All-terrain Vehicles, more commonly known as ATVs, have skyrocketed in popularity of the past few years, especially in Texas. They are an excellent way to see the natural beauty of this state, while also providing a thrilling, high-speed ride. Unfortunately, while ATVs are fun and useful, they are also incredibly dangerous. An ATV collision can easily lead to catastrophic, life-changing injuries.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an ATV crash, chances are that you are feeling lost, hopeless, and alone. We at The Lenahan Law Firm want to offer you our support. We specialize in severe injury cases and have years of experience holding negligent people liable for their actions. If you want to work with a skilled and dedicated Dallas ATV accident attorney, call our firm at (214) 295-1008 today.
ATVs have a number of different uses. Some of them are used for recreation on sand dunes, beaches, and off-road trails, but others are helpful work vehicles on farms and ranches. However, no matter how fun or useful these vehicles are, accidents are always possible. In recent years, several ATV models have proven to be susceptible to rollovers and other collisions and have therefore been recalled.
These models are:
- Yamaha Rhino 450, 600 and 700
- Honda TRX 420 Rancher and TRX 500
- Suzuki QuadSport
- Kawasaki KFX 50 and 90
- BRP Can-Am Outlander
- Fushin models
- Multiple Polaris Sportsman models
Even ATVs that haven’t been recalled can still present a serious danger to riders. These vehicles should only ever be driven by those with the proper experience. Sadly, with the prevalence of ATV tours, many inexperienced riders are allowed behind the wheel before they are ready, and even experienced riders can find themselves at the mercy of poor vehicle designs, bumpy roads, or negligent car or truck drivers.
Unlike other recreational vehicles, like scooters or bikes, ATVs can travel at incredibly high speeds. In fact, modern models can go up to 80 mph, which is nearly as fast as a car. But, on top of being extremely fast, ATV riders have little to no protection in the event of a crash. If a rider hits an object and flips their vehicle, there is no roof or walls to take the brunt of that fall. Instead, all the weight lands directly onto the head and neck of the rider and any additional passengers, causing extreme injuries at the least, and death at the worst. In addition, if a negligent vehicle driver strikes an ATV, riders can suffer extensive trauma that they may never fully recover from.
ATV accidents are commonly caused by:
- Intoxicated riders
- Careless and reckless riders
- Inexperienced riders
- Negligent car or truck drivers
- Little to no safety gear or equipment
- Too many passengers
- Poor road conditions
One slip up from a rider, and you could find yourself being crushed under a massive machine. Even worse, ATVs are often used by tour groups, with a guide taking a large group of people into the mountains or desert. Not only does this encourage inexperienced riders to get behind the wheel of a vehicle they know nothing about, but it also means any accident victims could be left without help for hours, as emergency services will have to get through the rough terrain themselves. That kind of wait could be fatal, considering the catastrophic injuries associated with ATV accidents.
Rollovers are incredibly common with ATVs, as these vehicles are top-heavy and have high centers of gravity. This means that during a collision the vehicle is more likely to flip over and injure riders and passengers. Even worse is that many models lack rollover safety bars. When these vehicles rollover, the riders could be thrown, crushed, or pinned beneath the vehicle. Such a crash can, and often does, lead to catastrophic injuries. In our experience, some of the most common ATV accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Deep lacerations
- Road rash
- Degloving injury
- Severe burns
- Organ damage or internal bleeding
- Crush injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spine injuries or paralysis
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Limb loss or amputations
However, the rollover isn’t the only risk when it comes to ATVs. Other models have improper padding or protection from sharp edges, which could also cause severe cuts and lacerations, accidental amputation, or other bodily injuries. If you have been in an ATV accident and have been seriously injured, or if someone you love has been killed in such an event, then you are in desperate need of help. However, if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may have more options than you initially realize.
After suffering severe injuries from a Dallas ATV accident, you have likely been left in a state of shock and stress. With medical bills and lost wages mounting, how are you supposed to dig yourself out of this financial hole? Well, by determining exactly who was responsible for your wreck and filing a personal injury claim against them, you may be able to recover all the damages you suffered and then some. The first step to that, however, is finding the liable party. When it comes to ATV accidents, you have a few options.
Negligent riders: One of the leading causes of ATV collisions is rider error. If another ATV rider made a mistake which led to a collision or rollover, then they would be responsible for your injuries, even if you were a passenger.
Negligent car drivers: While ATVs are generally not allowed on public roads, it is still possible for a rider to come in contact with other vehicle drivers. SUV and pickup truck drivers often travel off-road to perform certain jobs. If one of these drivers acted negligently and hit you while you were riding an ATV, then they would be responsible for compensation in an auto accident claim.
Tour companies: If you took an ATV tour, perhaps through Big Bend National Park or the Chihuahuan Desert, then chances are you were placed on an ATV that has been heavily used by other riders. The tour or rental company that owns the vehicle is responsible for making necessary repairs. If a tour company placed you on a defective or faulty ATV, and poor maintenance caused your injuries, then it could be liable for your injuries.
The manufacturer: Like with all vehicles, there is the chance that your ATV, or at least one of its many auto parts, was designed or built defectively. This means that the liable party for your accident may not be the rider but could actually be the company responsible for building the ATV you were riding.
The mechanic: ATVs require proper upkeep, just like any other vehicle. This means they need to be serviced by a mechanic. If a mechanic failed to identify clear and dangerous defects, or their attempts to repair the vehicle led to dangerous defects, then they may be the one responsible for your wreck.
Of course, identifying the liable party for your collision may be a difficult task. An investigation should be launched immediately to look into the circumstances around your accident and whether it was caused by rider error, a negligent driver, or an auto defect. From there, you can begin filing a claim and demand compensation from the liable party and their insurance provider. This too may prove to be difficult, as few insurance companies are willing to pay high settlements. Instead, they will do everything they can to convince you that you should take an insultingly low offer. However, if you have an experienced attorney by your side, then they can do the legal heavy lifting for you, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries.
The Lenahan Law Firm is dedicated to providing detailed and dedicated attention to each and every case. We focus only on severe personal injury and wrongful death cases, so you can be sure that our skill and experience is extensive. In fact, our policy of working only with the severely injured allows us to give more time to our clients, unlike other firms that may rush the claims process. Our firm is proud of the personal relationships we build with each client, which is evident in our client testimonials. Call us at (214) 295-1008 if you want to work with a truly dedicated Dallas injury attorney.
- Unique Vehicles - Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
- Off-Highway Vehicle Program - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department