Farm Tractor/Skid Steer Loader Accidents and Tractor Rollovers
Farm tractor accident and product safety attorney John Gehlhausen has represented families all across America who have had loved ones injured, or even killed, by defectively designed farm equipment. His extensive experience includes, but is certainly not limited to, farm tractor accidents, skid steer loader accidents and tractor rollovers .
Farm Tractor Injuries
Proper design of equipment can help prevent many farm tractor injuries by protecting operators if they make a mistake. Unfortunately, not all tractors and accessories are equipped with the appropriate designs, safety guards and/or warnings, which can lead to serious injury and death. Mr. Gehlhausen understands how devastating farm tractor accidents can be, and has made it his job to help injured persons and their families receive justice when unsafe products cause injuries.
It is estimated that 500 to 600 people are killed in farm tractor accidents each year in the United States, and for every person killed there are at least 40 others injured. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, farm tractor accidents cause more fatalities than any other type of accident on the farm. Several factors contribute to farm tractor accidents, including the amount of time the tractor is in use, the variety of uses, and the tractor’s power and substantial weight.
Tractor rollovers account for the majority of farm tractor accidents, but they are not the only danger riders face. Farm tractor accidents can take several different forms, such as falls, run over accidents, hitching accidents, and entanglement. Injuries resulting from farm tractor accidents include broken bones, head injuries, crush injuries, amputation, and, in severe cases, death.
Falls can involve both tractor drivers and extra riders (most often children) and can be caused by one small bump or hole in the ground. In many cases, fall victims are crushed under the wheels of the tractor or the trailing equipment. Hitching farm tractor accidents occur when the operator becomes caught between the tractor and the implement it is towing. Another cause of farm tractor accidents is entanglement. Loose clothing, shoelaces, hair, and limbs can become entangled in the tractor’s moving parts and cause serious injury or death. Many entanglements involve rotating power-takeoff components (PTO), which transfer power from the tractor to the implement. Because the PTO rotates so rapidly (16.6 times per second), unguarded shafts can catch loose clothing, hair, or limbs before the victim even has a chance to react. PTO farm tractor accidents usually involve the victim being drawn into the tractor or implement, causing broken bones, deep lacerations, amputation, or death. Designers, manufacturers, and suppliers of PTOs must ensure the PTO shaft is properly guarded to prevent serious farm tractor accidents from occurring. They must also provide complete and clear instructions to consumers and warnings for safe operation and maintenance.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving defective tractors, improperly guarded PTO shafts, or another piece of farm equipment, contact product safety attorney John Gehlhausen. He has experience helping victims of farm tractor accidents in Colorado and throughout the U.S. receive justice when an injury or death is caused by an unsafe product.
Mr. Gehlhausen is a tractor rollover attorney who has represented families of persons who have been injured or killed in
tractor rollovers. Tractor rollovers are the most common farm accidents to result in serious injury or death. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, tractor rollovers cause 52 percent of all fatal farm accidents. Tractor rollovers can occur in so many different ways that no one can name them all. But regardless of how they happen, there is no doubt they occur and will continue to occur until the law of gravity is repealed. In many tractor rollovers, victims suffer serious crush injuries to the head, chest, and pelvis because they become pinned under the weight of the tractor.
To prevent serious injury and death that is associated with tractor rollovers, all off road riding power machinery should be equipped with rollover protection structures (ROPS) consisting of roll bars and seat belts. ROPS are designed to protect drivers in the event of tractor rollovers by taking the full impact of the machine when it rolls. Although ROPS cannot prevent tractor rollovers, they can protect the driver from serious injury or death. In fact, according to the National Ag Safety Database, the use of ROPS and a seat belt is estimated to be 99 percent effective in preventing death or serious injury in the event of tractor rollovers.
Roll bars and seat belts have been available for tractors since the mid-1950s. Installing ROPS can lessen the risk of serious injury during tractor rollovers. If tractor manufacturers had installed ROPS on their tractors from the 1950s or 60s as standard equipment, the appalling toll of lives taken each year in inevitable tractor rollovers would not occur. Despite the number of incidents resulting in deaths and the lack of ROPS on the equipment, no major tractor manufacturer has undertaken a product recall at least on zero-turning radius equipment (ZTR). A program has been announced by one lawn mower manufacturer to install ROPS on its ZTR lawn tractors without ROPS. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a tractor rollover due to defective farm equipment, contact product safety attorney John Gehlhausen .
Skid Steer Loader Accidents
Skid steer loaders are useful on the farm and construction sites because they can haul an assortment of materials and fit into hard-to-reach spaces. Despite the machine’s compact size, skid steer loader accidents have the potential to cause serious injury and death. This is especially true because of the responsiveness of the controls. These machines are very unforgiving because of foreseeable errors with the controls.
During skid steer loader accidents, operators can be hit or crushed by the bucket, crushed in a rollover accident, run over, or pinned between the lift arm and the frame. Safety devices that often can prevent these foreseeable accidents exist but often are not installed by manufacturers in order to cut costs. In addition, manufacturers must provide complete warnings, operator instructions, and service procedures.
Despite their small size, skid steer loaders can be extremely dangerous. Skid steer loader accidents are devastating to victims and their families, especially if the accident is caused by a malfunction or defective design. Persons injured by skid steer loader accidents may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured, product safety attorney John Gehlhausen may be able to help.