New York ATV Accidents
While All Terrain Vehicles, commonly referred to as ATVs, are a fun and popular recreational vehicle, they can also be very dangerous. All too often victims of ATV accidents suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, head injuries and back injuries. Even when safety gear such as a helmet is used ATV accidents can leave victims seriously injured. If no safety gear is used, or if it is not used properly, then the degree of injury increases exponentially. Sadly, in some cases an ATV accident leads to death. In 2009 alone, there were approximately 100,000 injuries and 300 fatalities as a result of ATV accidents. Such injuries include paralysis, head injuries, broken bones and back injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been 9,600 ATV related deaths over the past 30 years. While there are many possible causes of ATV accidents, many such accidents are caused by negligence. If you or a loved were injured in an ATV accident due to the negligence of another person, it is important to speak with a New York ATV Accident Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates who will explain your options for pursuing a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim.Negligence use of ATVs
Owners and operators of ATVs have a duty to operate ATVs safely. If an operator is negligent resulting in an injury to another person or damage to property, then that negligent operator may be liable for the victim's losses. While ATVs and those who drive them are not subject to the same "Rules of the Road" as those who drive cars and trucks, New York does have laws that regulate the operation of ATVs. If an accident is the result of failing to follow a statutory requirement then the operator of the ATV was negligent and the victim will be able to pursue a personal injury claim.
In general, ATVs are only permitted to be operated on the private property of the ATV owner. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2403. Thus, except under very strict circumstances ATVs cannot be operated on highways, public land, or another's private property. If someone drives an ATV on the highway and causes an accident the ATV driver would likely be ticketed and presumed responsible for the accident. Many ATV accidents are caused because the driver was speeding. While there is no specific speed limit for ATVs operating on private property, the law requires that the operator drive at a prudent, reasonable speed. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2404. If a driver operates an ATV at a speed that is not safe for the terrain conditions resulting in an accident, then the ATV driver's negligence caused the accident. Unfortunately, because most ATV operators do not wear helmets, injuries from ATV accidents can be serious including head injury and spinal cord injury.
Under New York law the owner of an ATV is vicariously liable for any personal injury or property damage caused by the negligent operation of his or her ATV. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2411. This means that even if the owner is not personally operating the ATV, the owner can be sued for damages for the negligence of the person who was actually operating the ATV.Other causes of ATV accidents
While many ATV accidents are caused by negligent driving, other accidents are caused by defects in the ATV. Under product liability law if you are injured in an ATV accident due to a defect in the design or manufacturing of the ATV, you may be able to recover damages from its manufacturer. In recent years there have been multiple defective product lawsuits settled against ATV manufacturers, including multiple lawsuits against the Yamaha Motor Corp. concerning its line of Rhino ATVs. See In re: Yamaha Motor Corp. ATV Products Liability Litigation. No. 3:090-MD-02016-JBC, MDL No. 2016.New York ATV Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an ATV accident it is important to speak to our legal team as soon as possible. Stephen Bilkis and Associates is experienced in handling personal injury cases stemming from ATV accidents as well a car accidents, truck accidents, and other types of vehicle accidents. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.