ATVs Are a Popular and Potentially Dangerous Form of Recreational Fun
With summer in full swing, children and adults are both searching for recreational activities to enjoy together. One popular summer activity involves off-roading on ATVs. Although these vehicles can be exciting to ride, their use also has the potential to cause serious injuries and fatalities. The popularity of the sport is on the rise as shown by the fact that ATV ownership has tripled during a recent 12 year period. A couple of recent tragic ATV accidents serve as a reminder of the potential danger associated with this form or recreational activity.
Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, a former Olympic swimming champion, was paralyzed in an ATV accident earlier this month. The former Olympian was injured when the ATV she was driving struck a curb in a parking lot outside a restaurant where she was eating. When she collided with the curb, she was propelled over the vehicle and down a 5-7 foot drop according to the police report. She was reportedly not wearing a helmet. A letter from the family of the 6-time Olympic gold medalist indicated that she severed her spine at the T11 vertebrae. The letter also indicated that the vertebrae only missed rupturing her aorta by millimeters. Amy told emergency responders at the scene that she could not move or feel her legs or toes. She underwent surgery to stabilize her spine.
While this tragic ATV accident occurred in Arizona, a fatal ATV accident occurred in Georgia just a couple months ago. A sixty-year-old grandmother and her grandchildren ages 3 and 18 months died in a fatal ATV accident. The grandmother apparently drove the vehicle into a pond after losing control of the vehicle. The ATV's cab was enclosed on its side so the grandmother and her grandchildren were trapped inside the ATV. Despite resuscitation efforts, all three died.
These tragic accidents serve as a reminder of the potential danger associated with these potentially dangerous and unstable vehicles. While many kids ride ATVs, these tragedies demonstrate that all-terrain vehicles are not toys. Even adults can lose control of an ATV.
The number of ATV accidents that cause serious injury and fatalities are highest during the months of June and July. ATV accidents claim the lives of about 700 people annually and approximately fifty of those are kids age 16 or younger. Further, 28,000 kids under 16 suffer serious injury in ATV crashes each year.
ATV safety experts have promulgated a number of safety guidelines that include the following:
- Never ride an ATV on a public road
- Always wear a helmet
- One size ATV does not fit all
- Never transport a passenger
- Never operate an ATV when impaired by an intoxicating substance
ATVs now typically come with warnings that indicate the appropriate age for the rider based on engine size and weight of the vehicle. We encourage riders to exercise extreme caution and parents to closely supervise their children.
When a person is injured in an ATV accident because of a product defect, the manufacturer of the ATV might be liable. If a passenger is injured, the driver or owner of the ATV can be liable.
If you or someone close to you is injured in an ATV accident, our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys can evaluate your claim and advise you of your legal rights and remedies. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.