We help victims of vehicle accidents throughout Florida's Panhandle region. While car accidents represent a solid majority of the injury-causing and fatal vehicle accidents, they are not the only type of accident we see in our community and in our accident practice. In addition to bicycles, buses, trucks, and motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles ("ATV"s) can cause severe or gruesome injuries, or even death. When someone other than the injured is at fault, we can help the victim or his/her surviving relatives obtain money damages from those responsible.
Robert Strukel, a 28-year-old from Chipley, was riding an ATV northbound on Country Road 273 in Washington County, according to an article by WJHG. Officials with the Florida Highway Patrol believe that Strukel lost control on a curve, causing the vehicle to strike a mailbox located near the intersection of 273 and Orange Hill Road. The collision caused the ATV to flip over, throwing its rider who was transported to Bay Medical Center in critical condition.
In early 2013, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report on ATV Deaths and Injuries in the United States during 2011. The agency's staff received a total of 11,688 reports of ATV-related fatalities in the years between 1982 and 20011 (inclusive). This includes a total of 327 reported ATV deaths in 2011 alone, 590 in 2010, 684 in 2009, and 741 in 2008. Importantly, these numbers are expected to increase as reporting is ongoing for the most recent four years (estimates for the eventual totals range from 726 to 837).
Florida saw 485 reported ATV deaths from 1982 to 2011 (with ongoing reporting for the last 4 years). Also of note, 25% of the ATV deaths between 2008 and 2011 involved children under age 16. Overall, the statistics since 2001 show a period of increased deaths followed by a decline in overall deaths and child deaths.
The CPSC also collects data on injury-only ATV accidents. In 2011, there were an estimated 107,500 injuries stemming from ATVs that required emergency room treatment. A strong majority of these cases, 87%, were of a "treat and release" nature. Contusions/abrasions (26%) and fractures (23%) were the most frequent types of injuries, with the most common injury sites being the arm (29%) and the head/neck (28%).
The CPSC also provides an online ATV Information Center. Safety tips include wearing a helmet and other protective items, taking a training course, refusing to carry a passenger, avoiding paved roads, and never riding while drunk or drugged. Additionally, the CPSC recommends not allowing children under age 16 to drive/ride an adult ATV. Product safety rules provide that ATVs built for children have lower maximum speeds, and parents should be able to set the maximum speed at an even lower limit.
We represent ATV accident victims in both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Wes Pittman carefully examines each case to identify all people and organizations whose actions (or inaction) contributed to the accident. In many cases, the accident is the result of a defective vehicle or part, meaning that a product liability case may be appropriate.
In other cases, another ATV rider may bear factual and legal responsibility for a victim's death or injury, including where the victim was another ATV rider, was riding in a car or other vehicle, or was a pedestrian. Claims against those responsible for road maintenance or companies that rent poorly maintained vehicles may also be appropriate. An injured party may have a claim even if his/her own actions contributed to the incident.