Alabama ATV Rollover Injury Attorneys
An all-terrain vehicle, commonly known as an ATV, is a motorized, off-road vehicle with either three or four wheels. It has a straddle seat and you steer with the handlebars. ATVs can be quite dangerous due to their heavy weight, unpredictability in steering, and ability to travel at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC) 340 people lost their lives in an ATV accident in 2015. This number is down from 547 in 2014 and 581 in 2013. Between 1982 and 2015, over 14,000 people died in ATV accidents. A quarter of these were children under age 16. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding an ATV, it is imperative you contact the experienced Alabama ATV Injury Attorneys at Mcphillips Shinbaum right away.
Although the CPSC doesn’t have exact statistics, thousands of people sustain serious, life-threatening, and disabling injuries every year related to driving an ATV. The most common injuries associated with this type of machinery include:
- Crushed or broken arms, hands, or wrists
- Crushed or broken ankles, feet, or legs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Amputation of a limb
In some cases, ATV drivers themselves cause the accident by driving without passing a certification course, driving on-road, disregarding safety laws, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, the fault can also lie with the designer, manufacturer, or seller of the ATV. The company making and selling these vehicles has an obligation to ensure they are safe for the public to use.
To win your personal injury case, you must prove that another party breached its duty of safety to you and that this breach alone led to your serious injuries. This can be challenging to do, especially when you’re going up against a large company with its own team of lawyers. In the last decade or so, safety advocates have been highly critical of the Yamaha Rhino model numbers 450 and 660 for serious design and manufacturing flaws. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only ATVs with abnormalities capable of inflicting serious injury.
Most Common Causes of ATV Rollover Accidents
Groups of friends and family members often enjoy driving ATVs together. A fun afternoon can quickly turn into a nightmare due to a sudden rollover that happens for one or more of these reasons:
- Sudden acceleration despite the actions of the driver
- High center of gravity
- The handlebars are stiff and difficult for the driver to steer
- Narrow track width
The fact that most people drive an ATV on rough terrain is just one of the reasons why accidents involving this type of machinery are often severe. In theory, an ATV should have a lower center of gravity and a wider wheelbase to prevent the machine from rolling. It should also have a roll bar over the passenger area and seatbelts for restraint.
However, some ATVs do not come equipped with a roll cage or a roll bar to prevent injuries if the vehicle rolls. When you drive a car, you at least have the doors on both sides to protect you from getting ejected. You literally have no protection if an ATV with this type of flaw flips over. The problem is that many novice ATV users are unaware these safety features should be there in the first place.
Manufacturers create ATVs so the back wheels travel at the same rate of speed as the front wheels. This is positive in one regard because it allows you to maneuver more easily through muddy conditions or other types of rough terrain. On the other hand, the equal wheel speed makes it more difficult to turn the ATV. With typical vehicles, the rear wheels travel at different speeds to allow the wheels facing out during the turn to travel a greater distance than the wheels facing inward during the turn. A design or manufacturing flaw in the back wheels of an ATV can cause instability because the vehicle drags.
ATV Rollover Accidents and Personal Injury Lawsuits
When you sustain serious injuries or a loved one dies in an ATV rollover accident, you could have a claim under one of three classifications of defective product personal injury lawsuit. These include:
- Manufacturing defect: This tends to be the most common problem when someone gets injured or killed on an ATV through no fault of their own. It happens when manufacturing plant workers make a serious error in the initial assembly of the ATV, whether the company realized the error or not. Manufacturers that release a product knowing it potentially has serious defects can face civil as well as criminal penalties.
- Design defect: An error in design occurs even earlier in the process of making a new ATV. The company responsible for the design may have made an error that impacted an entire line of products. The manufacturer would not be at fault here if its employees followed the design exactly as written.
- Failure to warn: The manufacturer has an obligation to include safety and use instructions with every new ATV. You could have a claim if it didn’t and you got hurt because you didn’t understand the danger inherent to operating this type of machinery.
As the plaintiff in this type of personal injury case, it’s up to you to demonstrate that the actions of the designer, manufacturer, or retailer of your ATV committed one of the errors of omission listed above. You can expect the defendants to deny responsibility by claiming that your own actions caused the rollover accident.
Our ATV Rollover Injury Attorneys Will Fight for Your Rightful Compensation
An ATV rollover accident can devastate you physically, emotionally, and financially. If you’re unable to work as you recover from your injuries, you naturally wonder how you’re going to pay the mounting medical expenses and support your family. The Alabama ATV rollover injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP understand you’re in a difficult position. We will aggressively pursue a personal injury lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable for what happened to you.
Our attorneys have years of courtroom experience with these types of injuries and will use all available resources to convince the jury that you bear no responsibility for your own injuries. Please contact us for a free personal injury case evaluation today.