If you or a loved one were hurt in an ATV accident, we recommend talking with an attorney about your rights and options. In some cases, ATV accidents are just that – no-fault accidents. When a no-fault accident occurs, no one is to blame or the injured rider may be at fault. However, there are many cases in which an ATV accident is the result of someone else?s careless or reckless conduct.
When you believe another person or business is responsible for your injuries or relative?s passing, talk with an ATV accident lawyer at Lugar Law PC. We will investigate the accident. A thorough analysis of the evidence may point to a specific person or business? negligence. When this is the case, we may recommend pursuing compensation through an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit.
What is an ATV?
ATV stands for all-terrain vehicle, though sometimes they are called 4-wheelers. It is a motorized vehicle intended for off-highway use. These vehicles vary greatly, but they typically have four low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires. Some ATVs have three or more than four wheels.
There is at least one seat for the operator to straddle, and some have another seat for a passenger. Type I ATVs are for single operators and no passengers. Type II ATVs are designed and manufactured for an operator and a passenger.
ATVs come in many different sizes and configurations, which are meant for different uses. The size and power of the engines vary greatly as well. ATVs meant for adolescents might have a 50cc engine, while utility ATVs might have an 800cc engine.
Though ATVs can be used for professional purposes, they are typically recreational vehicles. People purchase and use ATVs to enjoy on their property, race, and hunt.
What is an ATV Accident?
There are all types of serious and fatal ATV incidents.
- Some ATV accidents are single-vehicle incidents. These accidents include a single ATV colliding with an object or flipping or rolling. Flipping or rolling an ATV is all too common. Operators and passengers can be thrown from the vehicle or pinned. These accidents may occur because a part or piece of equipment fails or malfunctions. Equipment malfunctions can result from design defects, manufacturing defects, negligent maintenance, and operator negligence.
- ATV collisions involving multiple vehicles. Collisions are most common in a recreational, organized, or professional race setting. They can occur because of an equipment failure. These accidents typically happen because of an operator?s careless or reckless conduct.
Common forms of operator negligence, which lead to single or multi-ATV accidents include:
- Using an ATV on paved surfaces,
- Carrying a passenger when the ATV is designed to carry the operator only,
- Carrying more than one passenger,
- Letting an inexperienced operator carry an inexperienced passenger,
- Letting an adolescent ride without adult supervision,
- Performing stunts without proper training and experience,
- Operating an ATV on unfamiliar terrain,
- Operating the ATV at a speed that is inappropriate for the conditions,
- Operating an ATV while impaired by drugs or alcohol, and
- Operating an ATV while overly tired.
Additionally, a property owner may be liable for an ATV accident. Poorly maintained and hazardous trails or trails with intentional ?traps? can cause serious accidents and harm.
Where do Most ATV Accidents Happen?
ATV accidents can happen anywhere. Since these are intended to be off-road vehicles, many of the collisions occur on trails open to the public or on private property.
Where your ATV accident took place may or may not matter to your claim. It depends on who was negligent and caused the accident. If the property owner may have been at fault, talk with an ATV accident lawyer about how to pursue compensation. Your claim may be complicated if you were trespassing on the owner?s land or if the property is owned by a municipality.
Virginia, specifically, has an extensive ATV trail system. Those trails may be on private property, state or county property, or even federally owned and controlled land. When you are injured on a Virginia ATV trail, talk with an attorney right away about your options to recover compensation.
ATV Accident Statistics
Serious and fatal ATV accidents are all too common. The ATV accident rates reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are concerning. As of December 2017, CPSC had received reports of 15,250 ATV fatalities between 1982 and 2017. In 2017 alone, there were 295 deaths.
According to CPSC, there were 259 reported deaths from ATV accidents in Virginia between 1982 and 2014. Ongoing reporting for between 2015 and 2017 includes 38 deaths for the state.
Though this is a significant number, it is far below Texas, which witnessed 773 ATV accident deaths between 1982 and 2014 and has reported 58 ATV fatalities since.
Common ATV Accident Injuries
In 2017, there were an estimated 93,800 ER-treated injuries, according to CPSC. About 26% of these injuries involved children younger than 16 years. These injuries involved contusions and abrasions (20%) and fractures (27%). The body parts most commonly injured were the arms (29%), the head and neck (29%), the legs (21%), and the torso (20%).
Other common ATV injuries are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This includes mild TBIs, known as concussions, and moderate and severe TBIs. Severe TBIs are associated with long-term disability and death.
ATV operators and passengers may suffer a spinal cord injury in an accident. This can lead to paralysis from the injury site down. Full paralysis is possible, as is varying degrees of mobility and sensation, Spinal cord injuries also are associated with loss of bladder and bowel control, sexual dysfunction, and an increased risk of serious medical conditions.
How Our ATV Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you suffered an injury in an ATV accident that was another person?s fault, talk with an ATV accident lawyer about pursuing compensation.
We may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of whether the at-fault party has insurance coverage. This recommendation is for a few reasons. The discovery phase of litigation is an essential part of a thorough investigation. During discovery, we can obtain testimony through depositions and demand records and documentation from other parties involved with the accident to discover compensation avenues.
Filing a lawsuit also shows the other party and their insurers that we are serious about obtaining your compensation. Injury victims who shy away from filing a lawsuit are often pushed into accepting substantially under-value settlement offers.
Whether through the insurance claim process or litigation, Lugar Law PC will fight for you to receive compensation for your past and future:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Reduced Earning Capacity
- Lower Quality of Life
Fatal ATV Accidents
If you lost a parent, spouse, or child in an ATV accident, talk with us at Lugar Law PC right away. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.
An experienced ATV accident attorney will advise you on Virginia?s wrongful death law, whether you can file, and the possible outcome of your claim. If you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, we also will discuss the possible value of this claim and the factors that may increase or decrease a settlement or court award.
Contact Lugar Law PC After an ATV Accident
You and your friends or family may love getting out on your 4-wheelers. You may enjoy getting out on Virginia?s many trails or racing at a local establishment. Or you may simply use ATVs to work on your property. Depending on your use of ATVs, you may never expect to be injured in an accident or to lose a loved one. When you are impacted by an ATV accident, we recommend talking with an ATV accident lawyer about your options, including whether you can pursue compensation.