All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs or “quads,” are popular recreational vehicles for both adults and teens. They’re useful as well, because they are well-equipped to haul heavy objects. Children often enjoy four-wheeling with their parents. While ATVs are not inherently dangerous, improper use often results in accidents and severe injuries. Even when operated properly, issues like mechanical failure and driver error can also cause serious harm.
While today’s ATVs are much more powerful than their 3-wheel predecessors, the high injury rates associated with these vehicles have not gone down. There are more than 10 million ATVs in use across the country today, and with the rise of use, the rate of injuries has also increased.
The two most common kinds of ATV accidents are collisions and rollovers. When an ATV collides with an object or with another vehicle, it may be the result of defects in the brakes or steering system.
Rollovers are an enormous problem and can also result from mechanical issues. Because the vehicle itself has a high center of gravity combined with a narrow wheel base, ATVs have a high risk of rolling over in an accident. In addition, many ATV drivers use their vehicles on uneven, natural surfaces, including muddy terrain and hills.
ATVs commonly weigh as much as a quarter of a ton, with the ability to reach a speed of over 100 miles per hour. Combined with other rollover factors, these vehicles can cause severe harm when they overturn. Riders and passengers suffer injuries including:
Many injuries are severe enough to cause permanently debilitating conditions, such as paralysis or amputation of a limb. Children are especially at risk of serious injury. While children across the nation account for only 15% of ATV riders, they make up 27% of ATV injuries and 28% of deaths related to ATV use.
California law does regulate the use of ATVs. These rules are in place specifically to protect people under the age of 18, but most of the laws apply only to public lands, which means many children are still allowed to operate these vehicles.
After children, late teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 34 suffer the most injuries. Individuals over the age of 50 are also susceptible to harm, because their injuries often require cardiothoracic care, requiring longer stays at hospitals due to emergencies. Drivers are affected more often than passengers, and 50% of deaths in ATV crashes have historically occurred from people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
If you or a loved one has experienced an ATV crash or rollover, the first thing to do is seek emergency medical assistance. If you suspect injuries to the neck or spine, the victim should not move from his or her location. The second step is to contact an experienced San Bernardino attorney accustomed to dealing with personal injury cases.
In case of an ATV accident, victims may be eligible for compensation, especially if due to another person or entity’s negligence. For example, a party who owns a dangerous trail with deadly obstacles may be liable for causing an accident. If the ATV itself experienced an unprecedented mechanical failure, the manufacturer may be at fault.
At Estey & Bomberger, we have seen time and again the devastating effects of ATV accidents for victims and their loved ones. We’ve been representing victims of catastrophic injuries since our inception, and have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
We serve all of San Bernardino County, including Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Chino, Fontana, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Yucaipa, Victorville and all of the Inland Empire. Give us a call at (909)693-3631 to schedule an appointment.