All terrain vehicles, also known as an ATV or “quad”, are small vehicles primarily used by one or two people for recreational purposes. They can be driven on rough courses with off-road conditions or across vast areas of land. Although they are not street legal in America, ATVs are very popular in rural environments for both work and play.
Owners and riders of ATVs are required by law to follow their regional regulations for operation, as well as in use of safety equipment. When passengers or others are injured due to driver negligence or the vehicle itself is flawed, personal injury attorneys can help ATV accident victims.
Side by Side and ATV Design and Safety
Once designed as “three wheelers,” known as an ATC, ATVs now usually feature four wheels which attributes to the nickname “quad”. A ten year ban on three wheelers in the United States was enforced beginning in 1988. This ban was enacted due to the high number of accidents resulting from three wheeler use through the 1980s. The Consumer Product Safety Commission later determined that driver error and lack of proper technique were at the root of most of these accidents, not necessarily any design flaws.
ATVs use low-pressure tires to navigate rough terrains. These tires feature deep grooves more adequately suited to muddy, rocky conditions than standard automobile tires. Some ATVs have two seats in a side-by-side configuration, but most are one seat above the engine.
Despite a rough start with three wheel versions, ATVs are now considered safer than motorcycles. This is attributed to their stability inherent in the four wheel design. But drivers often gain a false sense of security mixed with bravado and expose themselves to conditions as dangerous as those of other vehicles at high speeds. Rollover accidents are one of the biggest dangers of ATV use, during which seatbelts and a passenger compartment do not exist to protect the driver and passenger, unlike four wheeled automobiles with these features.
Some ATVs have roll cages. But these still lead to injuries such as severe crush accidents causing serious damage to arms, legs, torsos and the head. Traumatic brain injuries are not necessarily uncommon in ATV accidents. Most roll cages are aftermarket and do not come standard on these ATVs.
Age is frequently a contributing factor in ATV accidents. ATV design is oriented to specific age groups. But misuse of some demographics can lead to intense injuries. Riders younger than 16 years are most affected by ATV accidents and injuries, accounting for more than one third of all injuries resulting from these vehicles’ use.
Common injuries of side-by-side and ATV accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Injuries
Most injuries are caused by unavoidable circumstances. But the results of these unavoidable accidents are far more injurious than they could be, due to non-use of helmets, poor judgment, vehicle size versus age and improper seating of a passenger on a single-person ATV.
Common Causes of ATV Rollovers
ATVs frequently rollover onto their drivers and passengers. There are a multitude of reasons why this rollover may happen, with the most common being:
- High center of gravity of the ATV
- ATV narrow track width
- Sudden acceleration by the driver
- Poor steering by the driver
- Improper handling or maneuvering
By ATV design, both rear wheels travel at the same speed. This helps the vehicle get in and out of muddy, rough terrain. But when turning an ATV, this can cause great instability. Regular four-wheeled vehicles like passenger cars feature back wheels that turn at different speeds to accommodate turns. So when drivers maneuver turns too quickly or due to mechanical problems, an ATV’s outer wheel drags and may cause the ATV to rollover.
An ATV Rollover Attorney Can Help You After an ATV Accident
When you are in an ATV accident, an experienced ATV rollover accident attorney can provide the assistance and support needed to gain compensation for injuries suffered in the rollover. Much as they would conduct an investigation into an auto accident to help victims receive appropriate compensation, experienced ATV rollover accident attorneys may use investigation methods, expert witnesses, scene witnesses and others to determine the exact cause of your ATV rollover related injuries.
Call the experienced Arizona ATV rollover accident attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602-737-0532 for a free, no-obligation consultation.