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Can I Seek Damages if I Am Injured in an ATV Accident in Illinois?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Joliet personal injury attorneysWith the month of May quickly approaching, the weather is finally starting to get warmer in Illinois. After a long and cold winter, many people like to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Once thought to be only for adrenaline junkies, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have increased in popularity the last few decades, especially the younger generation. Ideal for off-road recreational use, these vehicles can also be used for work purposes depending on the occupation. However, as with any motorized vehicle, they can be dangerous and a potential threat to riders if they are not used properly. Riders can suffer serious and even fatal injuries if they are involved in a collision.     

Types of Off-Road Vehicles

An ATV is defined by the American National Standards Institute as a vehicle that travels on low-pressure tires, with a seat that the driver straddles, along with handlebars for steering control. It is designed to handle a variety of terrain, typically “off-road.”
A UTV, or utility task vehicle, is also intended for use over rough terrain, but two people can sit in the cab next to each other. For this reason, UTVs are often marketed as “side-by-sides.” ATV riders straddle the vehicle seat, while UTV riders sit on side by side on bench seats or bucket seats. Certain UTVs will fit in the definition of ATV as well, depending on weight and dimensions.
Under Illinois law, it is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV on any street, highway, or roadway. People typically use ATVs for recreation on farms, in mountainous areas, in addition to rural and coastal terrain.

Common Injuries in ATV and UTV Crashes

Injuries to ATV and UTV riders can occur when the vehicle crashes with another off-road vehicle or hits a stationary object. In many cases, it results in a rollover accident. A driver and passenger can become pinned underneath the ATV, which can result in crushed body parts. In other instances, they can be thrown from the vehicle and hit the pavement, a tree, or another type of structure. Due to the lack of protection for riders, any injury can be severe and even fatal. 

A few of the most serious ATV injuries include: 

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussion
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Dislocations/fractures/broken bones
  • Internal bleeding to chest and abdominal area 

Causes of ATV and UTV Collisions

There can be several issues that can cause an off-road vehicle accident, including inclement weather conditions, operator error, and equipment malfunction. If a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, his or her ability to operate the vehicle safely is compromised. Driving recklessly, such as swerving or speeding, can lead to a collision with another ATV driver who is sober. 

In other cases, faulty parts or inadequate maintenance can cause a vehicle to malfunction, which could include the brakes or steering to fail, leading to a driver losing control. If a defective part of the vehicle failed, the manufacturer may be responsible for any injuries that were caused by the crash. Many people might rent ATVs as part of a tour group to see the sights and scenery while on vacation. If the tour company did not properly maintain the vehicles, the company could be held liable for any damages as a result of an accident. In addition, if a tour guide takes a group of riders off the designated trail to dangerous terrain, that may be considered a form of negligence.  

Contact a Will County Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know was hurt in an ATV or off-roading accident, you may be entitled to seek damages if your injuries were caused by a negligent party. At the distinguished law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, our goal is to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as lost wages if appropriate. Our knowledgeable attorneys have obtained millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Personal injury law can be complex, and we utilize subject matter experts to advise and testify on technical issues for healthcare, engineering, and finance. Call our seasoned Joliet ATV accident attorneys today at 815-727-0100 to schedule your free consultation. 

 

Sources:

https://www.motoshark.com/atv-accidents-injuries-statistics/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2375&ChapterID=67

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-401

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