This case involves an injury that resulted from the unsafe use of a feller buncher. The plaintiff, an adult male, had just exited his car in a supermarket parking lot. As he began walking towards the store, a large piece of metal was launched at him and impaled his chest. The piece of metal was launched by a feller buncher being operated in the adjacent lot, which was being cleared by a contractor to create additional parking space. The feller buncher was less than 150 feet away at the time of the incident. The man sustained significant injuries and will require a lifetime of special care, and dozens of surgeries.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
1. Is it unsafe to operate a feller buncher within 150 feet of an active parking lot, where customers of a store are unaware of the danger this machine may cause?
2. If the operator of this feller buncher had been advised to inspect the grounds prior to using the feller buncher, is it fair to assume that he was responsible for locating large metal debris in this area prior to operating equipment on this tract of land?
Expert Witness Response E-001117
There are significant risks when using the feller buncher that uninformed bystanders could never foresee. We must rely on the loggers/operators to keep bystanders safe. In this particular case, it seems as though the loggers did not uphold their duty. I have significant experience with feller bunchers, both from an operating standpoint as well as a management perspective. I was heavily involved in the development of a safety manual for the manufacturer of feller bunchers as well.
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