All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs are motor vehicles that travel on a wider variety of terrain than most other automobiles. They often feature low-pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control. Most ATVs are intended for use by a single operator, and are driven in much the same fashion as a motorcycle.
Since their advent in the early 1970s, concerns have arisen over their use based on the alarming injury rates suffered by children and adolescents. In fact, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that in 2005 alone, there were an estimated 136,700 injuries associated with ATVs treated in US hospital emergency rooms. In line with the increased hazard of these machines, ATVs are mandated to bear a label from the manufacturer warning of their latent potential for danger, and forbidding riders under the age of 12 years-old.
Just this week, the Associated Press reported on a devastating ATV accident that occurred in Bloomington, Illinois. A 70 year-old woman suffered multiple injuries to the head, neck and chest in a collision, and died later as a result of those injuries.
McClean County officials say that the woman was a passenger on the All-Terrain Vehicle when it collided with a minivan. The driver of the minivan was uninjured, but the woman, and a man riding the ATV with the woman, were taken immediately to an area hospital. McClean county officials are currently investigating the accident, but the tragedy reminds our Chicago personal injury lawyers of the potential dangers and mitigating protective measures related to ATV use.
Many common ATV injuries can be prevented with the use of proper protective equipment and sufficient knowledge of how to operate the vehicle. In addition to taking classes to learn to properly pilot the machine, many ATV manufacturers and retailers recommend the use of a suitable DOT-approved helmet, protective eyewear, gloves, and suitable riding boots for all riding conditions. Furthermore, maintaining the ATV and ensuring that it is in proper working condition, in addition to verifying that the vehicle has proper tires, can also play a vital role in preventing injuries.
Although this particular situation does not – at first glance – appear to have been caused by negligence on behalf of the ATV manufacturer, there are many situations where parts are improperly put together, inspected, or maintained.
Our attorneys have successfully handled nearly every type of motor vehicle negligence case – including ATV and motorcycle accident cases – and have recovered millions of dollars in Illinois motor vehicle accident lawsuits for victims and their families. They have both the understanding and experience to handle even the most complex motor vehicle accident lawsuits, and will fight diligently to ensure that you are fairly compensation and justice is served.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a motor vehicle accident caused by another’s negligence, contact an attorney immediately to get a better understanding of your rights under the law.