All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are fun and exciting for Floridians. Many people experience the great outdoors by buzzing along on these popular machines. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, sometimes resulting in serious injuries, and even death. In such a case, the services of an experienced personal injury attorney may prove to be valuable.
Case in Point
When a Pompano Beach resident took an ATV out to the River Ranch Hunt Club, he was no doubt expecting nothing but good times. He could not have predicted that while driving by himself along a dirt road, he would lose control of the machine, and wind up pinned underneath the 300-400 pounds of steel. He could not have imagined that a day in the sun would result in his having the life crushed out of him.
ATV Accident Stats
In the year 2007 alone, there were nearly 150,000 individuals who were treated in emergency rooms across the country due to injuries associated with ATV accidents. What do we know about ATV accidents?
- More than one-third of injuries involve riders aged 16 or younger;
- Three-fourths of injuries involve male riders;
- Nearly 900 fatalities occurred over a two-year period involving riders below age 19;
- The number of injuries requiring hospitalization has risen by nearly 40 percent over a period of a few years;
- Riders are 13 times more likely to experience ATV catastrophes in the first month of driving an ATV than their experienced counterparts.
What are the Risks?
While any vehicle poses certain inherent risks, four-wheelers are particularly dangerous in the event of a rollover. Clearly, the lack of protective roofing means greater exposure for victims, sometimes resulting in tragic accidents where riders are trapped underneath their ATVs.
In other scenarios, riders may be ejected from their vehicles, resulting in broken bones, contusions, lacerations, abrasions, and dislocations. And sometimes, riders experience burns, whiplash, concussions, and other injuries that have long-term implications.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents
A number of factors impact one’s safety on an ATV. Among them are:
- Riding on paved roadways: ATVs typically have under-inflated tires, which make them ideal for bumpy dirt roads, but unsafe on paved surfaces;
- Carrying passengers on a machine built for one;
- Putting inexperienced drivers behind the wheel in challenging environments;
- Allowing young people to ride without adults in the vicinity supervising;
- Performing daring feats that put riders in danger;
- Failing to observe laws and manufacturer’s guidelines.
There are several things ATV riders can do to increase their chances of an injury-free ride:
- Wear a helmet and other protective gear;
- Choose the right sized machine for your size and experience level;
- Stay off of paved surfaces;
- Don’t carry passengers if the machine is not built for it;
- Attend a safety course before riding, and brush up on safety tips regularly;
- Avoid riding when inebriated;
- Obey rules.
When Injuries Occur
Sadly, all too often people just don’t think, and it results in preventable accidents, sometimes with severe outcomes. If irresponsible actions by someone else have resulted in personal injury to you or a loved one, the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton can help. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.