All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are practical for farm use, snow plowing, camping and hunting. Their maneuverability and ruggedness make them well-suited for tackling the challenges posed by agricultural environments and rugged terrain.
Recreationally, ATVs have gained significant popularity, attracting enthusiasts who appreciate the thrill and adventure they provide. Their ability to navigate diverse terrains and offer an adrenaline-filled experience has made them a favored choice for off-road enthusiasts. However, it is vital to remember that ATV recreation should be approached with responsibility and adherence to safety guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of riders.
In fact, between 1982 and now, over 17,000 people have died in ATV-related accidents and more than double that number have suffered nonfatal injuries. More than 25% of injuries caused by ATVs happen to children below 16 years of age. Most of the time, these cases arise out of operator error; but we frequently see cases of negligent entrustment and manufacturer defects. Mark Cantor has won large product defect settlements for paralyzed and brain-injured clients due to the inherent defects with ATVs. Most ATVs have a fixed rear differential, which means ATVs need a larger turning radius to safely navigate a turn without turning. Coupling that limitation with a high center of gravity, and many ATVs are prone to tipping or rolling over despite the riders driving them safely.
ATV Injury Case Examples
Improper Vehicle Use
ATV accidents often stem from improper use, such as carrying multiple passengers on a vehicle designed for a single rider or overloading the ATV with excessive weight. Additionally, using the ATV on inappropriate terrain or roadways can lead to serious injuries.
Improper handling and exceeding weight limits can destabilize the ATV, increasing the risk of rollovers, collisions, and loss of control. Utilizing ATVs on unsuitable terrain or roads not only compromises their unique design but also exposes riders to hazards from larger vehicles. To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to adhere to safety guidelines, including following occupancy limits, respecting weight capacities, and using ATVs only in appropriate off-road environments. Engaging in proper training, wearing safety gear, and maintaining the ATV regularly further contribute to reducing accidents and ensuring the safety of ATV riders.
Case Example: In the King v. Baumgartner Inc case, two 15 years old boys were driving an ATV and died after crashing into a Dodge Ram pickup truck in a farm located in Stephenson County.
Alcohol or Drug Use
Operating an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs greatly impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents and severe injuries. Impaired decision-making can lead to reckless behavior and a failure to assess risks accurately. Additionally, diminished coordination and slowed reactions make it difficult to maintain control over the ATV and respond effectively to changing situations on the trail. To ensure safety, it is crucial to avoid alcohol or drug use before and during ATV operation, promoting responsible and sober riding practices.
Case Example: In the In re Scales Mound Fire Prot. Dist case, the plaintiff claimed work compensation payment from the fire department in Illinois because one of the volunteers died as a result of crashing an ATV vehicle with a deer. However, because the firefighter had a.191% blood alcohol level at the time that he had an accident, the court found that his death was the result of willful misconduct under 820 ILCS 315/2(e).
Negligence, in relation to an ATV accident, refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care or meet the expected standard of caution while operating the vehicle. It involves actions or omissions that disregard the safety of others, such as reckless driving, non-compliance with safety guidelines, inadequate maintenance, or insufficient training. Establishing negligence in an ATV accident typically requires demonstrating a breach of duty, causation, and resulting damages. However, specific legal definitions and requirements may vary depending on jurisdiction, so seeking legal advice is recommended to fully understand the implications of negligence in ATV accidents.
Case Example: In the case of Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Peck, the plaintiff’s son tragically lost his life in an ATV accident. The insurance company attempted to avoid making a payment by arguing that the ATV vehicle fell under the definition of an ATV as outlined in Mo. Rev. Stat. § 301.010(1) (2000) and that ATVs were required to be registered under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 301.707. However, the court determined that the insurance policy term, which lacked a specific definition of ATV registration, should include coverage for damages incurred in this incident.
Cantor Injury Law knows how to win your ATV injury case!
Our firm’s legal experience with four-wheelers by all different manufacturers is extensive. We handle all kinds of ATV injury cases including negligence, premises liability and product liability arising out of the use and operation of these machines on a regular basis. We’v also represented young drivers who were negligently allowed to operate these inherently dangerous vehicles without proper instruction.
If you or a loved one has questions about an ATV injury case, Cantor Injury Law wants to help you win.