ATV Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
- May 6
- Evans & Herlihy
- Vehicle Accidents
ATV accidents can cause serious injuries, but they still attract riders because they can get you to remote spots and are fun to use. All those benefits disappear, however, the moment a severe ATV accident happens. Whether you were working, hunting, or having fun, if you hit another rider or object, or flip the ATV over, your world may change forever.
If you or a family member is severely injured in an ATV accident, you may feel like your life has shattered. In addition to having to earn an income and run a household, a spouse, child, or close family member may have suffered head, neck, or spine injuries that could leave them disabled and require your assistance.
You need help not just medically, emotionally, and financially, you need to add an ATV accident attorney to your team. Evans & Herlihy can help you or your loved one obtain the compensation and medical care they need to make their lives as normal, independent, and worry-free as possible. We will deal with the insurance companies so you won’t have to.
Accident Statistics Show ATV Injuries Happen Every Day
Serious ATV accidents happen frequently in the U.S., leaving families devastated, often because children are involved. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has some grim statistics about ATVs:
- There were 15,744 ATV-related fatalities between 1982 and 2018.
- 3,353 of those killed were younger than 16 years of age.
- 1,465 were younger than 12 years old.
- Texas leads the nation with 893 deaths from 1982 to 2018, with about 5.6 percent of the nation’s total.
- There were an estimated 81,800 ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries in the U.S. in 2018, with 26 percent of them suffered by children younger than 16 years old.
- Most of the injuries resulted in victims being treated and released (81 percent) or hospitalized (17 percent).
- Children’s ATV injuries have increased 18 percent since 2001.
- Most of the injuries suffered in ATV accidents were contusions/abrasions or fractures.
- They primarily affected arms, the head or neck, legs, and the torso.
ATV’s Have Been a Danger to Users for Decades
Just more than 20 years ago, the federal government declared ATVs an “imminent hazard.” It forced makers to stop selling three-wheeled models and sell only four-wheeler versions, according to The Oregonian. The industry also added safety warnings and rider training to reduce accidents.
Since then, federal officials haven’t done much to make them safer. Since 1988 the rate of injures per ATV has barely changed. But over the past decade, their popularity has soared, with 7.6 million in use. Add millions of users to unsafe ATVs and that equals record numbers of riders in emergency rooms and funeral homes. ATV accidents kill about 800 people annually and injure about 136,700.
During the past decade, ATV sales have tripled to $5 billion a year. The machines have gotten bigger and faster. Despite upgrades and improvements, ATVs still cause severe injuries and deaths: they overturn. They regularly flip over, mashing faces, breaking necks, and crushing chests.
A Machine That’s Powerful and Unstable: An ATV Injury Waiting to Happen
Not surprisingly, manufacturers say their machines are safe and stable, that it’s riders who are the problem. The Oregonian hired an engineer to test the stability of four popular ATV models. They were dangerously prone to overturn. The newspaper also found overturns were as common among riders who seemed to obey basic safety warnings as those who did not.
More than half of those killed on ATV s have it roll sideways, flip forward or backward. Rollovers are the first known event in about a third of fatal crashes. Being crushed becomes more likely as ATV’s grow heavier, weighing up to 600 pounds.
The Oregonian found that riders who ignore warnings are involved in more than 80 percent of fatal ATV crashes. But CPSC data showed that riders who followed warnings overturned in about two out of five fatal accidents. This is a rate comparable to those who ignored one or more warnings.
If safe riders are getting injured, sometimes killed, what’s causing the problem? ATV design. They have a narrow track width and high ground clearance. That allows them to travel on rough ground and narrow trails but also makes them far less stable than cars or SUVs.
The newspaper hired an engineer who tests four models. By using the same tests as government agencies, he found that they met government stability requirements. But when tested a more realistic way, with the vehicles on a table slowly tipping sideways until the upper wheels left the tabletop, the engineer found they were dangerous and too prone to tipping over.
Manufacturers don’t dispute that ATVs turn over. They say it’s up to riders to shift their body weight to keep them upright, but that’s harder for younger riders. One company’s safety video has advice for riders: if you’re in danger, jump off. They may not have a chance to jump, or they may land on rocks, fallen trees or stumps.
ATV Injuries Are Common and Expensive
The newspaper estimates that, on average, 375 people are hospitalized each day due to ATV accidents. Sometimes this results in enormous medical bills. They estimated that Oregon taxpayers paid for nearly a quarter of the $50 million in hospital costs for 1,795 Oregon ATV trauma cases from 2000 through 2005. This doesn’t include doctors’ fees, rehabilitation, or other follow-up care.
As the number of ATV permits sold in Oregon doubled over six years, the number of trauma cases did too, reaching 414 in 2005. That’s twice the rate injuries grew nationally during the same time. Those involved in other sports suffer more injuries. But injuries caused by ATVs are more severe, because of the machine’s speed and weight. Since 1998, the cost of treating a child injured on an ATV in Oregon averaged $23,039 per case, 43 percent higher than for a kid hurt on a bicycle.
ATV Accident Attorney: Helping the Injured
An ATV injury may be the result of driver error. But if the mistake injures a passenger, or is the result of lack of parental supervision, accident victims and their families may be able to pursue legal action against those responsible.
If an ATV accident has harmed you or someone in your family, call an experienced ATV accident attorney at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm today at (512) 732-2727, or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.