All-Terrain Vehicles, commonly known as ATVs or quads, are fun recreational vehicles. Like a cross between a dirt bike and a car, ATVs are often thought of as safer alternatives for off-roading – but that’s not always the case. ATVs typically weigh over 300 pounds, have no seatbelts, and may even be able to carry two people.
Injuries caused by ATV accidents can be quite severe and may even lead to death. Even safe ATV drivers may be victims of poorly designed or poorly manufactured ATVs, or hidden dangers on the land. If you or a loved one has been injured riding an ATV, or you have lost a loved one to an ATV accident in Springdale, Arkansas, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438.
ATV Rollover Risk
ATVs seem quite stable; they have four wheels on the ground, compared to dirt bikes, and have a wide wheel base. In reality, ATVs carry most of their weight above the tires, with the engine, the heaviest part, located at the front. This means that, combined with the weight of the driver, any time an ATV’s front end goes up in the air, there is a risk it could reach a tipping point and fall backwards on the driver.
Of course, it is always important to use proper safety equipment, training, and practices when operating any heavy machinery, but even professional riders suffer from ATV rollovers. Most ATV manufacturers will deny that their vehicle is unsafe, and instead blame rollovers on user error. While, in some situations, this is possibly the case, there are many situations where the manufacturer’s design or failure to warn of the dangers is the cause of injury. A brief trip to YouTube will yield hundreds of videos of ATVs flipping backwards toward the user, even in situations that look perfectly safe or reasonable. There are even incidents of ATVs flipping when accelerating too fast and suddenly – something that a new rider may have no warning of.
ATV Accidents Caused by Unsafe Premises
Not everyone has a huge backyard or acres of property on which to ride an ATV. Because of this, many ATV enthusiasts with take their vehicles to ATV parks, public lands, or private property that allows guests to ride ATVs and dirt bikes. These ATV parks or private off-roading tracks can be fun, but some may not be safe.
It is the duty of a premises owner to keep the premises clear of hidden dangers, at a minimum, and to warn guests of dangers on their property. For someone to invite guests onto their land or to have paid customers at their ATV park and properly fulfill this duty, they must keep the land somewhat safe for guests.
While many things may be “ride at your own risk” in order to protect them from liability, they might not be as protected as they think. If hidden dangers, poorly constructed ramps, deceptive slopes, or protruding tree roots are the cause of an ATV accident, it could be the fault of the land owner.
ATV Accident Injuries
ATVs carry the risk of a variety of injuries. The obvious injuries you can sustain from falling off an off-road vehicle at high speeds are predictable: bruises, cuts, scrapes, concussions, broken bones, etc. You can also sustain serious injury if the ATV rolls on top of you. This can include any of the more predictable injuries, but because of the crushing weight of a vehicle that often weights at least twice as much as the rider, you could suffer from even harsher injuries – especially if the rider is a child.
An ATV could even cause serious injury to the head, back, neck, or spine. It is always important to wear a helmet and safety gear, but that does not always cut it. Serious injury to the head, back, or neck can leave people with permanent injuries, such as paralysis, or may even cause death.
Springdale ATV Accident Lawyer Can Help if You’re in an ATV Roadway Crash
Many drivers who have not ridden an ATV may underestimate the speed of an ATV. In Arkansas, it is illegal to operate an ATV on a roadway. Safe ATV riders should never do this – and if you do ride an ATV on the highway, you may be setting yourself up for dangerous crashes with cars. While cars are designed to be able to absorb some impact in a crash, ATVs are not designed with these safety precautions. If you were driving a car on the road, and you were in an accident caused by an irresponsible ATV rider on the roadway, you might have a cause of action against the ATV rider.
If you or a loved one has been injured while riding an ATV, you might have a cause of action against the ATV manufacturer or the owner of the land where you were injured. If your loved one has died because of an ATV crash, you might be entitled to compensation. To explore your options with caring, professional representation, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law serving the Springdale, Arkansas area, at (479) 316-0438.