More than twenty years after a U.S government safety agency declared ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and ROVs (recreational off-highway vehicles) “imminent hazards,” questions remain about the stability and safety of certain models.
As of December 31, 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) received reports of 13,617 ATV-related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2014.
An estimated 700 ATV-related deaths occur each year, many of them preventable. ATV accidents are responsible for over 300 deaths in Ohio alone in the last 10 years.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Ohio Product Liability attorney, with experience in catastrophic injuries due to vehicle accidents. Mr. Lyon has represented plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of product liability, wrongful death and injury claims.
Despite manufactures’ assurances on safety, rollovers are the most common cause of an ATV-related injury. A rollover can be a frontal rollover, side rollover, or rear rollover—each type equally as dangerous, and may result in the driver being thrown from the vehicle or being crushed. Among ATV riders killed in single-vehicle crashes in 2014, 64 percent involved the ATV rolling over during the crash.
Rollovers are especially common when driving an off-road vehicle on a paved surface, since ATVs and ROVs are designed for off-road terrains. At least 900 deaths over a four-year period were related to ATVs being ridden on paved roads or parking lots.
ATV tire blow outs are also a common cause for injury. Any tire issue can create an extremely dangerous circumstance that may result in loss of control and vehicle rollover. The common causes of ATV tire blow out include:
• Defective design
• Incorrect air pressure
• Improperly mounted tire
• Improperly mounted rim
Other common causes for accidents include the following:
• Poor driver training
• Negligent entrustment by owner
• Poorly maintained trails
• Inadequate manufacturer safety instructions
• Break failure
Deaths of ATV riders on public roads have increased more than nine-fold since 1982. These statistics don’t include most accidents, which occur off road. As of August 13, 2016, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) said it has documented 335 fatalities this year involving what it calls “off-highway vehicles.” That represents a 10 percent increase over last year at this time.
In 2014, there were an estimated 93,700 ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. Many of these injuries were quite serious and resulted in death. The most serious injuries included:
During 2001-2010, over 360,000 ATV riders under the age of 15 were treated in hospitals for ATV-related injuries. Overall, children suffer around a third of recorded ATV injuries. Children younger than 16 years of age represent 23 percent of the total number of reported ATV-related fatalities.
Recently, CNN reported that a fire hazard prompted Polaris Industries Inc. to recall two models of recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The engine can overheat, and the turbo system’s drain tube can loosen, potentially causing a fire.
So far, Polaris says it has received 19 reports of vehicles catching fire, resulting in at least six burn injuries. The report describes a “young child suffering severe burns.”
The recall includes nearly 13,000 vehicles, which is in addition to 203,000 recreational vehicles Polaris previously recalled between 2015 and July, 2016 due to a variety of fire hazards.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ATV models and contact Polaris. If any owner or passenger has sustained any injury, please contact medical professionals and an experienced attorney for possible compensation.
Polaris is not the only ATV company that has recently issued recalls of its vehicles. Several of the big manufacturers have been under fire for injuries sustained by passengers. Below are some large ATV outfits
• Arctic Cat
If you have had an accident with an ATV, please contact an experienced attorney. It is critical that the accident scene and vehicle in question be preserved for an adequate investigation.
Accepting cases nationwide, the Lyon Firm works with design engineers, bio-mechanical engineers, and accident reconstruction experts to evaluate accidents and determine the root cause.
In many past incidents, vehicles have been found to be inherently flawed or malfunctioned. If any ATV is found to have a faulty design or missing safety components, victims and their attorneys can file suit against manufacturers.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury involving an ATV or ROV, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.