Illinois ATV Accident Lawyer
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were first introduced for farm use in the United States in the 1970’s. Since then, their popularity and recreational use has risen dramatically. With the increase in popularity came an increase in injuries associated with ATV accidents.
In 1982, approximately 10,000 people were injured in ATV accidents. By 2007, the number of injuries increased to 150,000. The number of fatalities associated with ATV accidents has also increased from 29 in 1982 to 766 in 2007. More than 25 percent of the ATV fatalities from 1982 to 2009 were children younger than 16 years. ATV accident victims are most common in white men aged 18 to 30 years old. Injuries are most likely to occur in rural areas, and 80 percent of the injuries affect the driver.
The increase in fatalities and serious injuries associated with ATVs can be attributed to the production of bigger, faster, and more powerful ATVs. The first ATVs weighed no more than 200 pounds and were no faster than the 89 cc, 7 horsepower engines that the ATVs were manufactured with. Today, ATVs can weigh up to 400 pounds and are manufactured with 600 cc and 50 horsepower engines. Many modern ATVs can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour.
ATV injuries and fatalities increased so significantly that in 1988, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission placed a 10-year ban on ATV use. The ban has since expired and ATV injuries and fatalities continue.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an ATV accident, call Illinois ATV attorney Christopher Dixon at 855-40-CRASH for a FREE consultation.
ATV Safety Defects and ATV Recalls
Because ATVs have a higher center of gravity, they are inherently unstable. ATV drivers must be aware of how to maneuver the ATV properly in order to prevent rollover accidents. Most children simply do not have the size, physical strength, or balance to control ATVs, especially adult-sized ATVs. When you add a passenger, ATVs are even more likely to tip or rollover.
There are several things ATV drivers and passengers can do to prevent accidents:
- Wear a helmet, gloves, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, and over the ankle boots.
- Do not ride on paved roads. ATVs are meant to be used off-road.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Ride the appropriate sized ATV for your age.
- Supervise children under the age of 16.
- Never allow a passenger to ride on a single user ATV.
Even if you take the necessary safety precautions, some ATVs are manufactured and sold with mechanical defects, and there is nothing you can do to prevent these types of accidents. Each year, several ATV manufacturers issue recalls. As these companies try to cut costs to increase their profits, mistakes are often made and the general public pays for it in serious injuries and death.
When manufactures release defective ATVs into the market, they are on the hook for any injuries or fatalities that occur during the normal and appropriate use of their product.
In 2007, Kazuma Pacific Inc. came under fire for several defects associated with their youth Meerkat 50 ATVs. The ATVs were found to have no front breaks, no parking break, missing indicator lights, and the ATV could be started while in gear. Further, the owner’s manual did not contain complete information on safe operation and maintenance of the ATV. Kazuma refused to cooperate with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and continued to sell the Meerkat 50.
In most cases, the CPSC is highly ineffective, as they aren’t a governing body. ATV usage is a mostly unregulated activity, and the only way to get through to the manufacturers is to file lawsuits against them.
Yamaha Rhino ATV Lawsuits
In 2008, the Yamaha Rhino became the focus of several personal injury lawsuits after a series of fatal rollover accidents occurred. Forty-six deaths and hundreds of injuries were linked to Rhino rollover crashes. Initially, Yamaha blamed the deaths and injuries on driver error or failing to wear helmets, but in 2009 the company temporarily halted sales of the Rhino until repairs were completed.
In 2011, Yamaha quietly settled over 100 personal injury lawsuits before they had the chance to proceed to trial. However, a couple of cases have gone to trial. A jury in Georgia awarded $317,000 to a plaintiff who suffered leg injuries during a Yamaha rollover crash. In a 2013 lawsuit in Alabama, the jury awarded the plaintiff $3.3 million for injuries she sustained to her arms and legs during a rollover crash. The lawsuit claimed Yamaha was guilty of wanton disregard for the safety of its consumers by failing to correct safety issues associated with the Rhino, even though the company knew serious injury was likely to occur by not making immediate repairs to the ATVs.
Illinois ATV Accident Attorney
If you have been hurt or someone you love has been hurt or killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident, you have rights. If your ATV accident and injuries resulted from a defective ATV, you will likely need to pursue a products liability case. If you were thrown from an ATV while another person was driving, your case will fall under the tort theory of negligence. Regardless of the legal theory of recovery, you have a limited amount of time to file your ATV claim for damages. The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of injury.
Contact ATV injury lawyer Christopher Dixon immediately to discuss your case. Christopher has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and has successfully helped injury victims’ recover millions of dollars for their injuries. Call today to for a FREE consultation: 855-40-CRASH (toll-free).