Texas is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. With wide-open spaces and many months of sunshine per year, the rolling landscape of Central Texas in particular is perfect to get some wind in your hair.
You don’t need a motorcycle and the open road to experience that feeling, though. All-terrain vehicles (or ATVs) are a wilder and, for many people, easier way to seek the thrill of the open air as they fly along on a machine.
Unfortunately, sometimes that fun comes at a price. The summer months in Austin see a surge in ATV riders — and ATV accidents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 600 adults and over 100 children under 16 die each year in ATV accidents, nearly one-third of which occur on paved surfaces. Each year, almost 100,000 injuries are reported.
What Are Common Causes of ATV Accidents?
ATVs are inherently dangerous for several reasons, including the weight of the vehicle, the speed of the vehicle, and the lack of safety equipment on riders. And because ATVs are recreational vehicles, many people do not treat them with the seriousness they would treat an automobile on the road, even though many ATVs can reach speeds of 65 miles per hour.
Unfortunately, while no activity is completely risk-free, many ATV accidents are preventable. The most common factors in ATV accidents that result in injury or death are:
- Unsafe speeds
- Inexperienced drivers
- Paved road driving
- Lack of safety equipment
- Driving under the influence
- Too many passengers
- Careless and reckless driving
While some people use ATVs for agriculture or even to access rural homes, many ATV riders are recreational, with fun as the primary goal. For some, the thrill comes from the risk. Unfortunately, so can an injury.
Who Is Responsible for an ATV Accident?
The short answer is that it depends. Many companies in Texas rent ATVs to recreational riders during the spring and summer months. In some cases, that may make the rental company liable when there is an accident, because of improper maintenance or other factors.
Other times, the accident may have resulted from a defective or faulty vehicle, in which case the manufacturer may be at fault. And still other times, the ATV may be owned by a friend or acquaintance, in which case filing against their homeowner’s insurance policy might be the first step in making a claim.
Do I Have Grounds to File an ATV Lawsuit?
Accident injury cases are complex, and there is no easy formula to determine under what circumstances an injured individual or their loved ones — in cases where the ATV accident results in death — have a valid personal injury or wrongful death case against another individual or entity.
The best thing you can do if you have experienced an ATV accident is contact an injury law firm like FVF for a free, no-commitment consultation to discuss your case. In general, however, you can ask yourself a few questions to determine if you might have a case.
- Are you injured? Even if you believe you may be partially to blame for the ATV accident, the law might not agree. If you have been injured, you might have a case.
- Are your injuries due to someone else’s negligence? Perhaps you were the passenger on someone else’s ATV, or perhaps you rented an ATV that malfunctioned. If you believe someone else’s actions, even if they were not on purpose, contributed to your injury, you could have a legal claim.
- What has your injury cost you? If you have been injured, you likely have medical bills. You may have missed work as a result or your injury, and perhaps your quality of life has been affected. All of these damages can be considered when filing a lawsuit for an injury.
What Can ATV Accident Compensation Cover?
As stated above, damages can be awarded for a variety of costs associated with an injury stemming from an ATV accident. This holds true even if you weren’t riding on the vehicle. For example, if you were run over by a rider on an ATV whose brakes failed, you likely suffered significant injuries due to the weight of the vehicle.
These injuries would result in significant medical bills and perhaps even ongoing physical rehabilitation, along with physical and emotional suffering. Compensation for personal injuries can also account for actual lost wages as well as potentially reduced future wages. If you have been severely injured, your home and vehicle may even need to be accommodated for your new disability.
While there is no black-and-white rule about how much an injury is worth, an experienced injury and accident lawyer knows the law and how to calculate the greatest possible recovery under the circumstances in order to seek a just recovery for you.
How Can an Austin ATV Accident Lawyer Help Me?
At FVF, we are committed to helping you understand your options when you are injured in an ATV accident. We accept only cases we believe we can add substantial value to — enough to pay for the cost of fighting for your case and then some.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you always know what to expect. And our free, no-commitment case consultations are meant to help you feel informed enough to make decisions about your situation that are in your best interest. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.