definition

Saws have many applications in masonry, woodworking, and metal-cutting. Whether you’re using a handheld power saw, chainsaw, or table saw, these tools are incredibly powerful and have the potential to inflict devastating injuries, some of which can result in lacerations, amputation, or, worse, death.

Most injuries resulted from defective tools or the absence of basic safety guards and other mandatory features. When these safeguards fail, users face dangerous situations that are almost always impossible to avoid.

Since injuries happen in split seconds, employers must take all the necessary precautions to avoid them. Likewise, the product manufacturer is also responsible for ensuring its saws are properly designed and thoroughly tested before they go on the market.

When a defective power tool design results in an accident, the manufacturer is liable for the injuries and damages sustained by the victim. Defective saw injury claims seek to hold these companies accountable for preventable injuries resulting from their defective saws.

Common Types of Saw Defects

Common saw defects include:

  • Defective triggers
  • Improper feed rate
  • Inadequate warnings or instructions
  • Loose, broken, chipped, misaligned, or faulty blades
  • Missing or faulty safety guards and
  • Overheating saws
  • Saw blade kickbacks
  • Use of poor-quality saw materials

Common Types of Injuries Caused By Defective Saws

Regardless of the type of saw, the injuries they inflict can be catastrophic. In some cases, they can even be fatal. Below are some of the most common types of injuries caused by defective saws:

  • Amputation of or severe lacerations to the hand(s) or finger(s)
  • Burn injuries
  • Crush injuries, including crushed hands or fingers
  • Eye injuries, including blindness
  • Head and face injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Orthopedic trauma, including bone fracture

Liability in Defective Saw Injury Claims

Liability in defective saw injury claims can vary depending on the situation and the circumstances surrounding the victim’s injuries. When power saws, chainsaws, and table saws become defective, liability can usually be assigned to one of three parties: The company that made the saw, the retailer that sold the saw, or the employer who continued to use the saw even after the potential threat became apparent.

Manufacturer Liability

When defective products cause injury, these incidents will typically be categorized as strict product liability claims. In such instances, victims are not obligated to go the usual personal injury route which entails proving that the liable party was negligent.

Provided they can demonstrate that the tool in question or, in this case, the saw, was defective and that the defect was the proximate cause of their injuries, the manufacturer will be liable for the resulting damages.

Retailer Liability

If a product is found to be defective and is subsequently recalled by the manufacturer, retailers that sell it are required by law to remove it from their shelves as soon as possible. Any retailer selling a defective saw in contravention of a recall on the product will be held liable if a consumer purchases it and suffers injuries.

Employer Liability

Workers regularly use power equipment, including saws, in their work. Employers and supervisors are responsible for regularly inspecting and maintaining every tool used within their premises. Inspection and maintenance include being aware of recalls on saws used in their work environment.

Any employer who becomes aware of a recall on a piece of machinery but continues to let their employees use it would be deemed grossly negligent. The employer will be liable if any worker sustains injuries from using the recalled tool.

The victim would be entitled to workers’ compensation and may, under limited circumstances, file a third-party personal injury claim against their employer to seek additional forms of damages.

Consumer Liability

In some cases, the victim of a defective saw could be held liable for their own injuries, even if the equipment in question was under recall. While this scenario isn’t as common as the other three detailed above, it is not unusual to encounter such situations.

A user of a defective saw is liable for their own injuries if they knew or were expected to know about the recall but continued to use the tool anyway, failing to heed the manufacturer’s recommendations or directives from the CPSC. Consumer liability means that the victim cannot hold any third party liable for any injuries they sustained from a defective saw.

Examples of Products That Caused Saw Injuries

Defective Portable Circular Power Saws

Loose, Broken, Chipped, Misaligned, or Faulty Blades

  • A saw blade detached from the spindle while in use due to a sheared blade lock bolt. The incident could have resulted in severe lacerations to the user’s hands.
  • A saw blade came off the spindle and hit the user in the forehead. The victim sustained serious lacerations.

Missing or Malfunctioning Safety Guards and Features

  • A loose blade guard on a brand-new circular power saw was due to a poorly designed spring meant to hold it in place. This defect could have resulted in amputation or severe lacerations to the user’s hands or fingers.
  • A brand-new saw did not have the safety switch required for the trigger to activate the motor. It meant a user might inadvertently pull the trigger when picking up the saw, resulting in severe injuries.

Saw Blade Kickbacks

  • A circular power saw kicked back while in operation, causing the user to release the trigger. The saw blade continued to spin despite the user letting go of the trigger, which could have caused serious lacerations.

Use of Poor Quality Saw Materials

  • A saw setup collapsed, and the blade cut the user’s finger.
  • The blade mounting snapped in two, and each piece flew off at high speed. The user could have sustained serious injuries to the head and face.

Defective Chainsaws

Missing or Malfunctioning Safety Guards and Features

  • A new mini chainsaw lacked a safety switch, chain guard, and chain brake, making it extremely hazardous to use or leave unattended.
  • A saw was not equipped with a chain brake, increasing the likelihood of kickback and, as a result, the potential for head and face injuries.

