Many people enjoy the freedom and adventure that comes with riding their all-terrain vehicle (ATV) off-road. Some people enjoy riding an ATV occasionally as a fun summertime activity. Others are off-road enthusiasts who ride their dirt bike or ATV every chance they get. Unfortunately, just like any vehicle, ATV riders and pedestrians can be involved in an accident. These accidents can range from minor, to severe, and in some cases they can result in death.
Over the past couple of decades, the number of people seriously injured or killed in car accidents has been on the decline. However, ATV accidents and fatalities are actually on the rise.
Causes of Off-Roading Accidents
There are a number of causes for ATV or off-roading accidents. In fact, many ATV accidents occur when the vehicle is operated on a public road. In many cases, the ATV may not even be permitted to be driven on the public road. Off-road vehicles may not have the proper safety equipment to operate on the public road. Other vehicles, including passenger cars, buses, and large trucks may strike an ATV on the public road because they cannot see the ATV, or miscalculate their speed or distance. An accident involving another vehicle can result in serious or fatal injuries for the ATV rider or passenger.
Most ATV accidents still involve single-ATV crashes, with no other vehicles involved. This could be caused by environmental hazards, operator error, or ATV malfunctions. Many fatal and serious ATV accidents occur when the rider is operating the off-road vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. High speed and driver inexperience are other common factors involving serious off-roading accidents.
When an ATV is not properly maintained, it can lead to injuries for the rider and passengers. This includes braking malfunctions, loss of steering control, tire blowouts, leaking fuel lines. However, if the ATV has a defective design or a manufacturing defect, even the most cautious rider may be placed in harm's way. There are ways to make ATVs safer for riders. Unfortunately, many manufacturers ignore making safety updates. They also may fail to inform consumers of the dangers, even when they know their products are not safe.
ATV Accident Injuries
One of the primary factors for reducing the likelihood of a fatal ATV accident involves the use of helmets. According to the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety, in 2014, only 9% of fatally injured ATV riders wore helmets. Helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries for children and adults. However, many ATV riders and passengers still refuse to use a helmet.
Rollover accidents have a high fatality rate for ATV riders and passengers. ATVs are less stable than passenger vehicles, and can easily flip over during high-speed turns, or lose contact with the ground when they hit an object or uneven surface. ATVs generally have a narrow base and high ground clearance. This gives them a higher center of gravity, making them more likely to flip over. When an ATV does roll over, the rider can be thrown from the off-road vehicle, landing on their head, or suffering neck or back injury.
ATV and Off-Road Accident Injury Lawsuits
When someone is injured in an ATV accident, the individuals who caused the accident should be held responsible for the damages caused. The injured individual may be able to file a personal lawsuit against another negligent ATV operator for causing the accident. They may also have a claim against the manufacturer of the ATV. A civil lawsuit provides for money damages to compensate the injured party for their medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If an ATV accident tragically resulted in the death of a loved, the family may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the company or individuals responsible. It may be important for the family to hold the negligent individuals responsible for all the pain they've caused, as well as provide compensation for the family members' tragic loss.
ATV and Off-Road Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was injured in an ATV accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. An ATV accident claim can be complicated, involving multiple defendants, and require expert testimony on the cause behind the accident. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.