In rural areas or other areas with open terrain it is not uncommon to see All-Terrain Vehicles or “ATVs” in use for recreational fun, light hauling, farming or hunting. Unfortunately, while these utility vehicles can provide both entertainment and functionality, many are unreasonably dangerous and expose those using them to unnecessary injury or even death. By their very nature many ATVs have a high center of gravity, small wheels and a narrow wheel base that make them inherently unstable and prone to flipping either forward or backward on grades or rolling over, even on relatively flat terrain.
Because it is widely known within the ATV industry that 4-wheeled ATVs can and will rollover, most ATV manufacturers have incorporated safety systems designed to protect the occupant in the event of a rollover or crash. For instance, many models contain a tilt sensor or “kill switch” which, when it senses that the ATV has tipped over, will automatically shut off the engine. These automatic safety systems can be highly effective in preventing injuries when riders may come to be trapped under the machine. However, if these safety systems are not properly designed, and, as a result do not work to shut off the ATV as intended, then severe bodily injury can occur when riders are exposed to the spinning wheels as the ATV continues to run. To be effective in preventing injuries and saving lives, safety systems must be properly designed and tested to ensure they will work and perform as intended in real-world accidents.
The risk of injury on ATVs is further compounded by the fact that many of these types of vehicles do not have roll cages or other occupant protection systems to protect riders in the event the vehicle becomes unstable and tips or rolls over. Further, even when roll cages are provided, the rollover safety systems used are not fitted with necessary features such as effectively performing seatbelt systems, and as a result, the safety system’s benefits become illusory, and users of ATVs can be injured or killed as a result.
By their very nature, many ATVs have a high center of gravity, small wheels, and a narrow wheel base that make them inherently unstable.
One ATV model of particular concern is the Yamaha Rhino ATV which was introduced into the utility vehicle market in 2003. Since that time, numerous injuries and deaths have occurred and serious concerns have arisen over its safe use as designed. For more information on the Yamaha Rhino click here.
In addition to ATVs, small utility vehicles like golf carts are similarly dangerous. The manufacturers of golf carts are not regulated like the manufacturers of motor vehicles, and as a result golf carts can vary greatly in the quality of their design, construction and manufacture. They share many of the same safety concerns and problems as ATVs, and, therefore, when an accident occurs involving a golf cart or similar vehicle, the potential that a defect in the golf cart design exists should be considered. Often through better design practices, the likelihood of an accident in the first instance can be reduced, or the possibility of injury minimized should an accident happen.
As ATV Accident attorneys we can help
At the Didier Law Firm we have extensive experience in handling accidents involving All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and similar small utility vehicles like golf carts. If you or someone close you has been involved in an ATV or golf cart accident which resulted in a serious injury or wrongful death, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. We stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured as a result of ATV or golf cart defects.