All terrain vehicles, commonly known as ATVs, are used across the country for work and play.
Farmers and farm laborers use ATVs in order to keep track of livestock and grazing areas, inspect and maintain farmland, check and haul supplies to crops, and more.
Teenagers use ATVs for recreation on family farms, in off-road and mountainous areas, as well as in rural and coastal terrain.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 150,000 people went to emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries in 2007, and 146,000 in 2006. The reports include ATVs having three, four, or an unknown number of wheels.
Reported ATV-related deaths totaled 750 in 2006 and 805 in 2005, while estimates of all ATV-related deaths during were 882 and 948 for the same years.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Some of the most serious non-fatal ATV injury problems include traumatic brain injury (TBI), permanent concussions, neurological injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, fractures and dislocations, in addition to chest and abdominal injuries.
TBI can occur when an ATV rider hit his/her head in an accident, crash, or rollover. Often, the person involved in the crash may not even appear to be injured.
People injured in non-fatal ATV accidents can suffer catastrophic, life-changing medical and professional problems. Treatment for ATV injuries can be costly and extensive. Head and spinal cord injuries often require extensive, ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation.
The most common type of injury cause involves the ATV flipping or rolling. When this happens, an ATV driver and passenger can be thrown from the vehicle, or even pinned down by it.
Many people do not realize that, in general, ATVs are not designed to carry passengers in the back. Doing so can put both passengers and the vehicle operator at an increased risk for an accident.
According to U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ATVs lack the general stability of other vehicles, and are not meant to be driven on regular paved roads.
Because children often lack the physical strength, cognitive abilities, and fine motor skills to operate ATVs properly, their risk for injury is greater than adults.
Studies have found that adolescent and teenage ATV riders have more severe injuries and more head injuries than any other age group.
Although there are state and federal laws, codes and standards for all terrain vehicles, the fact remains that serious non-fatal ATV injuries and deaths can and still occur.
Cost of Medical Treatment and Long-Term Care from ATV Injuries
Treatment for ATV injuries can be costly extensive, and often involves life-changing therapies and rehabilitation. A CDC study examining ATV injuries in the state of Alaska concluded that six Alaskans permanently disabled in ATV accidents might require as much as $11.5 million to cover the cost of basic long-term skilled care, assuming each disabled ATV injury victim lived until they were 65 years-old.
In addition to physical damages, mental impairment and emotional damage suffered by many victims of life-changing ATV injuries may be severe.
Similarly, TBI victims will require a lifetime of chronic care, together with extensive rehabilitation and the use of expensive assistive technologies, including augmentative and alternative communication devices.
ATV Injuries and Your Legal Rights
There are state and federal laws about ATV safety that manufacturers and sellers of ATVs must observe.
If you or a loved one experienced swimming ATV-related injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future expenses, in addition to special legal damages.
Some of the legal factors that an attorney can review with you include: