$13 Million Total Damage Verdict | Crawford v Hobart
Smart safety engineers design machines knowing that we are all fallible and get fatigued, stressed or distracted. Well made safety devices account for this and work independently of the operator.
For example, our microwave ovens automatically shut off when we open the door. Hair dryers have a fault interrupter that stops electrical current if it is accidently dropped into a tub or sink. And our electric garage doors have a beam of light that prevents us from lowering the door on a bicycle, pet or child. Designers of commercial meat saws should design guards that automatically deploy when the operator is not using the saw.
Danny Crawford was a professional meat cutter for over 30 years without injury or accident. When his boss called him away from his saw, he was distracted and thought he had lowered the blade guard. But it was still operating and was unguarded. When he returned to his station and reached for a tool, the moving saw blade caught the sleeve of his smock and his right arm was amputated.Matt and Bob Spohrer represented the Crawfords in a Federal Court trial in Jacksonville. The jury found both parties were responsible and awarded Danny full damages of over 13 million.