Fatal ATV Accident Attorneys

In September 2021 alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recall notices for thousands of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) made by three different manufacturers, including Polaris, Venom Motorsports, and Luyuan, all due to crash hazards. 

When ATV manufacturers put their own customers at risk for injury, the companies deserve to be held accountable – and these three ATV recalls in one month are examples of why. 

The Polaris’s model year 2017-2021 Phoenix 200 ATVs were recalled because, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the throttle speed control stop can break and become stuck, posing a crash hazard that could result in serious injury or death. 

Similarly, four models of Venom Motorsports youth ATVs did not meet mandatory safety requirements, including speed restrictions, posing a risk of serious injury or death. The Venom Motorsports ATVs also were distributed without a CPSC-approved ATV Action Plan, which includes safety requirements designed to protect users – and in this case youth users.

Luyuan’s GBMOTO Monster-G Youth ATV recall also most impacted young riders, as these youth ATVs had failed to comply with mandatory safety requirements for vehicles intended for children under 10 years of age.

The Rise in ATV Popularity

While all-terrain vehicles used to be most commonly seen on farms and in rural areas, they are becoming increasingly popular with all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts, with people taking them on trails, through fields, and in off-highway vehicle parks. And Philadelphia residents have often reported seeing people riding them down busy city streets alongside other motor vehicles. 

The global pandemic that upended everyone’s life in 2020 also caused a surge in new ATV owners, as people looked for new hobbies and ways to entertain themselves outdoors. In May of 2020, ATV maker Polaris, the number one leader in power sports, said they had seen a huge increase in brand-new customers, and numerous reports showing that 2020 propelled the ATV market to hit pre-recession levels unseen in over a decade. 

How Dangerous Are ATVs? 

While small all-terrain vehicles can be fun, The Consumer Protection Safety Commission reports that there were nearly 82,000 ATV-related injuries treated in the ER in 2018, and 26 percent of these injuries involved children under the age of 16. Between 1982 and 2018, there were nearly 16,000 ATV-related fatalities, with well over a quarter of these being children under the age of 16. 

Although the numbers change yearly, children under 12 typically account for almost half of all the fatalities in ATV accidents involving those under the age of 16. The AAP reports that children are involved in about 30% of all ATV-related deaths and ER visits every year. More children die from ATV accidents than from bicycle crashes, and more than half of these deaths occur on public roadways. 

“Day one after ATV accident – scene of the crime” by fmerenda is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What Kind of Injuries Do ATV Accidents Cause?

Despite their names, ATVs are not actually safe to drive on “all” terrains. Their high center of gravity and off-road tires will unevenly grab paved or gravel road surfaces, leading to a high potential for accidents when driving on paved public roadways. 

Roughly 29% of ATV-related injuries occur on the arms, with the head and neck taking an additional 28% of the impact. The most commonly seen injuries after an ATV accident include:

  • Head injuries/Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Leg injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Fractures

Staying Safe While Driving an ATV

If you are going to allow any child under the age of 16 go ride in an ATV, the AAP has created guidelines to help minimize injuries. These include:

  • Always wear a motorcycle-style helmet, eye protection, sturdy shoes, and reflective clothing.
  • Don’t bring multiple passengers. Additional people can make the ATV unstable and difficult to control.
  • Take a safety training course before driving
  • Stay off public roads
  • Never drive at night
  • When purchasing an ATV, look for one with seatbelts, roll-bars, and speed-limiting devices. 

When To Hire an ATV Accident Attorney

Determining fault in an ATV accident can be extraordinarily complicated. You may need to file a claim against the owner of the vehicle, or if you were riding on someone else’s property and their trail was damaged due to dangerous holes or other defects, the person who owns the property may be held responsible. You may also need to file a product liability case against the manufacturer if the ATV itself was defective. 

The team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have seen firsthand how difficult the aftermath of a serious vehicular accident can be, and can help answer your questions about liability and fault with a free consultation. Call us today at 1-866-690-2848 or fill out our form here for a free case evaluation.