ATVs are Not Toys and Can Cause Serious Injury
All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, are meant to be rugged. So rugged in fact that many people just assume that they are safe; that they are built for the terrain we are taking them on, and built to be driven the way that people often drive them.
But that actually turns out not to be true. ATVs can be very dangerous, and cause some serious injuries. When they do, and if you are injured on an ATV it may be time to investigate who is liable for your accident.
How and Why are They So Dangerous?
Although they are marketed and advertised to be rugged, go-anywhere vehicles, ATVs actually have very few safety features on them. You can see some of the shortcomings just by looking; the typical ATV has no doors and no windows. That makes passengers more likely to fall out of the ATV, and more likely to get injured when and if an ATV flips over.
ATVs are high up from the ground—that is so that the height and center of gravity allows the ATV to get over rough terrain. But that same high center of gravity also makes ATVs a flipping risk, whether going over uneven terrain, or whether taking a corner too fast.
Many ATVs don’t have the same pedal operations that a traditional car has, and don’t handle the way normal cars do, making inexperienced riders less likely to know how to handle an ATV over bad or rough terrain.
When ATVs collide with larger fixed objects, like trees, the ATVs do not have the heft or weight of a car; the ATV is no match for buildings, walls, trees or other physical barriers that the ATV may collide with.
What About the Drivers?
Sadly, a major cause of ATV accidents is just operator inexperience. Many kids and parents see ATVs not as vehicles, but as toys that can be ridden by anyone. That leads to young or inexperienced kids handling large, dangerous ATVs. In fact, one government study found that about a quarter of ATV injuries happened to people who were under the age of 16.
Boys tend to be injured on ATVs at two times the rate than girls are.
Who is Liable?
Because minors are so often injured on ATVs, that often leaves parents left to piece together how an accident happened, given that the parents often are not present.
If your child was injured on an ATV driven by a careless or underage driver, whether as a passenger on the ATV, or as someone outside of the ATV, the parents of that ATV driver may be held liable for allowing the minor to operate a dangerous instrumentality.
If there is a defect in or with the ATV itself, the manufacturer or owner of the ATV may also be liable to compensate you for you or your child’s injuries.
Injured on an ATV? Ask us how we can help. Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today.