ATV Accidents and Safety Risks

Several consumer products have become so notorious as safety risks that they practically scream litigation.  Among these dangerous and defective product cases that come across the desks of Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers are drop side cribs, swimming pools, trampolines, baby slings, and ATVs. All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, killed more than 11,000 people between 1982 and 2010.  Twenty-five percent of those suffering fatal injuries in an ATV accident were children.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission further reports that there were approximately 115,000 people seeking emergency medical care for ATV accident injuries in 2010. Initially widely sold as three-wheelers, ATVs became so notorious for rollover accidents and other fatal accidents that the import and manufacture or three-wheeled ATVs was banned in the United States.  Despite the ban, there are still a number or three-wheelers in use today.  Furthermore, even though four-wheeled ATVs decreased the number of fatal ATV accidents slightly,  these "safer" four-wheelers are still plagued by serious and fatal accidents and product recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is so aware of the risks of ATV accidents that they have dedicated a separate website to ATV safety at ATVSafety.gov.  The CPSC list of recalled ATVs is so extensive that it includes twenty-one ATV manufacturers, most with multiple recalled models.  ATV manufacturers with the most recalled models include Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, and Yamaha.  These manufacturers alone have issued 79 recalls combined since August 2000, with the most recent recall by Honda on February 21, 2012. With spring weather opening up warm riding weather, many people are getting out their ATVs and hitting the trails or doing some off-road riding. Safety experts caution ATV riders to practice safe riding with these tips from ATVSafety.gov:

  • Remember that ATVs are powerful motor vehicles, not toys.
  • Always be aware of your ATVs speed and weight.  These vehicles weigh up to 700 pounds and travel up to 60 mph, making crush injuries likely in a rollover accident.
  • ATVs easily tip and rollover.  Driving these vehicles on unlevel terrain makes proper training necessary.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding an ATV.
  • Never carry a passenger on an ATV designed for a single rider.
  • Stay off paved roads and avoid unfamiliar terrain.
  • Never let a child under 16 ride an adult ATV.
Injuries sustained in an ATV accident can be catastrophic and include traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, broken or crushed bones, soft tissue damage, and vital organ damage.  If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an ATV accident, you may be able to obtain compensation from manufacturers responsible for unsafe design or manufacturing defects.  For help pursuing your ATV accident claim, contact an Oklahoma City products liability lawyer.

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