ATV’s are all the rage these days for off-road work and fun. But that utility and sport can be dangerous and they do have their share of accidents. That’s due to their open cage construction and lack of safety features, as well as speeds which with some models can reach over 100 miles per hour.
If you or your child is injured in an ATV or motorcycle accident in Temecula, CA, please contact Zucker Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers at (951) 699-2100.
The Potential Dangers of Operating ATVs
Operating an ATV can be hazardous due to their unique handling characteristics, which differ from those of cars and motorcycles. Without proper training, skill, or caution, ATVs, categorized under off-highway vehicles (OHVs), can pose a greater risk than other vehicles.
One of the most frequent types of accidents involving ATVs is rollovers, resulting from their narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity. Unlike passenger vehicles, ATVs often lack essential safety features like rollover bars and seat belts, making rollover accidents that would be survivable in a car fatal in an ATV. Rollovers can cause severe injuries such as brain trauma, paralysis, amputation, and even death.
The occurrence of safety issues increases substantially when ATVs are introduced into the market with design defects that heighten the likelihood of rollover accidents. The ATV-like Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660 have been widely criticized for such flaws due to their involvement in numerous incidents of slow-speed rollovers on flat surfaces. According to safety experts and news reports, the Rhino is so susceptible to rollovers that it can easily overturn even under normal driving conditions. Moreover, since the Rhino does not have doors, it is probable that an occupant’s leg will become trapped and crushed during a rollover accident, which can result in amputation or years of disfigurement, disability, surgeries, and pain.
According to a report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2021, ATVs were responsible for an estimated 526,900 injuries (all ages) from 2016 to 2020 and 1,566 fatal incidents from 2016 through 2018.
Severe Personal Injuries Caused by ATV Accidents
ATV accidents, including wipe-outs, rollovers, and crashes, can result in significant personal injuries that require extended periods of recovery. The most common injuries resulting from an ATV accident include:
- Fractures and breaks to the lower legs, knees, ankles, feet, shoulders, and upper arms.
- Head injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to severe brain damage.
- Injuries to the lower back and spinal column which can cause partial or complete paralysis, making them potentially life-altering.
- Internal injuries, such as fractured ribs, internal bleeding, and organ damage are among the most dangerous injuries that can be fatal if not treated promptly.
What to Do Following an ATV Accident
To ensure the best outcome after sustaining a personal injury in an ATV accident, it is essential to take several steps as soon as you can:
- Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries and make sure they are documented.
- Stay at the accident scene and gather as much information as possible. This includes documenting the circumstances of the accident and taking photos of the scene. If another ATV was involved, obtain the contact and insurance information of its owner. If the police are present, take down the officers’ contact information and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Inform your insurance provider of the crash and file a claim.
- Document the impact of your injuries on your daily life, including any pain and suffering, as well as any disruption to your work or recreational activities.
Filing a Negligence Lawsuit Following an ATV Accident
If you can demonstrate that another party’s negligence or a defect in the ATV caused the accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation. To establish negligence, you must prove that the defendant had an obligation to use due care, violated that obligation, and caused actual damages.
In principle, any person driving a car in California has a responsibility to exercise reasonable caution around other people. This entails abstaining from actions that provide a known risk of damage.
Recovering Damages After an ATV Accident Caused by Dangerous Conditions or Vehicle Defects
In some cases, an ATV accident may occur due to a hazardous condition on the land, such as an unmarked ditch. If your Temecula ATV accident lawyer can demonstrate that the landowner or occupier knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to provide adequate warnings or repairs, you may be able to recover damages from them.
Alternatively, a vehicle defect may be responsible for an ATV accident. If a manufacturing or design flaw is present, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for your losses through a product liability lawsuit based on strict liability. This requires you to demonstrate that a defect in the manufacturing, design, or marketing of the ATV caused your injuries while using the vehicle as intended. An ATV accident attorney in Temecula can assist you in proving these elements.
ATVs are designed for tough terrain but are also top-heavy, making them prone to rolling over. Additionally, they lack standard safety features such as seat belts and airbags found in other motor vehicles. According to the CPSC, children are over four times more likely to require hospitalization due to ATV injuries than any other product. These injuries range from brain and spinal cord damage to crushed bones and organ damage.
Contact a Temecula ATV Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been in an ATV accident or suffered injury due to someone else’s negligence, Zucker Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers can help. With years of experience handling ATV accident claims, our team will guide you through the process and work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (951) 699-2100 for a free case review.