ATV Accident Attorney
Texas geography allows for many wide-open spaces for recreation, and many trails and parks offer areas specifically designed for ATV riders. When used cautiously and responsibly by experienced riders, ATVs can bring hours of enjoyment. But all too often, ATV crashes cause serious and fatal injuries.
In 2015, several teens died in Texas ATV crashes – an aspiring model, a star athlete, a foreign exchange student from Armenia – all age 16 or younger. And the increase in the number of deadly ATV accidents isn’t a problem confined to Texas.
In the first 10 months of 2015, 346 people died in ATV accidents in the United States. Unlike the majority of traffic accidents involving cars and trucks, ATV fatalities often arise from single-vehicle events, when an operator loses control of the vehicle. These vehicles also injure thousands of people every year – in 2013, nearly 100,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries relating to ATVs.
Injuries and deaths resulting from ATVs occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the driver – whether an adult or teen – is inexperienced and doesn’t understand how the ATV will react when it turns sharply, veers off course, or hits an obstacle, and the driver can crash, be thrown off the ATV, or pinned underneath when it rolls over. Many crashes involving adults are attributed to alcohol use and risk-taking maneuvers.
A lack of parental supervision may create dangerous situations for children, who are known to disregard manufacturer’s safety warnings and carry more passengers than an ATV is equipped to carry. And parental supervision doesn’t necessarily keep children safe, if they’re too small to operate an ATV.
The injuries resulting from ATV crashes can require extensive surgery and longtime hospitalization. If an ATV accident has harmed you or a member of your family, you may be entitled to compensation if another person was to blame for the crash.
Injuries to Children
In an article for Houston Family Magazine, Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, medical director of the trauma program at Texas Children’s Hospital, wrote about the increase in severe ATV-related injuries in children. In April 2015, she said that in the past two years, the hospital had treated 75 children for trauma caused by ATVs, including facial injuries, brain injuries, orthopedic injuries, and internal organ damage. She echoed a message that other healthcare providers have said: ATVs are not toys. But many people aren’t heeding that warning.
The study’s administrators questioned parents of children who were hospitalized in a trauma center for ATV-related injuries about the events preceding the accident. Researchers found that 61 percent of respondents knew about the warning label advising against use for children under age 16. Most children – nearly 80 percent – had parental permission to ride the ATV anyway, and nearly 64 percent were under parental supervision when the accident occurred. Only two out of 44 children had received formal training on how to safely operate an ATV.
Types of Training
Texas law requires ATV riders to take motorcycle training before riding an ATV on public land, and riders must wear a helmet and display an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) safety decal when on public lands. But no safety training is required for people using ATVs on private land, and no license or insurance is required.
There are a number of certified ATV training sites throughout the state. Some manufacturers provide incentives like rebates, free gear, or even free training for customers who purchase new ATVs. Yet most people never participate in safety training.
The cost of safety training – if there’s any cost at all – is nothing in comparison to exorbitant hospital bills. And considering that automobile drivers must go through months of training to drive a car, it seems reasonable to expect that ATV riders would be willing to go through a half-day training course.
Adults may assume that if they have a driver’s license, they don’t need special training to ride an ATV. But these vehicles are not at all similar to passenger cars in how they respond to terrain. Many adult drivers have lost control of their ATVs, assuming they’ll maneuver similarly to cars. And children and teens are even more prone to make judgment errors while driving, if they’ve never driven a car or have little driving experience.
ATV Accident Attorney: Helping the Injured
Many ATV accidents are simply the result of driver error. But when that error injures a passenger, or occurs due to lack of parental supervision, the victims of injury and their families may be able to pursue legal action against those responsible for the accident.
If an ATV accident has harmed you or someone in your family, call an experienced atv accident attorney at the Evans/Reilley Law Firm today at 1-855-414-1012, or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.