December 12, 2014 — The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has opened an investigation into thumb amputations from a high-powered crossbow made by Barnett Outdoors, after News8 reported dozens of horrific incidents.
The Barnett Jackal Crossbow launches an arrow at 325-feet per second. Many crossbows are front-heavy, so it is tempting to hold the bow with a thumb or finger pointing up, exposed to the fast-moving drawstring.
Unfortunately, the string moves so fast that it will chop off any fingers in its way. At least two dozen hunters in 11 states have reported severe thumb injuries after using a Barnett bow, including amputations and partial amputations.
Newer models of the crossbows are manufactured with thumb guards that help reduce the risk of a finger injury from the drawstring. However, older models without the thumb guards remain available in sporting-goods stores in Texas.
The Madison Record reports that Cabela’s stores have been sued for selling crossbows without safety features. Crossbows cited in the lawsuits include the Barnett Jackal, Ghost 400, and Quad 400.
Barnett Outdoors is the largest manufacturer of crossbows in the United States, and they have sold hundreds of thousands of crossbows without thumb guards. They insist the crossbows are safe when used properly. Warnings about serious injuries are included in the product’s safety manual.
However, Barnett is facing a growing number of lawsuits accusing Barnett of knowingly manufacturing and selling a defective, unreasonably dangerous product. At least 15 lawsuits have been filed nationwide, with four new ones in July.
Barnett has settled at least one lawsuit filed by 42 year-old William Meredith, according to the Tampa Bay Times. After the draw string cut through the top 1/2-inch of his left thumb, Meredith developed nerve damage, permanent loss of dexterity, and chronic pain.