February 5, 2015 — Barnett Outdoors, LLC is facing about 30 lawsuits from hunters who had severe thumb or finger injuries after using high-powered crossbows lacking thumb-guards, according to WRCB TV.
One lawsuit was filed by Kevin Lilly, a hunter from North Georgia who nearly lost his thumb the first time he fired a Barnett Jackal crossbow.
The incident occurred in December 2012 The drawstring, moving at 370 feet per second, sliced into his thumb and shattered the joint. He continues to suffer from chronic pain and decreased function, and said:
“I had over $7,000 or $8,000 of medical expenses, and you know still could have more. They’re wanting to fuse my thumb together.”
The following year, Barnett added a thumb-guard to prevent these amputations. However, they did not issue a recall. Lilly and other members of the litigation want Barnett to recall the crossbows and pay for their medical expenses, which often cost around $10,000.
Hunters warn that the Jackal is front-heavy, making it tempting to hold the weapon with the thumb extending into harm’s way. Even experienced hunters can have a moment of carelessness, especially in the heat of the moment, and suffer a permanent disability.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has opened an investigation into thumb injuries from crossbows without thumb-guards. Manufacturers of crossbows are not required to add thumb-guards, but fortunately they are becoming more common.