On January 23rd, 2020, STIHL issued a recall for its RE 90 Pressure Washers. The recall was issued because the nozzle on the pressure washer can potentially detach from the spray wand due to the pressure. As a result, the user can be seriously injured from the pressure of the water. About 16,400 of the units were recalled.
The pressure washers themselves are orange and grey in color. The words STIHL RE 90 are on the front of the unit. The wands are 15 inches long and can be attached to the spray gun. The spray wand also has the potential for other interchangeable nozzles to be placed on it.
The units were manufactured in China and imported into Virginia by STIHL Inc. They were sold at various STIHL-authorized dealerships across the nation for a few months, from May 2019 through October 2019. They cost about $180 to purchase.
The company has received seven separate incident reports about the spray nozzle detaching from the wand. Fortunately, no injuries have accompanied the detachments. The company recommends that owners stop using the pressure washers immediately. They can receive a free replacement spray wand to be reattached to the pressure washer.
Injuries from Pressure Washers
Pressure washers are deceptively dangerous. Even though they are merely water, they can shoot jets out of the nozzles at more than 1500 PSi. This is enough to cause severe damage to hands and other limbs. The washers are powerful enough to clean caked dirt, grime, and other materials off patios and houses, so it is no surprise that they can tear flesh to shreds. Some of the common injuries from pressure washers include:
- Skin damage
- Muscle damage
- Nerve injuries
- Torn flesh and deep tissue injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Facial injuries
- Sensory damage
Injuries from fragments of glass, rocks, and other materials that may have been blasted away during use of the pressure washer.
It is important to practice extreme caution and safety when you use a pressure washer. If you have not been adequately briefed or trained to use the unit, you should refrain from operating it. Many injuries happen due to novices being unable to adequately work the machine. However, if there is a defect or malfunction with the pressure washer, even the most seasoned users can sustain injuries.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit against STIHL
Product liability lawsuits require that you prove that the company was negligent in some way. This is the basis for all personal injury claims, but lawsuits against businesses have a more specific set of rules. These points are as follows:
- There was a design flaw with the product
- There was a manufacturing error with the product
- There were no hazard signs or warnings on the product or on its packaging
A design flaw generally happens when the product is still on the drawing board. The measurements and such must all work accordingly, and the actual logistics or mechanics of the item must not be faulty. The pressure washer by STIHL was likely designed just fine. There was likely a manufacturing error, though, which can be attributed to the machinery making a mistake when the product was churned out, or the wrong materials were used. The spray nozzles may have been wrongly fitted or wrongly assembled. It is a common error for batches of products to have problems, as machines may not operate to full potential all o the time. It can be hard to locate certain batches, especially if there are not unique product numbers on each.
Further, all pressure washers have warnings on them that warn of the dangers of injuries from certain actions. A detachment is likely not a warning that needs to be listed, as defects are not normal.
If you wish to file a product liability claim, you will need sufficient proof on your side. We recommend following these steps to ensure that you have ample evidence to engage in your lawsuit.
The first step involves your well-being. You should go to the doctor to get treated for any injuries you suffered at once. If you wait too long to go to the doctor, you may negatively impact your claim. The insurance agent can look at the gap and assume that you were hurt in another incident and you are merely trying to place the blame on the pressure washer. Further, the longer you wait to get treatment, the more likely it is that you will actually worsen your injuries and compromise your health.
When you go to the doctor, you should hold on to all medical receipts, doctor’s notes, treatment notes, X-ray results, MRI results, and photos of your injuries. It is crucial that you document the process to show that there were no extra treatments and charges done.
Physical evidence will also come in handy. Pictures of the defective pressure washer will be helpful, as will photos of the scene of the accident. You may have been able to catch the incident on video, although it is unlikely. It is possible that the video was filmed on security cameras if you were in a protected or private location, though.
Physical evidence also includes the pressure washer itself. You should not throw the washer away, get rid of the spray nozzle, or do anything to tamper with it. If you try to fix it or bring it to a shop to be fixed, your claim will suffer. You need to keep the pressure washer just exactly as it is, or STIHL will contend that the damages were actually caused by your tampering.
Do not accept any refunds from the company or put the replacement nozzle on. If you do, you may not have any grounds for your lawsuit, as the company can claim that you were already compensated.
There may have been eyewitnesses who saw the incident happen. They can add their statements and testimonies to your claim. Additionally, you could enact a class action lawsuit or join one if there were other people who were injured due to the defective pressure washers – after all, more than 16,000 were recalled. All of the plaintiffs in the claim can pool their evidence together and use it to secure a single settlement from STIHL.
Be sure that you hold on to any receipts showing that you bought the pressure washer. If you do not have a physical copy of the receipt, you can go to your bank statement or credit card statement and pull up the charge. You may be able to corroborate the purchase with the store and get a confirmation number retroactively.
Finally, you should find an attorney with previous experience in product liability claims. If you attempt to handle your case by yourself, you may not succeed. A lawyer can work on your lawsuit from start to finish so you don’t have to. We know you may not have legal experience, and you should focus on recovering from your injuries while we deal with your case.
Value of a Product Liability Lawsuit against STIHL
Your product liability lawsuit against STIHL for injuries from a defective pressure washer may result in a large settlement. You could receive upwards of $50,000 for injuries if you can prove negligence of the company. We will see to it that you are given the fairest settlement available, including coverage for the following:
- Medical bills for treatments from the past and future Property damage if you needed to get reimbursement for your damaged belongings
- Lost income if you were unable to go to work for a period of time due to damages and treatments
- Pain and suffering damages for PTSD, anxiety, fear, and other emotional traumas
Deadline to Sue STIHL
In California, product liability lawsuits must be filed within 2 years of the date of the injury. If oyu do not sue within that time period, your claim will be void and you won’t be able to collect any compensation. your evidence may also get lost or corrupted the longer you wait.
It is possible that your lawsuit can be extended past the initial deadline in some scenarios. For example, minors cannot sue, so their states don’t begin until they are 18 years old, unless they have a guardian represent them. Incapacitated victims may not be in their right state of mind or physical health, and their statutes will also be suspended until they return to functionality. Additionally, the defendant must be present if you intend to sue – if he has vacated the state, the statute will be put on hold until he comes back.
Choosing Our Firm
For the best product liability lawsuit representation in Los Angeles, contact the Downtown LA Law Group. We have a history of success in such claims and our clients have benefited from the hundreds of millions of dollars we have won for them over the years. We are known as aggressive lawyers with a penchant for never giving up on any claim.
We will give you a free legal consultation if you call us about your case. You can ask us anything you wish and we’ll help you understand the legal process and the potential value of your claim. If you want us to handle your lawsuit, we will give you our zero fee guarantee. This means that you pay no fees win or lose for our services – our payment comes from the settlement we bring you, but if we lose, we take nothing at all.
To sue STIHL for injuries from a defective RE 90 Pressure Washer, contact the Downtown LA Law Group today.