Overheating Saws

  • The chainsaw’s aluminium housing would overheat, causing the filler cap to loosen and the bar oil to drain. This flaw was a potential fire hazard and could cause burn injuries to the user.
  • A faulty gas cap on a gasoline chainsaw posed a fire hazard due to the engine overheating. If the gas in the reservoir caught fire, the user would sustain serious burns.

Defective Bench or Table Saws

Missing or Malfunctioning Safety Guards and Features

  • A safety guard left about four inches of the saw blade exposed. As a result, the user sustained a serious laceration on their thumb that required surgery.
  • A table saw moved unexpectedly while in operation, injuring the user’s thumb and ring finger. The user was rushed to their local urgent care, where they got the cuts sutured.

Saw Blade Kickbacks

  • The locking lever on a table saw was defective, increasing the likelihood of a hazardous kickback.

Use of Poor Quality Saw Materials

  • A defective on/off switch made it impossible to power off the saw as long as it was connected to power. This defect posed the potential for serious injuries.
  • Poor quality sliders on a saw’s rip fence came off easily, which meant the saw could move unexpectedly while in operation. This could result in severe lacerations to the user.

Florida Case Law on Defective Product Claims

Under Florida Law, injured parties can pursue a defective product claim under three main theories: Design defect, manufacturing defect, and marketing defect.

Like most states, Florida adopts a strict liability system for such cases. It means that manufacturers, designers, or retailers can be held liable for damages caused by a defective product, even with no evidence of negligence in the design process.

To establish strict liability, all the plaintiff has to show is that:

  1. The manufacturer designed and made the product in question;
  2. The product was defective;
  3. The defect rendered the product unreasonably dangerous; and
  4. The defective product was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

The burden rests on the manufacturer to prove that the product in question was reasonably safe for its intended purpose when it went on the market.

Holding product manufacturers to a strict liability standard ensures that most products released to the market adhere to the highest possible safety guidelines. This is in addition to other applicable safety standards governed by other governmental bodies, including but not limited to the CPSC and OSHA.

Likewise, there are Federal Safety Standards for consumer products under the Consumer Protection Safety Act. Some are voluntary (for gasoline-powered chain saws), while others are mandatory. Manufacturers must adhere to these standards accordingly.

Florida Case Law Related to Defective Saws

Anderson v. Techtronic Indus. N. Am., Inc. (2015)

Issue: The plaintiff initiated the claim after the table saw designed and manufactured by the defendants slipped forward while in use, ultimately severing the index, middle, and ring fingers on his left hand. While the table saw’s initial design had a hood-style 3-in-1 blade guard, the plaintiff’s brother had removed it at some point before the accident.

Result: The jury found in favor of the plaintiff on his strict product liability claim and in favor of the defendants on the plaintiff’s negligence claim. In their verdict, the jury determined that the plaintiff was 75% responsible for his injuries owing to his own negligence and, as a result, was awarded $26,949 in damages.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky: Background

With several decades of cumulative courtroom experience under their belts, Alan Sackrin and Larry Tolchinsky have helped hundreds of clients with various legal issues. The firm offers representation for litigation, arbitration, mediation, and appeals in several practice areas, including:

  • Catastrophic car accidents
  • Wrongful Death
  • Slip and Falls
  • Insurance claims/denials
  • All other serious personal injury claims

At Sackrin & Tolchinsky, we aim to provide the best possible legal assistance to help you get the most favorable outcome in your claim. We’ve adopted the latest technology to minimize the cost of service delivery to our clients and provide personalized help for fast and fair resolutions to legal matters.

Sackrin and Tolchinsky’s Experience as Injury Claims Lawyers

Alan Sackrin is a product liability lawyer with decades of experience in defective product injury claims. He has successfully represented clients in complex cases involving defective products and helped them recover the compensation they deserved.

One notable case Alan handled involved Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., where a woman sustained severe injuries after her tire blew out on the highway while driving. Alan successfully proved the tire’s defectiveness, securing a significant settlement for his client.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by what you consider to be a defective saw, consult a product liability attorney as soon as possible.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky attorneys have several decades of experience representing victims of defectively manufactured products. They have the knowledge and expertise to help you prove your case and get the settlement you deserve.

Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation to discuss the specifics of your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should I take if I am injured due to a defective saw?

If you have been injured by what you believe to be a defective saw, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Seek urgent care as soon as possible.
  2. Preserve evidence and document everything, including your medical records.
  3. Consult an experienced product liability lawyer as soon as you can.
  4. Identify what kind of defective saw injury claim you have. Did your injuries result from a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect?
  5. Identify the liable parties in your claim.
  6. Determine your damages.

What kind of damages can I recover in a defective saw injury claim?

You can recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses incurred
  • Projected costs of any future medical care you might need
  • Lost wages if you had to miss work due to your injuries or if your ability to work in the future has been impaired
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress

What is the statute of limitations for filing a defective saw injury claim in Florida?

The statute of limitation for product liability cases based on strict liability is 4 years. For product liability cases based on negligence, please call us to discuss your case, as a recent statutory change in the law has caused uncertainty to the limitations period.

Do You Have A Question? Call Alan Sackrin Today For a Free Case Evaluation

As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Expert for over 40+ years, Alan Sackrin has extensive experience with product liability lawsuits. He offers a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with an expert civil trial lawyer about your product liability case, call Alan at 945-458-8655.