December 12, 2014 — At least two dozen hunters in 11 states have had their thumbs amputated or nearly amputated by high-powered crossbows that were sold without finger guards.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) opened an investigation after News8 reported the horrific injuries.
Barnett Outdoors, the nation’s largest manufacturer of crossbows, is now facing at least 15 lawsuits nationwide. The company is accused of negligence for continuing to sell defective, unreasonably dangerous crossbows lacking adequate warnings or safety features to prevent amputations.
According to the Madison Record, the sporting-goods store Cabela’s has also been sued by people injured by Barnett crossbows, including the Jackal, Ghost 400, and Quad 400.
The crossbows are front-heavy and have a heavy-gauge drawstring, capable of launching an arrow at 325-feet per second. Any finger or thumb extending into the path of the drawstring is likely to be amputated or severely injured.
Barnett includes warnings about this risk in the product’s safety manual. Newer models are sold with a thumb-guard, but some stores continue to sell older models lacking the safety feature.
Barnett has settled at least one lawsuit, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The plaintiff, William Meredith, 42, had the top half of his left thumb nearly amputated, resulting in nerve damage, decreased dexterity, and chronic pain.