ATV Accidents a Major Cause of Injury and Death in United States
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. ATV accidents are preventable, though number in the tens of thousands. 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 Cincinnati Catastrophic injury lawyer and Ohio Product Liability attorney, with experience in serious injuries due to vehicle accidents. Mr. Lyon represents plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of product liability, wrongful death and injury claims.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents and Injury
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 of rollover is 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. This makes sense because 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 creates an extremely dangerous circumstance. Blow outs result in loss of control and vehicle rollover. 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
• Brake failure
Accidents and Injuries Increasing Year-on-Year
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.
Common Injuries Associated with ATV Accidents
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:
- Spinal cord injury
- Crush injury
- Burn injury
- Orthopedic trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wrongful death
Children Victims of Unnecessary ATV Injuries and Death
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.
Polaris Recalls ATVs Due to Fire Hazard
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 Ranger ATVs and Polaris RZR models have been noted by consumer safety experts as particularly dangerous, and consumers risk serious injury should the ATV safety features fail.
ATV Manufactures Targeted in Lawsuits
Polaris is not the only ATV company that has recently issued recalls of its vehicles. Several of the big manufacturers are under fire for injuries sustained by passengers. Below are some large ATV outfits with recalled units:
• Arctic Cat
Compensation for Victims of ATV Accidents
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 are 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 inherently flawed or malfunctioning. If any ATV has a faulty design or missing safety components, victims and their attorneys can file suit against manufacturers.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury involving an ATV or ROV, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.