ATVs, including four-wheelers and utility vehicles, can make living in the country fun. Some people use them purely for sport, while others keep their farms running smoothly or travel across their properties for some peace and quiet. However, ATVs can present a very real safety threat to drivers and passengers who aren’t paying attention.
ATV rollovers, high speed crashes, and getting thrown from the vehicle can cause serious (even catastrophic) injury. People injured in accidents caused by recklessness may face months of rehabilitation, permanent disability, or death. The costs can add up quickly, and while you may not relish the idea of filing a lawsuit, it may provide the only reasonable source of compensation for your recovery.
Failing to wear helmets, hitting and damaging property, jumping hills, failing to maintain the equipment, and traveling at unsafe speeds can all amount to an accident in the blink of an eye. ATVs are fun, but they’re not toys. They’re powerful machines that can take a life as easily as any tractor or vehicle on the roadways. In the hands of an unskilled operator, they can be even more dangerous.
Human Error vs. Product Defects
In an ATV accident case, every aspect of the accident needs to be carefully evaluated. A driver’s careless behavior could have caused the accident, but a machine defect may also have played a role. If an investigation uncovers an equipment defect, the injured party may hold the manufacturer liable for the injury. In some cases, neither the operator nor the manufacturer is liable. The owner of an ATV is also responsible for maintaining the equipment at a reasonable standard of safety. If you rent an ATV and have an accident because of poor maintenance, you may hold the owner liable for any injuries.
Avoiding an ATV Accident
Understanding how ATVs operate and safe ways to use them is the key to avoiding dangerous accidents. You should never hop on an unfamiliar vehicle and take off. Take the time to get a feel for the vehicle and how it handles. Make sure you understand gear shifting, breaking, and the way the vehicle turns. Some ATVs require operators to completely stop the vehicle before shifting gears. Having that information can make a difference in safe operation.
Never allow children who don’t meet the recommended requirements to ride or drive an ATV unsupervised. While there aren’t hard rules on who can operate an ATV on private property, some vehicles are too large for small children to safely operate.
Always wear a helmet, and require all passengers to also wear helmets. Traumatic brain injuries can alter a life permanently, and a helmet significantly reduces the risk. Use common sense. If a rental company doesn’t offer a strong program for ensuring riders have the knowledge and skills needed to make good decisions, it may not maintain its equipment properly. Don’t ride on an unfamiliar ATV unless you feel comfortable with its operation, maintenance history, and the lay of the land.
Contact a Dallas Injury Attorney for More Information
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury because of negligent ATV behaviors, you have the right to hold that individual responsible through a civil action. Filing a claim may help you pay off the costs of treatment and other medical costs, reimburse you for lost wages, and cover the financial equivalent of your pain and suffering.
Failing to pay close attention to the task at hand and using poor judgment is no excuse for causing an accident. Contact our team in Dallas for a free case evaluation. We have the experience and expertise to help you move on after a tragic ATV accident.