A California man has sued the manufacturers of Hitachi Pneumatic Nailers over a 2021 incident in which the nail gun he was using misfired causing a nail to shoot through his tongue and into his skull, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Timothy Kualii Kahae, a carpenter, required emergency surgery to remove a nail lodged in the base of his skull. On November 3, Kahae filed a complaint in federal court alleging that the “defective” nail gun left him “permanently scarred.”
Kahae was working as an apprentice carpenter with the San Francisco-based Plant Construction Company when, on November 15, 2021, while nailing down plywood at a construction site using a Hitachi Pneumatic Nailer, the gun simultaneously shot two nails. One ricocheted off the other, sending it upward into Kahae’s face.
Kahae was rushed to a health clinic in Stanford where he ultimately had to wait a day before doctors could surgically remove the nail and make repairs to his tongue and the roof of his mouth.
Mercury News, which published a copy of the x-ray showing the nail in Kahae’s skull, reported that he had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair his palate, tongue, sinuses, and naval septum. He also needed surgery to repair a fractured jaw and fix his skull.
Kahae continues to suffer from numbness where the nail pierced his tongue, which has caused a stutter. His lower lip is also “permanently scarred,” the lawsuit claimed.
According to the complaint, Kahae was left with over $400,000 in medical bills and $30,000 in lost wages due to his injuries.
Kahae is suing the nail gun manufacturers – the Japanese-based Koki Holdings Co. and Hitachi Koki USA in Georgia – for negligence.
In 2014, Hitachi Koki USA and Koki Holdings Co. recalled over 25,000 Hitachi Koki Pneumatic Nailers over the risk of injury after reports that the nail guns could jam, overriding the safety switch that only permits “one nail to fire at a time,” the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported at the time.