ATV Accident Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, SC
All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, handle differently from cars and motorcycles and can be hazardous to those who operate them without sufficient training, ability or care. ATV riders are especially susceptible to injury from these recreational vehicles’ propensity to roll over.
A claim for compensation due to injuries suffered in an ATV accident is likely to be different from a car or motorcycle accident claim. A third party is often involved, such as an adult who allowed a child to drive or ride the ATV or, in some cases, the ATV manufacturer.
At Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., we assist individuals and families in Upstate South Carolina, including Spartanburg and Greenville, when they are dealing with the aftermath of a serious ATV accident. Contact us today for a free review of your case.
What Makes ATVs Dangerous Vehicles
All-terrain vehicles are primarily used as recreational vehicles. They are also used in farming, forestry, law enforcement, search-and-rescue and other fields.
They have oversized, deep-tread and low-pressure tires, a narrow wheelbase and a high center of gravity. This design makes ATVs easy to maneuver off-road, such as over uneven terrain and hills or through sand and culverts.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that the design of an ATV makes it easily toppled. Like motorcycles, ATVs offer no structural protection to riders in an accident. This is why an ATV rider faces an increased risk of being seriously injured when an accident occurs.
Rollover accidents on ATVs were so frequent that production of three-wheeled ATVs ended in 1987 because of safety concerns. Today, only four-wheeled ATV models are produced in the U.S. Still, more than 10 million ATVs are in use in our country today, including an estimated 2.4 million three-wheelers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that, in the last several years, more people have taken to public roads on ATVs. Because their low-pressure tires are not designed for pavement, ATVs can be dangerous on these roads. Today, two-thirds of fatal ATV crashes occur on public or private roads, the IIHS says.
Three-quarters of the fatal crashes in a five-year study by the IIHS involved just only the ATV and no other vehicle. Of the single-vehicle fatal ATV crashes, 56 percent involved a rollover. Some ATVs can carry passengers, but nearly nine out of 10 riders killed are ATV drivers, the IIHS says. Few fatally injured riders were wearing helmets. About half of the people killed in ATV accidents were teenagers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the latest edition of its annual report of ATV accidents and injuries, reported that people were injured in the:
- Extremities (shoulder, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes) – 38 percent of accidents
- Torso (chest, abdomen, hips and back) – 34.1 percent
- Head (head, face and neck) – 27.2 percent.
Legal Options for ATV Accident Victims
ATV accidents are often caused by negligent and reckless use of these potentially dangerous recreational vehicles. They may also be caused by the vehicle itself, especially if an older ATV is involved.
If the driver of an ATV or another vehicle has caused an accident, other parties who have been injured may seek compensation. This includes a passenger on the ATV driven by an at-fault driver. If a minor child has been injured in an ATV accident, the adult owner of the ATV may be liable.
An ATV owner might be liable for injury to a child under his or her supervision if the owner failed to take proper safety precautions such as ensuring a teenage rider was instructed in the ATV’s operation and wearing a helmet and other protective gear.
It is important to remember that a legal claim in an ATV accident would normally be paid through insurance – not out of the ATV owner’s pocket. You should not forego compensation for medical expenses and other losses because of reluctance to file a claim that names a friend, neighbor or community youth organization.
In other cases, the faulty design of the ATV may be the issue of liability for an accident. Many ATV models have been recalled through the years for safety defects, including models by Honda, Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Polaris Industries and Eton America LLC, a Spartanburg, S.C., firm.
An unsafe product, or “product liability,” lawsuit against the manufacturer of an allegedly unsafe ATV would be a complex undertaking. It would have to demonstrate that the manufacturer knew or should have known the product was unsafe. In many cases involving a product that has been recalled for safety reasons, the manufacturer expects and has set aside funds for the personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that follow.
Contact Our Upstate South Carolina ATV Accident Lawyers
The attorneys of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., have the experience and skill to pursue compensation in complex product injury claims or other lawsuits involving all-terrain vehicles. Please contact us today to set up a free consultation about all legal options available to you. We represent clients in Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding areas in Upstate South Carolina.