ATV Accidents in Virginia
ATVs are popular vehicles, particularly in rural parts of Virginia. Although it’s fun to drive All-Terrain Vehicles, they are among the most dangerous vehicles on four wheels. They are also popular with younger riders who don’t always realize the hazards.
The combination of heavy ATVs and younger riders who are not able to handle them properly is a deadly one. According to some studies, ATVs are more dangerous to riders than motorcycles.
At the Smith Law Center, we are well aware of the hazards of ATVs. In the past, it was very difficult to recover money from an insurance company after an ATV accident with injuries. A recent change in the law helped the injured. At the Smith Law Center, we have been helping injured people since the 1940s. Please contact our Virginia ATV accident lawyers if you or a family member has been hurt.
How Serious Are ATV Accidents in Virginia?
All-Terrain Vehicles are improperly named. They are not ideal for all conditions. Riders may take them off-road and run into trouble if a gradient is too steep or conditions are too slippery. They also handle poorly on paved roads. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hundreds of people lose their lives every year in ATV accidents. The commission warns:
- 135,000 people are injured every year due to accidents on ATVs.
- More than 700 people lose their lives in ATV accidents.
About a third of those killed in ATV accidents every year are under 16-years-old. A report in USA Today noted in 2010 at least 55 children under age 16 died in ATV accidents. More than 28,000 others were seriously injured. June and July are the peak months for injuries and deaths on four wheelers, according to experts.
Using proper safety precautions would save many lives a year but many younger people are ill-equipped to handle these vehicles.
People often suffer serious injuries when ATVs overturn. In some cases, they collide. In 2017, four children were hurt, three of them seriously, when two ATVs collided in a field in Prince George County in Virginia. News reports suggested it was illegal for the children under 16 to be operating the ATVs in the first place.
Although a disproportionate number of young people are involved in ATV accidents, adults are also killed and seriously injured. In 2018, a 36-year-old man was killed riding an ATV in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
He hit a guidewire and his ATV flipped on property belonging to Norfolk Southern Railroad.
What Are the Causes of ATV Accidents in Virginia?
All-Terrain Vehicles are more complicated than people imagine and they flip over easily. These are some of the main causes of ATV accidents.
- Riding an ATV without adult supervision
- Being a novice rider – accidents are more likely in the first month of using an ATV
- Driving an ATV on a paved road. ATVs are designed for off-road use and are difficult to handle on paved roads
- Riding double on a vehicle not designed for passengers. Most ATVs are built for a rider only
- Performing dangerous maneuvers and other tricks on an ATV
- Getting into areas of unfamiliar territory, wild and hilly terrain
- Racing ATVs
ATV Accidents in Virginia and Insurance Coverage
In past years, people who suffered severe injuries in ATV accidents found it difficult to make a claim for their injuries due to inadequate insurance coverage. They included passengers on ATVs who were injured due to a driver error or people hit by ATVs.
Many ATV riders did not carry sufficient insurance to adequately compensate people catastrophically injured on All-Terrain Vehicles.
A ruling from in the Western District of Virginia made it easier to be compensated for your injuries in an ATV accident.
The ruling followed a case in which a passenger on an ATV that collided with another ATV suffered serious injuries. The victim claimed both operators were at fault for a brain injury that resulted in over $500,000 in medical bills. The operators had a minimal $25,000 in liability insurance coverage.
A judge dismissed the claims of the insurance company that an ATV was not a “motor vehicle” under the policy. This allowed the victim to use underinsured motorist coverage to increase her payout.
Talk to a Virginia ATV Accident Lawyer About Injuries and Deaths
At the Smith Law Center, we are well aware of the dangers posed by ATVs to the residents of Virginia. If you have been injured due to the carelessness or the recklessness of an ATV rider or lost a family member, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. In some cases, people injured on ATVs have filed lawsuits against manufacturers for deadly defects. Call the Smith Law Center today for advice at (757) 244-7000.
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