All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), also known as quads or four-wheelers, provide hours of enjoyment for recreational riders, as well as an efficient means of transportation for agricultural and landscaping workers. Their ability to travel over mud, grass, stones and other natural elements make ATVs the ideal vehicles in many rural parts of the United States.
Unique dangers posed by ATV designs
Since their inception in the early 1970s, ATVs have been criticized due to the vehicles’ propensity to roll over and the general lack of protection they afford riders once a vehicle has been overturned. At one point, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that the number of ATV injuries treated in the emergency room almost tripled over a 10-year period. With regard to ATV-related deaths, children under 16 account for a staggering percentage of fatalities. Recent studies also indicate that growing ridership among the elderly has translated into increased ATV injury rates among this population as well.
As a popular vacation destination and the home of a wide variety of ATV-friendly terrain, ATV incidents are all too common in Florida. Over a four-year period, there were over 75 ATV-related deaths in Florida, including a recent accident that claimed the life of an 11-year old boy.
Lawsuits against manufacturers and other motorists
When ATV accidents occur, the rider may not be at fault. In certain instances, injuries are sustained due to circumstances far beyond the driver’s control, including:
- Inherent flaws in the ATV’s design
- Specific defects in the ATV’s operation
- Negligence on the part of others
When an injury or death is the result of one of these circumstances, riders may file suit against an ATV manufacturer or the private individual that caused their accident. In certain instances, ATVs have even been recalled by manufacturers due to design defects such as power steering failure, acceleration without warning and throttle defects. Riders should immediately stop using recalled ATVs and contact an authorized dealer.
In the event you have been injured due to an ATV accident, a qualified legal representative can be instrumental in recovering damages.