Here’s How ATV Defects Spur Accidents & Lawsuits

 In Defective Products

When it comes to spring time in western Pennsylvania, ‘tis the season for riding ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes and more.

For many households, chasing down dusty trails in an ATV is more than a pastime, it’s a family affair – one that young and old enjoy alike.

Unfortunately, ATV riding is often a risky endeavor. Even experienced riders have endured a nasty spill or crash.

In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over a 27-year period of time, 494 people were killed in an ATV accident or crash in Pennsylvania. What’s more is that the Keystone State ranks third in the nation for fatal ATV crashes – trailing only California and Texas.

When it comes to ATVs and injuries, consider this:

  • The most ATV-related injuries and deaths are reported between May and September
  • In 2012, more than 100,000 ATV-related injuries were reported.
  • Of those injuries more than 25 percent were suffered by riders younger than 16 years old

Some injuries and deaths may be attributed to poor riding conditions, and some others, perhaps, to an inexperienced or inebriated driver, but there are instances where ATV aficionados are injured because of no fault of their own – despite perfect conditions.

In these cases, quad injuries are suffered because of defective ATVs and other off-road vehicles.

Take, for example, an off-road vehicle called the Yamaha Rhino – a side-by-side vehicle that looks like a cross between an ATV and a golf-cart. The Rhino made headlines not only because it was a hit when it debuted on the market. The Yamaha Rhino was also in the spotlight when story after story emerged telling the same narrative: It was another case of defective ATVs.

According to one CBS.com report, as many as 59 people died in Yamaha Rhino side-by-side accidents, and more than 440 wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits were filed.

But that’s not all: the company reportedly settled myriad other lawsuits related to allegations that Yamaha Rhinos were defective ATVs.

So what went wrong?

According to the report, injuries occurred after the vehicles rolled over. During those crashes, drivers and passengers fell or were propelled out of the vehicle and then smashed by it.

Some of the associated injuries are horrific – including crushed arms, legs and heads. Some of the victims were as young as 3 years old, some of whom underwent amputations following crashes due to ATV defects. Experts blamed the trouble with the Rhino on a design flaw that made it susceptible to rollovers.

But the Yamaha model isn’t the only problem child in the industry. There are numerous recalls each year from various ATV manufacturers.

Just this past December, Kawasaki Motors announced the recall of more than 19,000 Teryx recreational off-highway vehicles because debris could break through its floor boards and protrude into the foot rest area.

That same month, Polaris Industries announced a recall of more than 2,200 RZR XP Turbo recreational off-road vehicles because of a leaky oil drain line the company said could pose a fire risk.

The takeaway? Although the recalls for defective ATVs are less publicized than those announced by major motor vehicle manufacturers like GM, they are just as serious, and can be just as deadly.

If you were seriously injured, or someone you know suffered an injury or was killed in an accident you believe was caused by a defective ATV or other off-road vehicle, call the personal injury lawyers at Pribanic & Pribanic today to set up a free review of your case at 412-672-5444 or toll-free at 800-392-4529.

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