Having represented ATV accident victims for over two decades, Auger & Auger Personal Injury Lawyers understand how severe the consequences can be — from financial or physical hardships or both. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or fatality due to an ATV crash, we have a Charleston ATV accident attorney available for a free consultation.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission publishes an Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, including a wide range of statistics, rankings, and infographics. The current data reveals that from 1982 to 2016, a total of 14,653 U.S. deaths were attributed to ATV accidents, with 3,232 (22%) victims under the age of 16. On average, about six children die each year in the state from ATV accidents.
Over this period, South Carolina sustained 198 total fatalities. It seems this number is high for a mid-sized state, but, as it turns out, another important statistic is at play here. You will notice in the following CPSC infographic that 32% of ATV fatalities occur on public paved roadways:
According to the Department of Transportation, South Carolina has 76,067 total public road miles (ranking 28th in the U.S.). This fact additionally supports the fact that ATV fatalities are primarily occurring on roadways that are not legal for these vehicles to be ridden.
It would seem common sense that ‘off-road’ vehicles would be more dangerous ‘on-the-road,’ and the practice persists. Perhaps a little more information on the subject will help dissuade the inclination.
First, South Carolina statutes don’t allow ATVs to be driven on public roads — but a Charleston ATV accident attorney knows that people tend to do it anyway. The message needs to be conveyed: Whether cruising through your neighborhood or venturing onto highways stretched across open lands — breaking these laws isn’t entertainment. It is a death-defying act that may result in fatality, dismemberment, or disabling injuries.
All-terrain vehicles are hard to control on paved roadways and prone to flipping over. ATVs have a high center of gravity with a narrow wheelbase, preventing them from being controlled while riding on paved roads. ATVs don’t have on-road tires nor come equipped with other lighting and turn signals required for driving on our streets or highways.
The manufacturers are well aware of these technicalities, which is why all ATVs have warning labels with instructions never to operate them on public roads or paved surfaces, due to handling problems or potential collision with other motorized vehicles.
In 2011, South Carolina adopted the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Act (aka Chandler’s Law), which states that children ages 6 through 15 must ride with helmets and eye protection, cannot carry passengers, and be accompanied by an adult. They must also possess a safety training certificate showing successful completion of a “hands-on” ATV safety course approved by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute, and no ATVs are legal after dark. Those aged five and under are prohibited from operating an ATV.
For the safety of your children, yourself, and others, remember to keep your ATV activity off the public paved roads. There is a beautiful 40-mile sandy trail open to hiking, cycling, and ATVs just 1 hour northeast of Charleston, known as Wambaw Cycle.
It’s also important to find an appropriately-sized ATV if your children or teens want to use them. About 95 percent of kids who die in ATV accidents are on adult-sized versions, even though industry regulations specifically warn against this. There are five different ATV categories, and each carries a warning label stating the minimum age for riding. The label should be placed where it’s in view to a rider seated on the vehicle, but don’t rely on your kids to notice it – look for the label yourself and make sure you have the right type of ATV before letting your child ride off.
Here are some additional safety tips and best practices for ATV riding:
If you’ve suffered serious injuries in an ATV crash, you may find yourself dealing with expensive bills for medical care, physical therapy, accommodations, and other costs. At the same time, you may have missed days or even weeks of work while in the hospital or recovering at home. Often people wonder who is responsible for their accident or if they have insurance coverage to help.
It depends on your specific insurance coverage, but most standard car insurance policies do not cover the insured if they have an ATV crash. Your ATV accident attorney can help you sort out if there are any responsible parties or insurance policies by going through these or similar questions:
ATVs don’t have seat belts or airbags, and in a crash, the rider may be ejected, suffering serious injuries. In other situations, the ATV may overturn, and the rider could become trapped underneath it. Sometimes the rider takes a fall and strikes the ground or another object. Many different kinds of injuries are possible, but here are some common ones we see in ATV crash cases:
Please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone — it is imperative that you call an experienced ATV accident attorney immediately after a crash, so we can begin investigating the case. A team from Auger & Auger will be sent out to the scene to document the facts needed to prove your claim, including witness interviews and inspection of the ATV and any other vehicles involved. Insurance companies must perform their own investigation; however, they will concentrate on minimizing their culpability and exposure to liability.
While you are recuperating and healing from your injuries, our Charleston ATV accident attorney will handle your claim, helping you obtain medical treatment, recover lost wages, and fight for the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
Call (843) 751-4690 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!