While ATVs can be enjoyable and exciting recreational vehicles, they are still complex motorized machines that can pose a real safety risk.
When an operator is negligent or when the vehicle is defectively designed or manufactured, a fun recreational activity can quickly result in serious injury or death. This is because, unlike other motor vehicles, ATVs lack safety equipment like seat belts, airbags, or roll cages or additional crash protection. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people are injured every year in ATV accidents.
If you have been injured in an ATV accident, you may be entitled to compensation for losses arising from your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When you contact the Shelby, NC ATV accident lawyers at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, our legal team will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident to help you understand whether you may have a legal claim against for compensation for your injuries.
Call or message us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and the potential compensation that we could help you recover if someone else’s negligence caused your ATV accident.
There are several common types of ATV accidents, such as:
ATV accidents frequently involve rollovers, collisions with other vehicles, collisions with fixed objects like trees or rocks, riders being thrown from the ATV, riders suffering injuries from contact with the ATV’s mechanical parts, collisions with people on foot, and more.
The most common injuries suffered in ATV accidents include:
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an average of 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries every year involving ATVs across the U.S. In North Carolina alone, for the latest reporting period of 2014 through 2016, there were 45 deaths arising from ATV accidents.
As a motorized vehicle, safely driving an ATV requires care and experience. Without either of those, it can be very easy to have an ATV accident. Some of the most common causes of ATV accidents in Shelby, NC, include:
North Carolina law defines an ATV as “a motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on three or four low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.” The law imposes various guidelines and restrictions for the use of ATV, including:
Because North Carolina does not require ATVs to be registered with the DMV and because they cannot be driven on public roads, it is not necessary to obtain insurance to operate an ATV.
When an ATV accident is caused by the operator, establishing negligence is similar to a typical car accident case. It is necessary to establish the standard of care by which the operator was required to operate the ATV and to show how the operator’s conduct fell below this standard of care and how it caused injury and compensable damages to the injured party.
If the operator does not own the vehicle, it may also be possible to assert a negligent entrustment claim against the owner of the ATV. A negligent entrustment claim is more likely to be successful if the operator lacked training and experience to operate the ATV or if the operator was an unsupervised minor or operating an ATV that he or she was not permitted by law to operate.
When an accident is caused by a malfunction, it may be possible to demonstrate that the accident was caused by a design defect (and therefore common to all examples of the same design) or a manufacturing defect (limited to the particular ATV or a specific production run of ATVs).
In these cases, it is often necessary to retain engineering experts to offer an opinion as to how the vehicle was defective and how the manufacturer was negligent in allowing the defective ATV to go to market or failed to adequately warn consumers of dangers in the ATV’s use or provide adequate instructions for use.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an ATV accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
Contact Teddy, Meekins & Talbert today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Shelby, NC ATV accident attorneys to discuss your legal rights and options. Learn more about how our firm can provide you with the knowledgeable representation and individualized attention you need and deserve.