October 16

Examples of Claims: Landscaper Severs Fingers

Pedro Maldonado filed a lawsuit on Oct. 5 in the Harris County District Court against Marco A. Velazquez, Eric Cervantes and Vincente E. Velazquez, claiming negligence.

Maldonado claims that on March 26, 2010, while working as an employee for the landscaping business owned by the three defendants, he was asked to tend to a lawnmower that he described as being in disrepair, and his fingers were severed in the lawnmower blade.

“In an attempt to control the bleeding, defendant Vicente thought it would be a good idea to through [sic] gasoline in the plaintiff’s face to control the bleeding,” Maldonado’s lawyer said in the suit. “Needless to say, the medical care provided by Vicente neither stopped the bleeding nor caused the Plaintiffs fingers to re-attach themselves.”

The plaintiff seeks a maximum recovery of $1 million.


The obvious lesson from the story above is to make sure all machines are completely turned off when beginning to work on them. It wasn’t written in the story, but from the sounds of it, the employee was working on a lawnmower that was probably jammed. While making repairs, the lawnmower blades began moving again and caught his fingers. It doesn’t sound feasible that his fingers were severed working on a machine that was completely turned off. Working on machines that are completely turned off is a topic we’ve discussed before; however, there is another topic within this story that should be brought to light.

The fact that the injured man’s supervisor attempted to stop the bleeding by pouring gasoline on the defendant’s face just sounds ridiculous. It is blatant that the injured man and his supervisor didn’t know a thing about first aid.

Being able to act quickly and correctly when an employee or anyone else for that matter is injured on a job site can make the injury less severe in the long run. If the supervisor in the story above took the necessary steps, like wrapping the severed fingers in a shirt or rag and applying pressure to slow the bleeding and then calling 911 to get help, the injuries sustained could have been less severe. Instead he poured gasoline on the injured man’s face, which if nothing else probably caused the man to panic.

Having employees and supervisors that are trained in first aid is a must in fields of work where workers are using dangerous tools. It can help keep people calm and mitigate their injuries, and in some cases, could even save someone’s life.

For more information on landscaping insurance and risk management, visit LandPro / TreePro.

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