Who is Liable in an ATV Rollover?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Wayne D. Parsons with Wayne Parsons Law Office.
All-Terrain Vehicles or ATVs are known for their rollover risk. While it is possible for a rollover to occur with relatively little damage, injuries are a common risk and can be severe depending on the circumstances of the rollover. Children under the age of 16 are particularly at risk of injury on an ATV, so it’s important to follow safety guidelines including riding an ATV of the right size and supervising young riders.
In the event that injuries occur in an ATV rollover, it can be difficult to decide who is liable for the victim’s damages. There are often many parties involved who might have had a hand on the vehicle, so it’s important to conduct a thorough investigation into where the negligence came into play.
Parties who may be considered liable in an ATV rollover include but are not necessary limited to the following:
- The ATV driver. Like any other type of accident, ATV accidents are often caused by the driver’s own negligent operation of the vehicle, or incapacitation as the result of DUI or DWAI. Additionally, if the driver uses the ATV on a surface it is not intended for (i.e. paved roads), violates traffic rules, uses the ATV for purposes it is not intended for, or has their attention diverted by distractions, the driver may be held accountable for the rollover and its resulting injuries, fatalities, and/or other damages.
- The ATV manufacturer. ATVs have been subject to manufacturing errors and defects. From cutting corners to obvious oversights in the manufacturing process, ATV rollovers may occur because the manufacturer allowed the sale of a defective vehicle despite negligent aspects of the manufacturing or design process that render the vehicle unfit for safe use.
- The property owner. If maintenance of the track or property was neglected, resulting in an inability to use the ATV with a reasonable degree of safety, the individual responsible for the upkeep of that property can be held liable for any damage incurred to ATV drivers and/or passengers as a result. The property owner may be sued independently for negligent maintenance causing a rollover or accident.
- Driver of another vehicle or ATV. If a rollover was the result of another driver’s negligence, then that driver may be liable for any resulting injuries on the grounds of negligence, reckless driving, DUI/DWAI, or more. Furthermore, a driver’s employer may also be held liable if the driver was operating the ATV while performing their work duties.
- The parts manufacturer. The manufacturers and/or retailers of defective vehicle parts which contributed to or caused the ATV to malfunction or roll may be liable for related injuries and fatalities, just as the ATV company itself would be.
- Private organization. Private groups which may have lent a dysfunctional ATV for private or professional use may also be held responsible. This is especially true if they are allowing ATVs in knowingly poor repair or missing important safety features to continue to be leased by unsuspecting parties with the expectation of a reasonable degree of safety.
- Adult supervising party. If an adult allows an underage and/or untrained rider to use an ATV unsuitable for them or without proper licensing in that state, or fails to properly supervise a young rider resulting in injury or death, the adult supervising party may be held liable for damages incurred in a rollover or accident.
If you have been injured in an ATV rollover or accident and you suspect that another party’s negligence contributed to the damages, reach out to an ATV accident attorney. Most of these attorneys offer free consultations and can discuss your situation as well as your eligibility to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.