What do you think of when we say ATV? You probably think of rolling hills, fun and excitement, right? You think of adrenaline and people trailblazing through mud while screaming, “Yeaaah!”
But you would hardly think of an ATV accident. But that’s exactly what happens to thousands of people every year when they get on one.
In case you didn’t know, ATV stands for “All Terrain Vehicle” and there are many uses for them besides fun. People use them to plow farms, plow snow, and even to transport materials. And the accidents that come from ATVs are from these uses as well as recreational ones.
In the United States, alone, ATVs are responsible for 100,000 injuries and 650 deaths every year but think about how many more people get on ATVs when they’re on vacation? Yet most of never even think to stop about the risks and injuries that happen from ATVs.
The next time you find yourself with an ATV and you’re asked to sign some kind of contract before riding one, think of this article. Learn about what some of the most common ATV injuries are, how to legally protect yourself, and what to do if you ever find yourself in need of injury lawyers in Baton Rouge.
In many states, you must register an ATV if you buy one and you must have insurance if you want to ride it out on the open road. In addition, some states also require special licenses for the driver and there are strict age restrictions on who can ride one.
For instance, some states require children under a certain age (usually 16) to ride with supervision, which is probably a good idea because ATVs are responsible for about 77 children’s deaths per year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Of course, if you choose to not follow the law, no one will ever know but if you ever find yourself in an accident, you won’t have any legal protection and you can be charged for not following state regulations.
The lesson here? Always check with your local DMV before buying or riding an ATV.
While some states require you to have ATV insurance before riding one, some don’t, which leaves many ATV users to think they probably won’t need one.
But we’ll tell you this: most ATV users who get into accidents never thought they would need one too. Those who had it were glad they did and those who didn’t regret it.
Depending on the type of ATV insurance you buy, it can cover a range of damages and risks. Some cover bodily injuries, some cover property damages, some cover collision damages, and some cover all.
In a worst case scenario, you can end up in an accident where you hurt yourself or someone else severely and you would have to pay thousands of dollars for medical expenses and property damages.
Even if you just have a medical ATV insurance, it would cover all of your medical expenses, otherwise, your health insurance will be your only safety net.
At the end of the day, the choice to get ATV insurance or not is up to you but as with most auto insurances, some coverage is better than no coverage.
After ATV Accident
Right after an accident, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, there can be internal or delayed injuries that you can’t see or feel until later on. Go and get yourself checked out in the hospital just to be safe.
Among those who reported being in ATV accidents, the most common injuries were:
- Arms and hand (29%)
- Head and neck (27%)
- Legs and feet (22%)
- Torso (20%)
- Other (2%)
But keep in mind, you can have one or multiple injuries when you get into a 4wheeler accident.
Of all the ATV injuries, brain injuries are probably the most worrisome because you cannot see them from the outside and sometimes symptoms might take up to days or even years to show up. This makes the cause of the injury difficult to trace and it poses a problem if you end in court.
Traumatic brain injury, memory loss, and permanent concussions are some of the more severe injuries that can happen to ATV crash victims. Children are especially more susceptible to brain injuries because their bodies are smaller and the impact of the crash can harm them more.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are another type of damage to look out for if you’re ever in a four-wheeler accident.
Aside from being painful, spinal cord injuries can be devastating because they can cause a person to become disabled. They can lose their ability to walk, to move, and drastically change the quality of the person’s life. A less experienced but similar injury in its potential affect on your life is one that causes hip pain, which can be easily overlooked initially.
Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of severity, all ATV injuries should be examined. If you ever get into an ATV accident, never underestimate the amount of damage it can do to your body. Always go to the hospital as soon as possible to get your whole body checked out.
Recovery from ATV injuries is both time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, it can put you out of work for weeks, months, or even years. If you’re looking into getting legal compensation for your injuries, make sure you keep formal documents of all your injuries and doctor’s visits.
If possible, make sure you get pictures of the accident. This means pictures of the vehicle, the environment, and any visible injuries on yourself and anyone in your party. These pictures will serve as evidence and give you leverage if you do end up going to court. You’ll also want to obtain a police report in case you end up needing a lawyer.
If you aren’t able to, try your best to get them from the responders and rescue workers that show up at the accident site.
Get Names of Witness
If you end up crashing into another vehicle or someone else’s property, or even your own, get the names of everyone that is involved. If it’s another vehicle, make sure you take down their license plate number, contact information, and insurance information.
For insurance and legal purposes, you’ll need all of this information in case any of your information is called into questioned and needs to be investigated.
If the other party involved is unwillingly to cooperate, do not try to force them. Call the police and take down whatever information you can. Take pictures of their license plate if it’s there. You are also not legally bound to answer any of their questions.
Seek Legal Help
One study of an ATV accident in Alaska found six victims permanently damaged and needed $11.5 million dollars to pay for basic long-term skilled care until they’re 65 years old. Without legal representation, the six victims involved would not have been able to get the money they were entitled to care for themselves and their families.
Even if your accident doesn’t bring about such extreme consequences (and we hope it doesn’t), you might be entitled to legal compensation for whatever damages happened to you. Vehicle accidents of any kind can cause a lot of mental, physical, and financial stress on the victims and the victims’ families.
After you get the medical treatments you need, find a lawyer that specializes in vehicle accidents to get a free review of your accident. ATV injury lawyers are especially knowledgeable in this area and will be able to quickly access your case.
Even if the cause of your accident is unclear, get a lawyer’s opinion on the accident. What if the manufacturer of your ATV had a recall for your ATV years ago but the seller never informed you? What if the road your accident happened on had caused several other accidents?
Our point is, you don’t know what you don’t know and a lawyer will be able to help you find out.
If you have ATV insurance, notify the company and send in all the necessary documentation to file a claim as soon as possible.
In situations where another party was involved, make sure you get the names and contact information of the other people. If you have evidence to prove it was the other party’s fault, get their insurance information and notify their insurer.
If, however, you don’t have evidence but strong reasons to believe it was the other party’s fault, you’ll need to get a lawyer.
Have Fun But Be Prepared
We do not mean to scare you about riding ATVs but we do think it’s important that you are aware of their dangers and are prepared if you ever find yourself in an ATV accident.
To put things into a healthier perspective, deaths account for less than one percent of all 4wheeler accidents. Most ATV injuries are not fatal and most victims heal from them. But the emotional, physical, and mental scars that are left can take a toll on the injured person.
If you suspect you have any emotional or physical traumas from an ATV or vehicle accident, don’t be afraid to get in touch with one of our ATV injury specialists for a free case review of your accident. We’re here for you.