A Kentucky teenager was injured in an accident involving a steel samurai sword. Tristan Ballinger, age 15, and his friends were using the sword to attempt to cut a plastic water bottle down from the air when an unfortunate accident struck. The blade of the sword broke off the handle and flew through the air, piercing the boy’s forehead. The blade allegedly only withstood a single swing before breaking off. The blade flew over twenty feet before striking Ballinger.
As a result of the accident, Ballinger was hospitalized and placed in a coma for about 6 weeks. His injuries cost him his motor functions, and he had to have a portion of his skull replaced from the impact. Tristan now resides at home, wheelchair bound, and with somewhat limited conversational skills. Tristan’s community and school have been highly supportive of him since the accident, organizing prayer circles, and a banner in support of him.
The Ballinger Family’s Lawsuit
The Ballinger family has since brought a lawsuit against the company responsible for the sale of the sword. The company named as the defendant, Top Swords LLC, is inDallas, Georgia, though the case has been filed in federal court. Top Swords sells swords, daggers, machetes, and other bladed weapons through its website.
The family claims the product was defective, and should not have been sold. One specific allegation is that the sword itself failed to have warnings of dangers associated with the use of the sword. Many swords are meant to be used for decorative purposes only and are not built for active use. Tristan’s sword allegedly had no owner’s manual, warnings, or notices.
Another claim in the suit is that the sword itself was built in a way that did not secure the blade to the handle through proper means. According to the lawsuit, the blade was not secured with any bolt, nor did it run through the handle: instead, the blade was fastened to the handle with what appeared to be a form of rubber cement. The lawsuit further claims that this could not possibly have secured the blade enough to engage in any swordplay, yet the company gave no indication of this.
Product Liability Lawsuits
When a person is injured by a defective product, they may be entitled to compensation in the form of a product liability lawsuit. There are a number of avenues available to approach a lawsuit of this type. However, in the Ballinger family’s case, their lawsuit rests on both a defective design of the product and a failure to warn users of hazards. The two work together; the lawsuit alleges that the injury would likely not have occurred had Tristan known that the sword was not designed for that use, nor would the injury have occurred had the sword been designed with better functionality.
If you or a loved one has been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the legal professionals at the Gautreaux Law Firm today.