Lawnmower Fires – Could the Manufacturer Be Liable for Your Burn Injuries?
How Do Lawnmower Fires Start?
A typical mower has what is known as a “float bowl.” In a gas engine, the fuel enters the carburetor that is opened and closed by a needle valve. When running, the fuel is drawn up from the bowl, and like a toilet, the float valve lowers which triggers more fuel to enter the bowl. If something is wrong with the components (like the needle valve), then the bowl can overflow just like a toilet. This is dangerous because it can result in an entire tank of gas emptying into the engine. A fire can then occur if the gas vapors ignite from any kind of spark or heat source.
The Importance of a Fuel Shutoff Valve in Lawnmowers
Some engines have what is known as a “fuel shutoff valve” (“automatic shutoff”). In the fuel tank of a gas engine, the fuel enters the tank through a dispenser nozzle. At the top of the tank, there is a small pipe under the dispenser nozzle called a “venturi.” When the gas tank fills almost to the top, gas goes into the venturi. When gas goes into the venturi, this causes the fuel shutoff valve to close. When the fuel shutoff valve closes, it stops the flow of gas to the dispenser nozzle and engine. A fuel shutoff valve eliminates the risk of fire caused by a float bowl not working like it’s supposed to.
No Fuel Shutoff Valve? The Manufacturer May Be Liable for Burn Injuries
If you become injured from a lawnmower fire the question becomes, was the mower equipped with a fuel shutoff valve? If it was, then the fire likely wouldn’t occur in the first place. If it was not, this could be a potential defective product design case. Manufacturers of products and devices are responsible for knowing industry best practices in order to mitigate any potential injury to consumers. In the lawnmower manufacturing industry, it is widely known that a fuel shutoff valve can be installed to prevent engine fires. Unfortunately manufacturers don’t always install a shutoff valve because doing so slightly increases the cost of manufacturing the mower.
Burn Injuries? Contact GoldenbergLaw
If a manufacturer designs a product that is not up to par with industry safety standards they are creating a hazard for consumers that could have been avoided. The manufacturer can be held legally liable for injuries caused by their failure to do all they can to keep consumers safe. If your mower catches fire, and it has no fuel shutoff valve the mower manufacturer may be liable for your burn injuries. If you find yourself in this situation and endure severe burns as a result of a lawnmower fire please give our office a call for a free case evaluation at 612-333-4662.