ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, are four-wheeled vehicles that have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to take on rough terrain. They are popular recreational vehicles but are also used by farmhands to assist with farm work. While they may not appear dangerous, ATVs are prone to rollovers and other accidents when drivers are negligent or lack training.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is one of the organizations that gathers statistics on ATV-related injuries in the United States. According to their 2016 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, 14,653 ATV-related fatalities were recorded between 1982 and 2016. More than 3,000 of those fatalities were children younger than 16 years of age.
For non-fatal accidents and injuries, the CPSC report estimated that 101,200 emergency department-treated injuries occurred in 2016. An estimated 26% of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.
The most common non-fatal ATV-related injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Damage to internal organs
A lot of ATV accidents happen because of the vehicle rolling or flipping over. ATV drivers are usually either crushed by or tossed out of the vehicle. It’s important to note that most ATVs are designed to accommodate only one rider. Having two riders increases the likelihood of meeting an accident since ATVs aren’t made to accommodate passengers.
Establishing Fault After an ATV Accident
ATV-related accidents are usually the result of the negligence and/or recklessness of the culpable party. These include driving recklessly at high speeds, driving under the influence, and driving uphill.
There are four general categories of parties at fault for ATV accidents:
- The ATV driver – This person can be held liable if he lacked proper training or sufficient practice.
- The other party – Other motorists on the road who behaved negligently while operating their
vehicles could be held liable.
- Owners of ATVs – Persons or entities who rent out ATVs can be at fault for failure to
provide timely upkeep or maintenance of their ATVs, resulting in accidents.
- Designers or manufacturers of ATVs – If the ATV is patently defective, then you
have a claim for product liability against the ATV manufacturer, designer, or distributor
depending on where the defect originated.
If you’re injured in an ATV accident, you can claim damages against the party at fault and file a lawsuit by demonstrating the following:
- The other party had a duty of care.
- The other party breached the duty of care required under the circumstances.
- The breach of duty caused the accident.
- You sustained damages and losses as a result.
Value of Your Claim
The value of your claim depends on a lot of factors and may include the following:
- Whether you were comparatively negligent in the accident.
- The types of damages you are claiming.
- The amount of damages you are alleging.
- The proof or evidence you have to support your claims.
Never Admit to or Sign Anything
Following an ATV accident, never admit to anything even if you feel that you were partly at fault. Anything you say may be used against you later when you are negotiating your claims against the party at fault.
Understand as well that insurance companies and their claims adjusters are trained at picking the holes in your story. In some instances, victims readily talk to the insurance adjusters of the other party in hopes of getting a quick settlement. However, they find out later on that dealing with the insurance adjuster directly had compromised their claims. Aside from not talking to insurance adjusters, you should also never sign anything that the insurance adjuster wants you to sign. You might be waiving your rights to seek damages against the party at fault.
Seek Legal Help From an Expert Atv Accident Lawyer
The best thing to do is to call an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident. Mesriani Law Group’s solid team of Los Angeles-based personal injury attorneys will show you how to obtain and preserve evidence at the time of the accident.
They’ll also advise you on what not to do if the other party or their claims adjuster contacts you. Leave the negotiations to the experts to bolster your claim against the party at fault. A reputable ATV accident attorney will help you obtain all the damages you deserve for your suffering and losses.