Glendale Off-Roading Accident Lawyers
Riding an ATV through the San Bernardino Mountains or Angeles National Forest is incredibly fun for LA’s more adventurous residents and visitors, but riders should never forget how dangerous these vehicles can be. That same ATV that someone might use to ride around Lake Arrowhead is also used by park officers, farmers, and loggers to traverse rough terrain. These vehicles should only be operated in safe conditions and by experienced riders – otherwise, other riders and passengers can be seriously injured or killed. These vehicles should also be thoroughly tested by manufacturers, as they are prone to deadly defects.
If you were injured in an ATV accident caused by someone else, then you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and trauma. To discover how you can file a personal injury claim after an ATV accident, contact Aghabegian & Associates, PC. Our knowledgeable Glendale ATV accident attorneys can explain your legal options in a free consultation. To get started, call us today at (818) 507-4311.
California has several ATV laws that outline strict regulations for riders and rental companies through California Civil Code 38500-38506. Among these are safety requirements for riders while operating ATVs on public land, which include:
- All riders must wear a helmet.
- Riders cannot have passengers or ride tandem.
- All riders under the age of 18 must take and pass an ATV safety certification course before they can operate a vehicle alone.
- Riders under the age of 18 can ride an ATV under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian who has a safety certification.
- Riders under the age of 7 are prohibited from riding ATVs.
- All off-road vehicles must be registered with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission.
- Riders must obey all posted speed limits for ATVs.
- ATVs are not allowed on highways or public roads except in certain areas and with a driver’s license.
It is important to note that these laws only apply to public lands, not private property.
Violating these rules can make a rider liable for an ATV accident, especially if he collides with another rider or a pedestrian. However, riders are not the only danger with ATVs.
More than 600 people die on average every year due to ATV accidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In addition, more than 100,000 injuries were attributed to ATV accidents in a single recent year. These injuries and deaths can be attributed to two groups: negligent riders and careless manufacturers.
ATVs are only as safe as the people operating them and the manufacturers who make them. While ATVs are designed to handle rough terrain and travel at high speeds, they should always be handled with care. Only experienced, trained, and focused riders should operate these vehicles. Unfortunately, many riders see them as little more than toys, which means they can cause serious collisions with other riders or even pedestrians.
However, ATV accidents are sometimes outside of the rider’s control, especially if the vehicle is designed poorly. There have been hundreds of ATV recalls by major brands over the years due to poor designs and defective parts. ATVs are top-heavy vehicles, which means they are prone to rollovers. During a collision with another vehicle or fixed object, riders and their passengers can be thrown from the ATV or crushed underneath it as it tips over. Manufacturers are well aware of this issue and should take every precaution to prevent these types of crashes.
The CPSC identified common injuries during ATV accidents, with:
- 29% involving the arms or hands
- 27% involving the head or neck
- 22% involving the legs and feet
- 20% involving the chest and stomach
- 2% involving other body parts
While the majority of these accidents involve adults, 26% involve children. An ATV crash can horribly injure or disable a child for the rest of his or her life. In most cases, ATV accidents can result in:
- Traumatic brain injuries, even if a rider is wearing a helmet
- Spinal cord injuries
- Trauma to the neck
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Lower extremity injuries, including amputations
- Severe road rash
- Crush injuries to the hands and feet
- Multiple broken bones
- Deep cuts and lacerations
After an ATV accident, you are likely dealing with a mountain of medical bills and weeks to months out of work. Any serious injury can lead to deep physical and emotional trauma. If your injuries were caused by another person or company, then you deserve full compensation. But first, you must determine who is responsible for your injuries.
Anyone who has a duty of care toward an ATV rider may be liable for a collision. Here in Los Angeles County, there are several parties that can be found liable for an accident, including:
- Other Riders: Many ATV accidents are caused by reckless riders who collide with another. Only experienced riders should operate these vehicles, but the lax nature of many campsites and trails can make riders complacent. Riders may drink alcohol, use their cell phones, or speed while operating an ATV, all of which could lead to a serious accident. If you were injured by another rider, you may be able to file a claim against that rider. However, you should be aware that ATV insurance is not a requirement in California, but if you were riding on private property, you may be covered under the rider’s homeowner’s insurance.
- Other Vehicle Drivers: Most ATVs are not allowed on public roads, but there are some campsites and trails where riders may encounter other vehicles, such as cars or trucks. Drivers should always operate their vehicles carefully around ATVs and avoid tailgating, speeding, or otherwise putting riders in danger. If a driver hits an ATV rider, then the rider may be able to file a car accident claim against the driver’s insurance policy.
- Tour Companies: Off-road tour companies often provide ATVs for travelers looking to explore the deserts and mountains around Los Angeles County. These companies are responsible for making sure their vehicles are safe to operate. If a tour company allowed a rider to use a defective or broken ATV, and that defect caused the rider’s injuries, then the company could be found liable for the crash.
- Rental Companies: Off-roading rental companies have the same responsibility as tour companies when allowed riders to use their vehicles. Rental companies should inspect their vehicles after they are used by other riders and schedule regular maintenance to make sure they are free of defects. Failure to do so can make a rental company liable in an accident.
- Manufacturers: In some cases, a defective ATV is not the result of overuse or a lack of repairs, but due to a faulty design. Manufacturers should test their vehicles thoroughly to ensure they are free of dangerous components and issue a recall if they identify one. If they fail to do so, they may be liable in a product liability claim.
Getting compensation after an off-roading accident is easier said than done. ATVs accidents require in-depth investigations by trained professionals who can determine how the crash occurred and who is responsible. There may be several parties that share responsibility for your trauma, and you may be well within your rights to file a claim against all of them.
If you or someone you love was injured in an off-roading accident that was not your fall, contact the Glendale personal injury attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC. We can use our more than 40 years of combined experience, knowledge, and skill to investigate your case. We have recovered more than $125 million for injured clients throughout San Gabriel Valley and the San Fernando Valley. If you bring your case to us, you can trust that we will thoroughly review every detail to ensure you receive full compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury law firm, call us at (818) 507-4311.
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