As a Missouri ATV accident lawyer, I’m accustomed to reading about devastating single-vehicle accidents with ATVs that have serious safety flaws by design. But a story out of Lincoln County, Missouri, shows that ATVs are also not a safe place to be when hit by a car. According to a May 22 article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a couple in their early 80s were killed over the weekend after their ATV was rear-ended by a Pontiac driven by a teenager. Victor Harrell, 81, died at the scene; his wife, 82-year-old Virginia Harrell, was taken to the hospital but died there. The teen and his passenger were also treated at the hospital for serious injuries. The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating whether charges are appropriate.
According to the article, the Harrells were going west on the paved Brevator Road outside Moscow Mills, Mo., northwest of St. Charles County. It was unclear what they were doing, but reports said they own a farm in the area. They were on top of a hill at 9:24 a.m. when Zacheriah Cain, 16, came up the hill behind them, westbound in the same lane, and hit the ATV. In addition to the fatal injuries to both Harrells, the crash caused serious injuries to Cain and his male passenger, who the Post-Dispatch said had the same last name. No charges have been filed, but the Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating each vehicle’s speed and the cause of the accident.
No matter what conclusion the Highway Patrol reaches, this story saddens me as a St. Louis auto accident attorney. ATVs are frequently used for recreation and sometimes for getting around unpaved land, but they are not intended to substitute for cars. For that reason, they lack many of the basic safety features required by law for passenger cars, such as seatbelts, airbags and a crush-resistant roof. That means that whenever a car (or truck) and an ATV crash, the people in the ATV usually sustain far worse injuries. In fact, the lack of seatbelts or even sides or a roof in many ATVs makes them a great deal more like motorcycles from an injury standpoint — it’s very easy to be thrown from the vehicle. That can lead to head injuries, broken bones and other serious injuries, regardless of who caused the crash.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we have a special practice in ATV accidents because we know how dangerous ATVs can be. Despite nearly a decade of statistics showing increased risk of death and injury on an ATV, many people don’t realize how dangerous they can be. In fact, ATVs are motor vehicles just like cars — except that they don’t have cars’ safety features. In fact, some ATVs are so defectively designed that they’re very likely to have a fatal rollover accident, despite being designed for uneven, rough terrain. When this kind of defect causes a serious accident, with or without a car, our southern Illinois ATV accident lawyers help victims hold the manufacturer legally responsible. That helps victims get the money they need to pay their medical bills, replace lost income and much more.
If you or someone you love was hurt in an accident with an ATV you believe was unsafe by design, don’t wait to call Carey, Danis & Lowe and find out how we can help. For a free evaluation of your case, send us a message online or call 1-877-678-3400 today.