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Family of Alabama Man Who Was Run Over by Tractor Sues John Deere



Family of Alabama Man Who Was Run Over by Tractor Sues John Deere

Last year, an Alabama resident was killed when he was run over by a John Deere tractor while he was refueling. A year later, his loved ones are filing a product liability lawsuit against Deere & Company Inc., claiming that the manufacturer was negligent.

The lawsuit claimed that the tractor was “defective and unreasonably dangerous by design”, alleging that the tractor was not designed to prevent tractor users from starting the machine from a dangerous position. The lawsuit went on to say that the deceased, William DeShannon Thomas, was simply fulfilling his duty to maintain the tractor as per the operation instructions. And, following these instructions caused the death of Mr. Thomas.

In other words, this boils down to a classic product liability lawsuit and legal claim. The attorney representing the family’s interests claimed that Deere & Company should have know that the model of tractor that killed Mr. Thomas “posed an unreasonable risk to all persons operating the tractor.”

Additionally, the law firm representing the family made mention of the fact that experts were consulted who stated the tractor failed to provide adequate warnings. Specifically, adequate warnings were not present with regards to the inherent injury or death risk of operating the tractor under ordinary conditions. The experts also indicated that the tractor was not adequately tested to ensure its safety for use by the general public. The lawsuit’s claims echo some of the common facts and circumstances needed to successfully win an Alabama product liability lawsuit.

Alabama Product Liability Lawsuits

In the tractor case, manufacturer negligence and a failure to warn customers were at the heart of the legal claim. However, additional defects can be grounds for a product liability lawsuit as well, including manufacturing defects and design defects.

One of the unique wrinkles of a product liability lawsuit is the ability for victims to recover under a strict liability theory.

In a typical Alabama personal injury case, your attorney must prove that:

  1. The person or entity that caused the injury was negligent
  2. That person or entity’s negligence caused an injury resulting in economic and/or non-economic damages

In product liability cases, strict liability differs in that negligence does not need to be proved.

Instead, your attorney must prove that:

  1. The product was defective in a way that was unreasonably hazardous
  2. The product was used by you or an Alabama family member for its intended purpose, and the product’s condition was not altered by the customer after purchase
  3. You or a loved one suffered injuries using the defective product
  4. Demonstrable damages resulted after using said defective product

So long as these conditions are met, the manufacturer or company involved does not even need to be negligent. A proven Alabama injury attorney will help you navigate the complexity of product liability law to help you determine whether you have a strong product liability case.


Noel B. Leonard is a product liability lawsuit attorney who helps injured Alabamans receive the legal representation needed to hold companies accountable for their defective products. From his Foley office, Noel represents defective product victims in Foley as well as residents living in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties.

Contact Alabama injury lawyer Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a legal consultation with an Alabama product liability lawyer who works to hold companies accountable for injuries caused by their defective products.

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