All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are common throughout Georgia. Although ATVs may be used for recreational or work purposes, they come with heightened safety risks. Unsafe and improper use of ATVs can endanger operators, passengers, and others. On the other hand, product defects and other problems with the ATV can also lead to injuries. If you or a loved one were hurt because of an ATV accident, you need experienced legal representation. Our Georgia ATV accident attorneys will be able to help.
The very design of an ATV makes it more dangerous than other vehicles. For instance, there is nothing enclosing or protecting the rider, which means it is easy to fall off. Even at low speeds or on slight inclines, ATVs are more prone to accidents. Wearing a helmet can help, but accident victims still risk major injury to the neck and spine. Bone fractures and crushed limbs are also common injuries that send ATV riders to the emergency room.
In far too many accidents, the victims are children. In some cases, the risk comes from an adult who lets a child ride unsupervised or without the permission from the child’s parents.
Some operators allow another person to ride with them on the back, whether or not there is an extra seat. But even if the ATV is designed to seat two people, negligent operation can endanger the other passenger.
To determine fault in an ATV crash, it is important to find out how the accident occurred. Most ATV accidents boil down to one of these causes:
Operator negligence. The person operating the ATV can endanger a passenger as well as others around him or her. That includes other ATV users and pedestrians. Negligent operation can include excessive speeding or going too fast for conditions. Failure to slow down for changes in the terrain (like hills) or environmental conditions (like weather) can also risk injury.
Negligence is a wide area that can account for many different behaviors. The operator may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He or she could be attempting a dangerous stunt, or disregarding traffic laws and safety regulations. In some cases, the operator allows someone who is inexperienced or too young to operate the vehicle. Knowing what exactly happened will usually help pinpoint who is to blame for the accident.
Environmental hazards. An ATV operator may encounter hazards on the path on which he or she is riding. Among these are potholes, unsupervised children, roadway debris, and more. An accident may be caused by either trying to steer away from the hazard or overcorrecting. The operator could be partly to blame, but a negligent property owner could also bear responsibility. Property owners are generally required to keep their premises reasonably free of safety hazards.
Manufacturer defect. The manufacturer of the ATV could be responsible for poorly designing the vehicle and failing to warn riders. The ATV could even suffer from an assembly or parts flaw that makes it less safe under normal operation. These cases are relatively rare, but they do occur.
Regardless of why the accident happened, it can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries. A victim may be hospitalized and forced to miss work for a long period of time. In extreme cases, the victim suffers brain injury or paralysis. Recovery may be long and painful, or even impossible. Death also occurs in some of the most tragic cases.
Victims should not be forced to bear the medical bills, loss of income, and other consequences of these accidents. But in order to recover damages, the responsible party must be held liable. That’s where having an experienced accident attorney is critical.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury because of an ATV accident, you need an aggressive personal injury law firm in Georgia. Count on Hammers Law Firm. We represent Georgia accident victims and demand the compensation our clients need to get back to their lives. Give us a call today to set up a consultation with one of our Georgia ATV accident attorneys.