All-terrain vehicles, commonly known as ATVs, are an exciting way to enjoy the great outdoors, providing major fun for Indiana families, but that fun can come at a heavy cost. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that ATV accidents cause over 100,000 injuries and 700 deaths in the United States each year. Because most ATVs are not enclosed, lack seatbelts and other safety features found in larger motor vehicles, and roll over at a disproportionate rate, even a non-fatal ATV accident can inflict punishing injuries necessitating prolonged treatment that could stretch your wallet to the breaking point.
Though you might be eligible to receive compensation if you have been hurt in an ATV accident, a favorable outcome may not be certain, which is why many reach out to the Indiana ATV accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group. Our firm has been fighting on behalf of the innocent victims of negligence for over a quarter century.
You can schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Indiana ATV accident lawyers by calling us at (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or filling out our contact form
Who Is at Fault for an Indiana ATV Accident?
Exactly who is at fault for an Indiana ATV accident will depend upon the nature of that accident.
If you were struck by an ATV, then the ATV’s driver would probably be liable for your injuries, as well as its owner (if separate from the driver). If that ATV was being used for some commercial purpose at the time of the accident, such as agriculture or construction, then the individual or entity for whose business it was being used may share blame as well (assuming it is not the owner). Similarly, if you were struck by a different sort of vehicle while you were riding an ATV, comparable parties would be responsible.
But the reality is that ATV accidents in which other drivers are involved are the exception, not the rule. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 68 percent of fatally injured ATV riders were killed in accidents without any other vehicles present in 2021, compared with 44 percent of passenger vehicle occupants and 38 percent of motorcyclists that same year. Single-vehicle ATV accidents offer less opportunity for economic recovery, though it may still be possible in incidents in which hazardous equipment or conditions played a role.
If your ATV accident was the result of negligent design or manufacturing, you may be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the ATV or its components. Generally, product liability cases involve one of three forms of negligence:
● Design defects – The product was unsafe from its conception. For example, an ATV could have had an unusually high center of gravity that made it more prone to rollovers.
● Manufacturing defects – The product was produced in a way that made it unsafe, such as an ATV brake system that was not assembled correctly.
● Warning defects – The unsafe aspects of an otherwise safe product were not sufficiently explained, like an ATV that did not come with clear instructions for its operation.
If your ATV accident occurred because of negligent conditions on somebody else’s property, a premises liability claim might be pursued against the property owner. To be viable, your claim will need to demonstrate that:
● The property owner owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain safe conditions on the premises;
● The owner breached this duty by not keeping the premises reasonably safe; and
● This breach caused injury.
Proving all three elements can be challenging, though successful plaintiffs typically argue that a property owner caused an accident by:
● Not inspecting the premises for unsafe conditions;
● Not repairing unsafe conditions found on the premises; or
● Not warning about unsafe conditions.
Regardless of the type of claim you initiate for your ATV accident, you have a narrow window in which to do it, known as the Statute of Limitations. The Statute is two years for most ATV accidents in Indiana, though it can be shorter for claims against government bodies, with additional restrictions that may apply under Indiana’s Tort Claims Act. Failure to meet all deadlines and requirements for establishing a valid case could forever bar you from full recovery for your ATV injuries.
Our Indiana ATV accident attorneys will assess the facts leading up to the incident, determine the best course of action, and break through any obstacles threatening to block your claim.
Leading Causes of Indiana ATV Accidents
There are a variety of factors that could bring about an Indiana ATV accident. Some of the leading causes include:
● Intoxication – Drinking and driving do not mix, no matter what vehicle is being driven. But while intoxication has fallen as a contributor to car and truck collisions in recent decades, the same cannot be said of ATV accidents, where alcohol use remains a top factor.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 39 percent of ATV operators involved in deadly crashes over a ten-year period had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 percent or higher, compared to 23 percent of passenger car drivers and 22 percent of light truck drivers.
● Inexperience – An inexperienced rider is 13 times more likely to have an ATV accident. Owners who hand over their ATVs to novices without giving them proper instruction might be culpable for the injuries that result.
