Unfortunately, between 1982 and 2002, 5,239 people died from injuries associated with ATVs, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In 2002, 113,900 people went to the emergency room with ATV-related injuries. Even more devastating, the CPSC estimates that at least 30% of all the people involved in ATV accidents are children, someoneís son or daughter. In the most tragic situations, the loss can be felt for a lifetime.
These tragedies are perpetuated by a system that is still playing catch-up. The first ATVS that went on the US market in 1971 were three-wheelers. These vehicles were involved in so many rollovers and injuries, the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit alleging that ATVs and their manufacturers violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. In 1987, the ATV manufacturers agreed to stop producing three-wheeled ATVs. They started making four-wheelers to provide greater stability, but they did not recall the 2.4 million defective three-wheelers that had been already sold. Many of these extremely dangerous ATVs remain in use today.
The other part of the problem can be tied to lack of regulations about ATV use. At this time, many states do not require an age limit, license or training to operate an ATV. Very few people even realize that there are preventive measures for safe riding. For example, children ages 12 to 15 should be driving an ATV that is 70cc to 90cc. Many adult-size ATVs, which weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds and can travel as fast as 75 miles per hour, are purchased for children.
Most ATV accidents are preventable and due to unsafe speed, drinking and driving, driving on paved roads and running into regular traffic, driving in unsafe weather conditions, and driving without proper supervision or training.
Other causes of ATV accidents are related to the vehicle itself. In legal terms, "manufacturing defects" are flaws in the manufacturing process that result in injuries. "Failure to warn" describes a situation in which a manufacturer knows of a hazard regarding the product and does not warn consumers about it. "Design defects" are errors in the product design that make the vehicle dangerous. People are winning lawsuits against ATV manufacturers, and hundreds of thousands of ATVs have been recalled since 2000.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an ATV accident and it was somebody elseís fault, you may be able to receive valuable compensation for your loss. Some things can never be replaced, but through the legal process you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, loss of earning, and future loss of earnings. In the extremely unfortunate event that a death has occurred as a result of the accident, you can file a wrongful death suit.