ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) are motorized three to four wheeled vehicles used for recreation and work. They are extremely heavy, weighing up to a quarter of a ton, and can reach speeds of 55 MPH. Since ATVs are so top heavy, chances of rollover are much higher than for a normal vehicle. The chance of rollover combined with the weight cause numerous accidents each year.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ATV accidents cause 700 deaths and injure 135,000 people annually.
An ATV accident legally needs to result in property damage, injury, and or/death to be considered an accident. More often than not, the vehicle’s driver is responsible for the accident.
Common Causes of Accidents and Liability
Most causes of accidents fall into two categories: operator behavior and equipment failure.
The driver is responsible if he/she:
- Drives without proper training
- Hauls a passenger or load against manufacturer’s recommendations
- Allows children to operate the ATV
- Drives on public roads
- Allows children to operate adult-size ATVs
- Drives under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications
Equipment may cause the accident if failures occur in the:
- Steering mechanisms
- Lighting equipment
The manufacturer is liable if a defective or poorly designed ATV is sold to the public. Victims must prove the defective ATV caused the accident in order to receive compensation from the company.
Some states have no-fault insurance laws. This means claims from less significant accidents will be minimized, and victims will receive compensation more promptly. But, these laws can also hinder victims from receiving the amount of compensation needed to cover all expenses endured from the accident. This is why many people in no-fault states seek the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Some ATV accidents result in injury or death. Common injuries prone to ATV accidents are traumatic brain injuries.
Examples of TBI’S include:
- Permanent concussion
- Spinal cord
ATV injuries are most often caused by the ATV rolling or flipping over. Along with traumatic brain injuries, victims may also experience physical and/or emotional damages, and mental impairment.
In order to obtain compensation, victims must prove negligence to insurance or a court. In order to do this, they must prove one or both of the following:
- An injury was sustained
- The accident occurred directly due to driver’s carelessness
In some cases, more than one person may be at fault for the accident. In this case, liability is evenly distributed based on the estimated fault of each party. This is known as comparative negligence.
Victims can be rewarded compensation to cover one or more of the following:
- Lost income
- Lost prospects
- Medical expenses
- Physical and psychological pain
- Property repairs
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Some ATV accidents are handled directly through insurance. But for some cases, obtaining a personal injury lawyer may be necessary:
- If the insurance company refuses to fully compensate you for all damages
- There are prolonged delays in settling the claim
- Claim is denied by insurance or government entity
- The negligent party is not insured
Personal injury claims can often involve some complex legal issues. You may wish to contact a qualified car accident attorney in your area if you need help filing an injury claim. Your lawyer can help you meet the various court requirements and can perform the legal research necessary to succeed on your claim. Also, your attorney can provide you with valuable legal guidance during the court hearings.