Omaha ATV Accident Attorney
ATVs and OTVs can be exciting to ride and are extremely efficient vehicles that allow you to move around a large property like a farm or ranch with ease. But these vehicles are also very dangerous, often traveling at high speeds with few safety features. Riders can easily be thrown from an ATV if they are struck by another vehicle or hit an object, often causing devastating injuries. In addition, their weight, size, and design also make them prone to rollovers, which can be fatal.
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If you or someone you loved was injured in an ATV accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. But to do that, you will need to diligently investigate the accident, determine liability, review insurance policies, and collect evidence. All of this can be difficult if you are just getting out of a hospital and recovering from your injuries. That is why you should not hesitate to contact an Omaha ATV accident attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our legal team can provide thorough legal guidance throughout the entire claims process. Contact us today by calling (402) 505-8234 and schedule a free consultation.
ATVs are all-terrain, recreational vehicles that allow riders to easily cross heavy terrains swiftly and efficiently. While there are some that are permitted on public roads, most are relegated to dirt roads and rural paths. They can be used for fun, such as riding through Lake Manawa State Park and River Valley OTV Park, or for work. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 11 million ATVs are used throughout the United States for both work and recreation. Within Nebraska, ATVs are utilized by property owners like farmers and ranchers to patrol property lines, transport equipment, and inspect crops.
Unfortunately, popularity does not always transfer to safety. Traffic fatalities involving on-road ATVs represented 1% of all traffic deaths, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Most of the people killed in ATV crashes are between 15 to 24 years of age, meaning these vehicles can be especially deadly for younger riders.
ATVs are not toys—they are powerful, dangerous vehicles. Approximately 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries involving ATVs occur every year, as reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Out of more than 101,200 injuries in a recent year, 26% involved children under the age of 16. The CDC also noted that a worker in the agricultural industry that utilizes an ATV is 100 times more likely to die in an accident.
Operating an ATV takes skill. Adult ATVs can weigh up to 600 lbs. and travel 60 mph or faster. Smaller children that use ATVs with too much power and weight can suffer serious injuries in a collision. ATVs may be more dangerous than motorcycles in numbers of deadly crashes. Researchers attending an annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons found that patients who had been injured in ATV wrecks were 50% more likely to die and 50% more likely to go to the ICU with mechanical ventilation than motorcycle riders.
There are several reasons why ATVs are so often involved in dangerous accidents and fatal injuries. Oftentimes, it is because riders are inexperienced and only rode them casually. However, some farmers need them to easily get around their properties and should be very experienced with them. Sadly, these vehicles present their own unique safety risks that can affect riders of any skill level.
Common safety issues with ATVs include:
- A narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity, meaning there is a high risk of a rollover accident
- Limited or nonexistent safety features
- High-speed capabilities and heavyweight
- Minimal protection from the elements
- The ground clearance that makes driving on uneven terrain possible also increases the possibility of rollovers
All of the above factors can play a role in an ATV accident, which often include:
- Side rollovers: This type of ATV crash is common on uneven terrain or when accelerating rapidly at a curve.
- Backward rollovers: Accelerating rapidly from a stopped position can cause the front wheels to lift off the ground and the ATV to roll over backward. Backward rollovers can also occur when traveling uphill because of the ATV’s high center of gravity.
- Collisions with objects and vehicles: ATV riders must be very careful not to collide with low-hanging branches, large rocks, and even other vehicles when traveling at high speeds. ATVs are often used in conjunction with large farm equipment, meaning safe riding practices should always be employed, otherwise a rider could be injured in a tractor accident. However, other vehicle drivers should always be careful when traveling down rural roads as they may collide with an ATV.
- Crashes caused by mechanical failure: ATVs can go through a lot of wear and tear and should be designed to handle a variety of terrains. Sadly, they can still have product defects and mechanical failures. Tire blowouts, failure of the steering or axel, or other mechanical failures can cause a wreck.
Each accident is different, and there may be several liability parties that contributed to an ATV crash. In some cases, blame can be placed on rider inexperience. Riders should be properly trained before they ride a vehicle professionally or recreationally. If a rider collided with another ATV, pedestrian, or cyclist, they can be held liable for the accident victim’s injuries. However, sometimes the ATV was inherently defective, meaning the blame could be placed on the owner for not repairing a known issue or the manufacturer. Lastly, your injuries could have been caused by a negligent driver who collides with your ATV. In each case, you will need a skilled lawyer to determine fault, calculate damages, and uphold your rights in a claim.
ATV accidents are rarely ever mild and can result in costly injuries. However, you may be covered under specific liability insurance policies that allow you to recover compensation and cover the costs of your medical bills and time off work. But to do so, you will need to determine who caused your accident and what type of claim can file. In most ATV accidents, the type of claim you are entitled to file include:
- Personal injury claims: You may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation against the at-fault party if your ATV collision and injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. In an ATV crash, the negligent party may be an ATV owner who failed to keep the vehicle in proper condition, an adult or guardian who allowed a child to operate an ATV without supervision, or a parent that allowed a reckless teen or young child to operate a high-speed, powerful ATV. You may also be able to file an auto accident claim against a reckless driver who hit your ATV.
- Workers’ compensation claims: You may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits if your ATV crash happened on the job. These benefits are also available to you even if your injuries were caused by a negligent driver or faulty part.
- Product liability claims: ATVs are powerful vehicles that should be thoroughly inspected to ensure they are safe to ride. Sadly, faulty parts and components do slip through the cracks. An ATV may have a dangerous design that makes it more prone to rollovers or brakes that do not function properly. If a defective ATV or part caused your wreck, the manufacturer or another party in the product’s distribution chain may be liable for your injuries.
Knowing which type of claim to file can be difficult at first. While all employers in Nebraska are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, some accidents may be the fault of third-parties. You may have been hit by another vehicle while riding or injured due to a mechanical defect. In these instances, you would be able to file a third-party claim alongside your works’ compensation claim.
In any case, you will need the skill of an experienced attorney to ensure you receive the most amount of compensation in your claim. That is why, after a serious ATV crash, you should not hesitate to contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. to speak with an Omaha personal injury attorney. We can advise you of your options under the law and represent you in a claim for damages. Our founding attorney understands both sides of the claims process and can work diligently to get you the compensation you need from the at-fault insurance company. Call us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.
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