The jury awards the man $11 million after the Kubota skid accident
Colton Kincaid filed a lawsuit against Kubota Tractor Corp. After being injured in 2013, claiming there was no warning label on the SVL-95 skid steer regarding the danger. Kincaid was 17 at the time and worked part-time for a company that provided services to farms.
The skid steer was new and operated by one of Kincaid’s high school friends. Kincaid and another teenage friend were riding on the outside of the skid steer. Kincaid was sitting on the center step in front of the skid steer as they walked across a large muddy field to get to the work site, according to court records.
When the skid steer approached a valley with standing water, the operator raised the loader arms and grapple attachment. Kincaid’s shoulder was stuck between the attachment and the overhang of the cabin roof. His spine was compressed at a pressure point, causing a serious spinal cord injury, and he became a paraplegic, records said.
The skid steer and its operator’s manual contain warnings to “never carry passengers” and “never allow passengers to ride on any part of the machine at any time.” But a human factors expert testified on Kincaid’s behalf, there was no warning about riding where Kincaid sat, and no warning about the risk of being crushed the way he was sitting. She added that young people who have not received training may think that riding on a skid steer is safe and were not aware of the risks.
Kubota argued that the warnings on the skid steer and operator’s manual were sufficient, and no other warning was required under state law.
A district court previously sided with Kubota, saying Kincaid was injured not because he rode on the skid steer but because the operator lifted the grapple attachment while Kincaid was on it.
But the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned the district court’s decision in 2020 and sent it back to the court for further proceedings. She cited a previous Kansas Supreme Court case: “In the vast majority of cases, the question of negligence is a factual determination for the jury, not a question of law for the court.”
On November 14, 2023, the jury sided with Kincaid that there should have been specific warnings about the overwhelming danger and ordered Kubota to pay $11,138,422.40 for Kincaid’s past and future medical expenses, pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Kincaid is represented by Michael White and Jesse Tanksley with Mann White Tanksley Injury Lawyers. Lawyers said the ruling will force Kubota to consider safety practices and put warnings in place to prevent future injuries. The goal, they said, was to hold Kubota accountable publicly and ensure Kincaid could pay for medical treatment and his interest in advocating for hemiplegia and adaptive sports.
Kubota declined to comment for this article, saying it does not comment on pending litigation.