When Injuries Happen through Negligence or on the Job, Know Your Rights
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular recreational vehicles, used and enjoyed by thousands of Americans each year. They’re also used by farm workers and workers in certain manufacturing and industrial settings for a variety of motorized tasks.
ATVs are designed to be safely used; but they can be extremely dangerous under a variety of circumstances, and when accidents occur, they can cause serious injuries or even death.
In fact, Ohio accounts for a large number of ATV accidents and fatalities each year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 82 ATV-related deaths occurred in Ohio between 2008 and 2011. The CPSC estimates that nearly 100,000 people are injured each year throughout the U.S. in ATV-related accidents. Of that figure, about 30,000 are children. The Mayo Clinic states that children account for nearly one-third of all ATV injuries and one-quarter of ATV fatalities.
The most common types of ATV injuries are injuries to arms, legs and the neck area. ATV injuries can also result in traumatic brain injuries, the most common of which is a closed head injury.
Here in Ohio, safety laws require ATV drivers to wear eye protection and helmets, and children under the age of 16 are barred from operating ATVs on public lands without an adult. Yet these laws are only applicable to driving on state lands; drivers are not restricted while driving on private property.
ATV accidents are hardly restricted to recreational use. ATV accidents claim the lives of nearly 11 people each year and result in injuries to another 163, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Proving Negligence in an ATV Accident
According to the legal definition, an ATV accident is any situation with an ATV that results in property damage, injury and or/death. ATV accident victims cannot obtain compensation without proving negligence to an insurance company or in a court of law. For most recreational ATV accidents, the primary issue revolves around who caused the accident. If someone other than the victim caused an ATV accident, the victim or their loved ones can sue on the grounds of negligence. In order to prove negligence, a victim must demonstrate that the ATV accident (1) caused harm; (2) was caused by another party’s carelessness; (3) is the fault of that party, who therefore is responsible for providing just compensation.
In instances where more than one party is found to be at fault, the resultant liability is distributed based on the estimated percentage of fault that occurred.
Workers’ Compensation Relief May Not Be Enough
If an ATV injury occurred on the job but is caused by the negligence of a third party who’s not a coworker, there could be additional claims made. Yet workers’ compensation only covers medical bills, a portion of lost wages and disability. Consequently, it often doesn’t return full monetary value for injuries sustained in the accident, or through repetitive stress-induced work.
If a farm worker is injured by defective or improperly serviced machinery, the manufacturer or service company responsible for the defective equipment may be forced to pay civil damages.
Similar to other motorized vehicle accidents (e.g., cars, trucks and motorcycles), a victim of an ATV accident could be legally entitled to recover expenses for medical care, lost income, property repairs, psychological anguish, and pain and suffering.
Proving Defective Equipment Negligence
Some ATV accidents may seems to be caused by operator error; yet in reality, they actually occur as a result of equipment failure. Examples include defective steering mechanisms, defective brakes, or even a defective helmet or visor. In these cases, the victim can pursue justice against the manufacturer of the defective product.
Keep in mind: The ATV and your helmet are critical pieces of evidence that may be examined by an expert in the case of a lawsuit. if you believe equipment failure might have been responsible for your injuries, it is vitally important to preserve both of these pieces of equipment, as well as any other equipment or evidence. Additionally, if you were riding on a damaged trail at the time your accident occurred and injuries ensued, it may be appropriate to pursue a premises liability case.
A Note about Insurance Coverage
ATVs and other recreational vehicles may be added to auto policies and may provide coverage even when the at-fault party is uninsured or cannot be identified (i.e., a hit-and-run accident on a trail). In those instances, an injured party may seek uninsured motorist coverage if the ATV was properly listed on an automobile policy.
It is also possible that negligence claims relating to operation or maintenance of an ATV may be covered under a homeowners, farm, umbrella or other liability policy of insurance. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away when an ATV accident occurs to locate and aggressively pursue the proper insurance coverage(s).
No Cost Evaluation
If you or a loved one have been injured in an ATV or three-wheeled vehicle accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at NRS are highly knowledgeable in workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation, including lawsuits against ATV manufacturers. We fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.
In the event you or a loved one has suffered an ATV/three-wheeled vehicle injury, contact the personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.