Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Why ATV Accidents Cause Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are not street legal in Florida. Despite that, some ATV drivers will defy the law with tragic results. For instance, on January 15, 2017, Ramon Acevedo was killed when his ATV lost control and crashed on the Palmetto Expressway.

Mr Acevedo was not wearing any protective equipment. It happened a day before the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day ride, an unsanctioned event in South Florida that attracts hundreds of dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts from across the country. The event takes place despite numerous warnings from law enforcement that driving dirt bikes and ATVs on paved roads is illegal.

As this unfortunate incident shows, staying clear of highways is important if you want to be safe when riding an ATV. That said, even if you drive an ATV as required by law, there is no guarantee that you will not be involved in an accident that leads to personal injury. If you or someone you know has been hurt after an ATV crash, get in touch with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at Paul K Schrier PLLC.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 385 ATV-related deaths in 2014 and about 93,700 injuries. Nearly a quarter of all injuries involved children below 16 years of age.

The state of Florida had the 6th highest number of fatalities between 2012 and 2014. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says it recorded 330 ATV fatalities countrywide between January 1, 2016 and August 13, 2016. This is a 10% rise from the same period the previous year.

When you think about it, these numbers are not surprising. ATVs can weigh as much as 750 pounds and are capable of speeds well in excess of 40 miles per hour. Coupled with the absence of a roof or side doors, riders are vulnerable in the event of an accident.

If the ATV tips over, the rider will be forced to use their arms or legs to break their fall. Best case, you escape with minor scratches. Worst case, you may experience compound fractures, joint dislocations or a serious head injury. If the vehicle rolls over you, death is a real possibility.

What are the main causes of ATV accidents?

ATVs are used in a wide range of settings so the reasons for crashes will be diverse. Nevertheless, a couple seems to pop up more than most.

  • Absence of Instruction. Most people see ATVs as a fun, recreational vehicle and do not treat it with the same seriousness as they would a standard car. This could be why some parents do not seem too worried about their early teens driving one. Yet, insufficient or absent training on handling an ATV is one of the main reasons for accidents involving kids. Beginner riders (including adults) are often not aware how fast they can go or how much they weigh.
  • Manufacturing Defect. The widespread use of robots in automobile manufacturing has contributed tremendously to the reduction in manufacturing defects. Even then, there will still be the occasional model specific defects that will make it to the market. For an ATV, this could be faulty tires, malfunctioning brakes, insufficiently welded joints or seat problems.
  • Location. In Florida, ATVs are prohibited from use on public roads. As was the case in the incident we discussed at the beginning of this page, using an ATV on public roads exposes a rider to considerable and complex dangers. A collision with a speeding passenger car, truck or bus has a high likelihood of causing serious injury or death. Poorly maintained private trails and roads are also a risk factor.
  • Intoxication. This is always a major cause no matter what vehicle is involved. It's probably worse for ATVs because it is a 'fun car' and will therefore be used during events where alcohol consumption is part of the occasion. Riding an ATV when under the influence is an absolute no-no and only exacerbates danger for the rider and persons in the vicinity. If you the rider is injured as a result, it makes it that much harder for them to get compensation.

Paul K Schrier PLLC Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys

When caught up in an ATV accident, seeking medical attention is your first priority. However, it's also important that you collect as much information about the incident as you can. Take details of the vehicle as well as the contacts of the rider and witnesses at the scene.

Contact an expert Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer from Paul K Schrier PLLC at the earliest. Getting the claims process right from the start is crucial in raising your chances of compensation.

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