Fatal Lawn Tractor Accidents: Zero-Turn Radius Mowers Overturn

People often worry about car or truck collisions, but generally most aren’t concerned about potential accidents involving riding lawn mowers or larger lawn tractors. Unfortunately, accidents on these vehicles can also be deadly, as a recent Texas mower accident tragically demonstrated.

This past November, a 33-year-old contract worker mowing the right-of-way for a drainage area in Jefferson County was killed in a fatal accident. Approximately a mile east of South China Road, his lawn tractor overturned when it slipped from a canal levee. The mower was found in the canal under several feet of water and mud, and a dive team was called to recover the worker’s body.

Although many people may find the zero-turn radius rotary mowers (ZTR mowers) convenient and time-saving, they are also susceptible to rollovers, yet most lack rollover protection systems (ROPS). When such a powerful lawn tractor overturns, those driving it are at risk for serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Consumers are particularly at risk when driving on slopes or embankments due to the mower’s poor center of gravity, lack of rollover protection mechanisms, and sometimes overly responsive controls. Once the mower overturns, the operator may be pinned under a lap bar or armrest, in some cases leading to asphyxiation.

Although these lawn tractors were originally manufactured for commercial use, more recently the mowers have been used by homeowners in residential areas. Parents should be reluctant to permit children to drive these mowers due to the potential for serious injury.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a lawn tractor, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can consult with industry experts to establish potential design defects, and help you hold responsible parties accountable.