Tallahassee is a great place to live and play if you like the outdoors. However, the beauty of the Northwest Florida outdoors can turn ugly when someone becomes injured in an all–terrainvehicle (ATV) accident.
ATV Are Powerful Machines
Since all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were introduced in the 1970s, their popularity has grown rapidly. This increase in use has been accompanied by corresponding increase in the number of ATV associated accidents and injuries.
The increase in injury and death from the use of ATVs is related to their increased recreational use, as well as the increased engine size used in the ATVs themselves. ATVs today are larger, faster, and more powerful than those from a decade or two ago. The first ATVs typically had a 7-horsepower, 89 cc engine, and weighed between 160-200 pounds. Now they have engines of more than 600 cc and 50 horsepower, weigh more than 400 pounds, and reach speeds of more than 100 mph.
Because of their size and power, safety is a huge concern with ATVs. It is important to know Florida’s ATV laws, which prohibit ATV use on paved roads and require all riders under 16 years old to wear a helmet and eye protection at all times.
It is also important to follow the recommended safety tips for ATV use which include:
– Read the owner’s manual;
– Wear a helmet and other protective gear;
– Do not let children ride on an adult ATV;
– Do not ride tandem (no more than one person on the ATV);
– Do not ride on pavement or near traffic; and
– Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Children Account For A Disturbing Proportion Of ATV Accidents
While ATVs are used primarily for recreation, they are not toys.
In 2010 alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were over 100,000 ATV-related injuries that required an emergency room visit and a quarter were for kids under the age of 16. One study found that the mean age of ATV riders is 12.8 years old, which is well below the minimum age guideline of 16 years old, which has been set by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Physicians.
The majority of ATV accidents occur in rollover situations, where the ATV tips and either ejects or pins the rider. Children are especially vulnerable in this situation because they do not have the body mass or muscular strength to correct a rollover. Children also do not have the same level of cognitive and emotional development as adults, and may not be able to anticipate or correct out of a dangerous situation.
Tallahassee ATV, Off-Road Vehicles, Four-Wheelers, And Dirt Bike Accident Lawyers
ATV accidents can be very complicated – particularly figuring out who is responsible.
Even though traffic laws and ordinary “rules of the road” may not apply to off-road vehicle use, the principles of negligence and the duty that we all have to act responsibly around one another still do. Thus, sometimes the owner of the ATV or another ATV driver may be responsible, and you may need to file a claim against that person.
If you were riding on a trail that was damaged or unreasonably dangerous (due to conditions such as huge holes, dangerous slants, or other defects), the person or organization that owns the trail may be responsible. In those cases, you may need to file a claim with the property owner’s insurance company or against the trail owner personally.
Finally, you may have a product liability case if the ATV itself was defective or unsafe. Many models of ATVs have been recalled due to safety concern and design defects can make ATVs prone to rollovers. A lack of safety mechanisms and protections, and poor safety engineering, may make the ATV a bad product for which a claim can be filed.
At Fasig & Brooks, we have over 30 years of experience representing people injured in accidents—including those hurt on ATVs, off-road vehicles, four-wheelers, and dirt bikes. Our Tallahassee personal injury lawyer understands the complex issues that are often involved in ATV accidents. We are committed to helping you recover physically, emotionally, and economically following a serious ATV or other vehicular crash. Our attorneys and counselors represent clients throughout the state of Florida and in South Georgia. Call us today at (850) 222-3232.