All-terrain vehicles or ATVs are popular in Georgia, particular in rural areas where these vehicles are used on farms, for hunting, or are sometimes just ridden for fun. Many individuals fail to appreciate that ATVs are dangerous and easy to crash. Statistics indicate that more than 130,000 injuries were caused by ATV accidents in 2012 with more than 550 adults and 140 children dying as the result of ATV accidents that same year. Individuals who are injured in an ATV accident frequently find it essential to retain the services of a skilled attorney who is experienced in helping individuals who have been injured in similar ways. If you have been injured in an ATV accidents due to the negligence of another party, a skilled attorney will be able to make sure that you receive the financial compensation that you deserve.
The Danger Presented by ATVs
The National Trauma Data Bank reports that ATVs are more dangerous than dirt bikes and are often just as dangerous on motorcycles. Many ATVs are intended for use by a single operator and are not designed to carry passengers. ATVs are also not designed to travel on paved roads. ATVs in Georgia are also dangerous due to lack of regulations and safety precautions and there is no state agency tasked with regulating ATV use. Also, because nearly all ATVs lack a cab or cage, ATV rollovers are more likely to cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Individuals should also be aware that three wheel ATVs are particularly dangerous. Due to the risk of three wheel ATVs rolling overs, these vehicles were removed from the market and manufacturers stopped producing three wheel ATVs. Statistics still suggest, however, that an estimated 2.4 million three-wheelers still remain in use today.
Parties that Can Be Held Liable for ATV Accidents
There are many parties that can potentially be held liable for an ATV accident. In many cases, multiple parties might be responsible for causing an all-terrain vehicle accident. Some of the parties that can potentially be held liable for an ATV accident include: the ATV’s driver, an ATV rental company, the owner of the ATV, an ATV manufacturer, an ATV distributor or retailer, a company that made or sold an ATV part, or a company that made or sold ATV safety equipment.
Common Causes of Georgia ATV Accidents
ATV accidents can be caused by several different factors including: blown tires, brake failure, carrying too many riders on an ATV, children who use adult sized ATVs, driving in the dark, driving on public roads when the vehicle is not properly equipped to do so, improper positioning, lack of protective gear, manufacturing defects, operating an ATV without proper training, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, steering failure, stuck accelerators, traveling at unsafe speeds.
Common ATV Injuries
When ATV accidents occur, the resulting injuries are often serious and can even be life-threatening. Some of the most common injuries include: amputations, brain trauma, broken bones, burn injuries, spinal cord damage, and soft tissue injuries. Fortunately, individuals injured in ATV accidents are often able to receive compensation for: medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and emotional suffering. Even if an individual wears all proper protective gear including helmets and gloves, ATV accidents can still cause several types of injuries including broken bones, burns, or even fatalities.
Advice for Individuals Involved in ATV Accidents
Individuals who are involved in ATV accidents should follow some essential steps:
- Avoid signing a release or providing any statements to an insurance company. Insurance companies often desire to pay the least amount possible for a claim. Individuals should avoid providing any statements or signing any releases to an insurance company without first speaking to a knowledgeable attorney.
- Do not dispose of the ATV. Individuals should preserve an ATV in its exact condition after an accident occurs.
- Immediately seek medical attention. Even if individuals believe that injuries are not severe, individuals should be examined by a medical professional immediately after an ATV accident occurs.
- Respond quickly. Individuals only have a limited time to file a lawsuit for an ATV accident and failure to initiate a legal action within this time period means that an individual will be barred from pursuing compensation.
Key Tips to Avoid ATV Accidents
By following some key safety tips, individuals can greatly reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities due to ATV accidents from occurring. These safety tips include the following:
- Avoid Speeding. Individuals should avoid traveling too fast on an ATV because traveling at extreme speeds greatly increases the risk of collisions occurring.
- Cross Paved Roads With Great Caution. A number of ATV accidents are caused when an ATV collides with another vehicle. Individuals should make sure to look both ways and apply caution when crossing highways, streets, and trails.
- Do Not Operate An ATV With A Passenger. Nearly all ATVs are designed to carry only one person. A passenger can make an ATV much more difficult to control and increases the risk of an accident occurring.
- Never Drive An ATV While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. As with any vehicle, ATVs can be particularly dangerous if an individual operates the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Receive Proper Training. Individuals who need to improve ATV driving skills should take a safety course to learn how to best handle an ATV and avoid common types of accidents.
- Ride An ATV Appropriate For Your Age. Individuals should only ride on ATVs that are specifically designed for their height and weight. Most importantly, children should not ride on ATVs that are intended for adults.
- Wear a helmet and adequate protective gear. Many ATV related injuries are to rider’s heads. It is very important that ATV riders wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Individuals should also make sure to wear long sleeves and pants to protect against bruises, cuts, and scrapes that can be experienced while riding.
Contact an Experienced Georgia ATV Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in an ATV accident, consider contacting the skilled legal counsel at The Angell Law Firm LLC. Our legal team will be able to discuss your options for receiving compensation for any resulting injuries and damages. We understand how important it is to obtain compensation when an individual is harmed by a negligent act involving an ATV.