I'm amazed by this! Is anyone actually responsible for anything they do anymore? I don't see any mention of contributory negligence in the report, but seriously, if you are using tools regardless of whether they are top of the range or budget tools, you should always use them as though they don't have any safety features whatsoever.
Both at work and at home I've done some awful mischief to myself, but I've never considered that someone other than myself or chance was to blame.
Looking at the sawstop technology briefly, it's a good idea, but it's not fool proof by any stretch of the imagination. The plaintiff above would still sue because it doesn't provide continuous repeatability, i.e. you have to stop work and replace the sawstop cartridge each time it is triggered. It's not necessarily always convenient to do that, maybe you've run out of cartridges and need to buy some, or you're nearly finished a job.
The problem with lawsuits like this is it makes it much more difficult for people who have genuinely suffered because of a defect in design or manufacture, rather than the absence of a safety feature.
Safety features actually make people take more chances and risks around machinery than the absence of them. I've seen it done and couldn't believe it, the response I got was "It's got a safety system that prevents that". No machine should ever be considered to be safe because of a feature.
The legal profession is wholly to blame for instilling the whole "It's not your fault you're injured, it's someone else's" belief in people. I wonder how many lawyers would accept a case where someone who lost a case like this decided to sue the original lawyer.
I saw a documentary on the phenomenon of "no-win, no-fee" legal injury claims in Britain recently. It has left town councils in an awful way, because they cannot do anything without first considering the risk to anyone. If one of the cases is anything to go by, they soon won't be able to allow people to walk on footpaths in case they trip over something, or enjoy the public parks in case a tree falls on them! Yes, someone claimed against a council because a branch banged them on the head!
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