● Speeding – Taking excessively fast or sharp turns in an ATV could increase the likelihood of rollovers and collisions.
● Paved roads – As counterintuitive as it might seem, ATVs are designed for off-road driving and could perform poorly when operated on pavement.
● Reckless driving – Though ATVs are off-road vehicles, that does not mean that you can operate them in any place or in any way. Far too many riders treat ATVs as toys instead of the complex machines they really are, sometimes with tragic results.
● Inclement weather – Bad weather conditions, such as rain, snow, high winds, or ice, can hinder traction and visibility.
● Three-wheeled ATVs – While ATVs with three wheels have been removed from the market because of their terrible safety record, older models may still be available in some locations, to the detriment of riders who are unaware of the risks.
● Inadequate maintenance – ATVs that are not regularly maintained or repaired with working replacement parts may malfunction while in use.
Hensley’s Indiana ATV accident lawyers possess the deep familiarity with all applicable laws and regulations necessary to construct a sound claim for most kinds of incidents.
How to Prevent ATV Accidents
In light of the grave consequences of ATV accidents, it is crucial to do everything within your power to either prevent them from occurring or minimize the harm that they cause. Before riding an ATV, remember to do the following:
● Wear a helmet and goggles – A properly fitting helmet can reduce facial injuries by 65 percent and.head and brain injuries by as much as 88 percent, while goggles can shield the eyes from rocks, branches, and other debris.
● Dress appropriately – Wearing long sleeves and pants can protect your skin from abrasions, lacerations, and road rash.
● Take a training course – Completing a hands-on training course with a qualified instructor is essential to acquiring the practical knowledge for safe ATV operation.
● Keep young children away – ATVs may be fun, but they are not playthings, and very young children should not be allowed anywhere near them. While Indiana law permits minors under 14 to ride ATVs with the supervision of someone who is 18 or over, even older children should undergo training and only operate youth models that match their size.
● Do not overload the ATV – The number of passengers on an ATV must not exceed the number of seats.
● Do not drink and ride – ATVs can be even more dangerous than cars, so do not do anything with an ATV that you would not also do with a car, especially drinking before you ride.
How Our Indiana ATV Accident Attorneys Can Help
Safety is of the utmost importance, but even if you follow every guideline, ATV accidents may still happen, and they can be catastrophic when they do, potentially overwhelming you with bills while curtailing your ability to work. It can become hard simply to make ends meet, much less obtain the resources to avoid ruin.
When the worst happens, you need attorneys compassionate enough to support you during your struggles and savvy enough to overcome them. You need the Indiana ATV accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group. We built our practice on helping clients just like you, honest Hoosiers who have been injured through no fault their own.
If you decide to retain our firm, we will launch a comprehensive investigation into the causes of your ATV accident and everyone who may be liable for it within the time allotted by law. If there is evidence of wrongdoing by the defendants, our Indiana ATV accident lawyers will work tirelessly to find it.
Once we have put together a rock-solid case against every at-fault party, we will strive to reach a settlement that compensates you for the entirety of your losses, including:
● Medical expenses
● Lost wages
● Pain and suffering
● Mental and emotional trauma
● Diminished quality of life
● Punitive and wrongful death damages (if applicable)
And if we do not receive an offer that reflects the true worth of your case, we are not afraid to go to trial for a verdict that does.
Spending more money may be the last thing you can afford to do right now, so you may be happy to learn that our firm works on a contingency basis. This means you won’t have to pay us anything unless our Indiana ATV accident attorneys win your case.
What started out as a pleasant trip off the beaten path unfortunately turned into a harrowing journey that feels like it will never end, but you can trust Hensley to bring it to a satisfying conclusion.
Contact an Indiana ATV Accident Lawyer Today
Hensley Legal Group has been standing up for the everyday people of Indiana for more than 25 years. If you have been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness, contact an Indiana ATV accident lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
Call us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or fill out our contact form for a complimentary case review with an Indiana ATV accident attorney.
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