All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are three-wheeled, four-wheeled, or five-wheeled vehicles, designed to be ridden by single operators off-road. An ATV that is intended to have a passenger is commonly referred to as a tandem ATV or side-by-sides. These vehicles are sometimes also referred to as off-highway-vehicles or OHVs.
ATVs serve functions for the military, agriculture, outdoor labor, nature preserves, and many other industries, as well as for recreation, hunting and hauling loads. ATVs can be driven off-road or on private land or may be street legal in specific circumstances in some states. Alabama has no statutes which specifically reference driving ATVs by name, although registration of ATVs is permitted by statute.
Unfortunately, hundreds of people across the country are injured or killed annually in accidents involving ATVs. Some of the accidents involve the reckless operation of ATVs, but other cases may involve other factors such as defective parts or dangerous design.
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Huntsville Alabama ATV Accident Lawyers
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in an ATV crash in Alabama? If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you should talk to a lawyer about your legal options.
Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., represents ATV accident victims in Huntsville and surrounding areas of Alabama. You can have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call us or fill out an online contact form to set up a free consultation.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents in Alabama
Operating an ATV requires experience that some drivers may lack. When driven on rough terrain or at high speeds, they can be even more dangerous. Even when operated responsibly, however, ATV accidents can still occur.
Some common causes of ATV accidents include:
- Driving on rough surfaces
- Vehicle defects
- Lack of maintenance
- Unsafe speeds
- Carrying a passenger (riding double) on a single-rider ATV
- Rollover accidents
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless operation
In the event of an accident, an at-fault party could be held liable for injuries to the driver or passengers. This may be the driver or another person, or the manufacturer of the ATV. Some of the most recognizable ATV manufacturers include Honda, Polaris, Yamaha, Can-Am, Kymco, KTM, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Suzuki, CFMOTO, AlphaSports, and Bombardier.
Common ATV and Four-Wheeling Injuries
Some ATV crashes have the potential to cause life-altering injuries. Victims in these cases are often forced to deal with major medical bills and they are often unable to return to work for extended periods of time.
Commonly reported ATV injuries include:
- Muscle strains
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Nerve damage
Catastrophic crashes could lead to devastating and possibly fatal injuries. If you lost a loved one in an ATV accident caused by someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death action to recover compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of financial support, and other damages.
ATV Accident Statistics
The Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries from the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that CPSC staff received reports of 14,653 ATV-related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2016. The reports for those years included 3,232 ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age, or 22 percent of the total number of reported ATV-related fatalities.
The CPSC stated that its staff received reports of 337 ATV-related fatalities occurring in 2016, 484 in 2015, and 581 in 2014. In 2013, the most recent year for which reporting was considered complete, the estimated number of ATV-related fatalities was 653.
According to the CPSC, there were an estimated 101,200 ATV-related, emergency room treated injuries in the United States in 2016, and an estimated 26 percent of the injuries involved children younger than 16 years of age. For ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries, the primarily affected area was the arm in 29 percent of cases, the head or neck in 27 percent of cases, the leg in 22 percent of cases, and the torso in 20 percent of cases.
Twenty-eight percent of these injuries involved fractures, 22 percent involved contusions or abrasions, 12 percent involved sprains or strains, 11 percent involved lacerations, 9 percent involved internal organ injuries, and 18 percent were classified as “other.”
The CPSC reported that Alabama had 310 reported ATV-related fatalities between 1982 and 2016. The 39 reported deaths during ongoing reporting gave Alabama a total of 349 reported deaths.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data showed that Alabama had 13 ATV-related fatalities in 2014, 6 in 2013, and 10 in 2012. The 29 deaths during this time period gave the state a rate of 6.0 deaths per 1 million population.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an association of nonprofit consumer organization, reported that there were 349 ATV fatalities in 2017. Of this total, 292 were drivers, 35 were passengers, one was a pedestrian, one was classified as “other,” and 20 were classified as “unknown.”
Among the 2017 ATV fatalities, 61 were 15 years of age or younger, 41 were between 16 and 19 years of age, 59 were between 20 and 29 years of age, 44 were between 30 and 39 years of age, 37 were between 40 and 49 years of age, 42 were between 50 and 59 years of age, 30 were between 60 and 69 years of age, 29 were 70 years of age or older, and 6 were of unknown age.
How Our Lawyers Can Help after an ATV Accident in Alabama
Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., understands that ATV accidents can be devastating for everyone involved, and there are often complicating factors. Our firm can conduct an independent investigation into your crash to determine the true cause and then negotiate to seek a fair and full settlement to your case.
If you sustained severe injuries or your loved one was killed in an ATV crash in Alabama, our experienced ATV accident attorneys want to help. We have helped recover significant compensation on behalf of our clients and their families, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case by calling us at 256-677-4376 or by filling out a contact form online now.