Though there are many common causes of accidents involving ATVs, including improperly riding double, riding on inappropriate terrain, speeds exceeding conditions, and driving while influenced by drugs or alcohol, another common cause of ATV accidents is defective and/or dangerous equipment. In many cases, drivers and passengers sustain injures that are not their fault. It is unfortunate that ATV owners and riders are frequently unaware of manufacturing defects and dangerous design flaws that can cause ATV accidents. In these cases, injury litigation can help ease the burden of medical costs on families suffering as a result of ATV accidents.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CSPC) 2010 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries released in December 2011 states that as of December 31, 2010, reports of 317 ATV-related fatalities occurring in 2010 had been received by CSPC staff. However, the CPSC also stated that reporting for 2007-2010 is ongoing and, therefore, they expect the numbers to increase and will be reflected more accurately in future reports. In 2006, the last year for which reporting is complete, 833 ATV-related fatalities were reported, 142 of which were children under 16 years of age. The CPSC estimates the total ATV-related fatalities for 2006 to be 903.
In regards to ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries, the CPSC stated that in 2010, 115,000 ATV-related injuries were estimated to have taken place in the United States. Of these 115,000 injuries, 12% were sustained by children under 12 years of age. Furthermore, the report states that, “The increasing trend in the number of ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries from 2001 to 2010 is statistically significant.”
Sadly, accidents happen even to responsible riders, and injuries include, but are not limited to, brain injuries, burn injuries, personal injury, and wrongful death. ATV users, whether they are using them for utility or recreational purposes, are encouraged to take environmental and personal limitations into account when riding, wear an approved helmet, never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and never allow a child to operate an ATV that exceeds their limitations or operate any ATV without supervision.