All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are three or four-wheeled off-road vehicles. Used for both work activities and recreation, ATVs are associated with a high number of injuries each year, particularly those that occur during recreational riding. In 2010 alone there were an estimated 115,000 ATV related injuries in the United States. Between 1982 and 2010 there were more than 11,000 ATV accident deaths in the U.S. California had more reported ATV fatalities during that time than any other state.
Avrek Law Firm’s ATV accident attorneys have seen firsthand just how devastating ATV accidents can be to victims and their families. We fight aggressively on behalf of clients to get them the maximum compensation for the physical and emotional harm that follows a serious accident. If you or a loved one were injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident, contact Avrek Law Firm today. We will provide you with a free, no-obligation initial consultation and answer any questions you might have.
ATV Injuries Often Severe
The first ATVs to be sold in this country were three-wheeled. Sales of three-wheel ATVs were halted in the late 1980s due to very high injury rates.
The development of four-wheeled ATVs, however, did not slow injury rates. Today’s ATVs are much heavier and more powerful than those introduced to the market in the 1970s.
ATV popularity has also grown. In 2001, there were around 4.9 million ATVs in use. By 2010, that number had more than doubled to 10.6 million ATVs.
Corresponding with the rise in ATV use is a rise in ATV injuries. Annual ATV-related injuries increased from just over 10,000 in 1982 to 58,000 in 1992 to more than 150,000 in 2007.
With a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase, ATVs are at increased risk of a rollover accident. This risk is compounded by the use of these vehicles on uneven natural surfaces such as mud and hills. Weighing up to a quarter of a ton and able to reach top speeds of 100+ miles per hour, ATVs can cause serious harm when they do overturn. Common ATV rider and passenger injuries include:
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic spinal cord injury
- Lung injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ injury
Groups most at risk for ATV accidents and injuries include:
- Children:One of the most tragic ATV injury statistics relates to young riders. People under the age of 16 only account for 15 percent of ATV riders, but they account for 27 percent of ATV injuries and 28 percent of ATV deaths. California law has a number of regulations in place to protect riders aged 18 and younger, but these regulations mostly apply to public lands.
- Young adults:While children are proportionally more likely to be involved in a serious ATV accident, year after year the age groups with the highest-reported injury rate are 16-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds.
- 50+ years old:An increasing number of ATV injuries are occurring to persons older than age 50. Thoracic injuries are prevalent among this age group, which tends to have more complications and longer hospital stays.
- Drivers:8 out of 10 ATV injuries occur to the driver (versus a passenger).
- Impaired Drivers:According to a 2009 analysis of fatal West Virginia ATV accidents, 50% of those who died in ATV crashes had alcohol in their blood and 21% had drugs of abuse (including marijuana, opioids, and cocaine) in their system.
Liability in an ATV Accident
Victims of ATV accidents may be eligible for compensation if it can be shown that another person’s or entity’s negligence caused the accident. At-fault parties may include:
- The driver or owner of an ATV.Note that if the accident involves a minor driver, the driver’s parent or guardian can potentially be held liable for permitting age-inappropriate operation, as outlined by The California Department of Parks and Recreation which regulates ATVs. California ATV statutes can be viewed here.
- The person or entity (i.e. the state) that owns the trail or land.This may apply if a dangerous condition such as a large hole or other obstacle caused the accident.
- The manufacturer of the ATV.A design flaw that makes an ATV defective or unsafe could provide grounds for a product liability case.
Speak with an Experienced ATV Accident Attorney
Designed for fun, ATVs are also dangerous when not handled safely. If another driver’s carelessness or recklessness caused you injury, it is your right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Avrek Law Firm attorneys have represented catastrophic injury victims for more than 30 years and obtained over $750,000,000 in settlements and judgments since 1998. For a free case evaluation, call Avrek Law Firm today or send us an online message contact us.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC): 2010 Annual Report of ATV-related Deaths and Injuries
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons/American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: ATVs: Injuries are part of the terrain
- The Washington Post: ATV Injuries on the Rise
- PubMed.gov: Fatal all-terrain vehicle crashes: injury types and alcohol use
- Occupational Safety & Health Association: Hazards Associated with All-Terrain Vehicles in the Workplace
- Texas Department of State Health Services: Man vs. machine: ATV trauma