All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility vehicles (UTVs) can be useful and a lot of fun. Whether they have three wheels or four, it's easy to enjoy the freedom and excitement of riding them.
However, there are some important things you should know before you ride these vehicles. ATVs are usually designed with saddle seats, and ridden by one or two people. These machines have handlebars and don't have protective roll bars or cages. UTVs have one or two bucket/bench seats to hold up to four people, steering wheels, and are typically equipped with roll cages or bars.
ATVs are considered much more dangerous than UTVs because they're often used as recreational vehicles, whereas UTVs are the go-to for work/task situations. People—especially individuals under age 16—are frequently injured and even killed in ATV accidents.
How Common Are ATV Injuries and Fatalities?
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there are about 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries each year because of ATV crashes and other ATV incidents. From 1982–2013, more people died in Texas ATV incidents than in any other state. During that time, 735 people lost their lives.
Any part of the body can be hurt in an ATV crash. In 2016, for example:
- 29 % of injuries involved arms or hands
- 27 % of injuries involved head or neck
- 22 % of injuries involved legs and feet
- 20 % of injuries involved torso
- 2 % of injuries involved other parts of the body
Approximately 26 % of ATV injury victims are 16 and younger.
How Do ATV Injuries and Fatalities Happen?
ATV crashes and injuries may result from:
- Operator inexperience or lack of training
- Unfamiliar property or shifting terrain
- Riding without an adult
- Traveling on paved roads
- Riding with a passenger
- Not wearing safety gear such as helmets
Depending on the unique circumstances of the ATV crash, injury or wrongful death liability may fall on the operator, the property owner, or the ATV manufacturer.
Who to Turn to After an ATV Crash in Texas
As with any personal injury case, a full investigation is necessary after such an incident to determine who's responsible for your injury or a loved one’s death. It's important to work with a lawyer who understands the potential causes of ATV crashes and who can identify the right defendants.
If someone else was responsible for this tragedy, you may be able to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering. However, your time to do so is limited by the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury. In most situations, you have only two years to file your claim.
If you’re hurt in an ATV or UTV wreck, our attorneys are available to talk to you about your legal options. Please call us or reach out to us via this website today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.