Missouri ATV Accident Lawyers

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can be huge time and effort savers on farms and other areas where work needs to get done outside. They can be a lot of fun on the weekend, allowing much easier access to rural and wild areas. They can also kill and cripple their drivers and passengers if an accident happens. ATVs are potentially very dangerous and are involved in many accidents in Missouri every year.

Missouri ATV Accidents are Common

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that, from 1982 through 2015, Missouri was the 14th highest state for number of ATV accident fatalities — 358. Texas was the highest, with 698.

  • A 36-year-old Bunker, Missouri, man was killed in an ATV crash in November, reports KFVS. It reportedly happened on private property in Reynolds County. The State Highway Patrol states the ATV was being ridden in a stream; when the operator tried to turn left, the vehicle flipped and landed on him.
  • The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that an accident in Maries County in October left the 12-year-old ATV operator dead. He was driving on a county road when he failed to negotiate a curve, the ATV went off the road, struck a fence post and overturned. The operator was ejected from the ATV, reports the Rolla Daily News.
  • A Belgrade resident was killed in an ATV accident in October in Washington County, reports the Daily Journal. The Missouri State Highway Patrol states the 52-year-old man was riding on Ridge Road when the ATV traveled off the edge of the pavement, hit an embankment, and threw the operator off.

The bad news nationally is that in 2015, according to CPSC estimates, 340 people were killed in ATV-related accidents; 58 were children. The good news is those figures are less than half of what they were in 2006, which had a total of 831 deaths, 142 of them children.

The agency also estimates there were 97,200 ATV accident-related injuries in 2015; 28% of them involved riders and passengers under the age of 16. The types of injuries suffered include:

  • head and neck – 29%
  • arm – 29%
  • torso – 21%
  • leg – 20%
  • other – 1%.

Why Missouri ATV Accidents Happen

From 2009 to 2012, most of the deaths happened on paved roads, where ATVs are not designed to go. The fatal accidents happened in a number of other settings as well:

  • paved roads – 33%
  • unpaved roads – 19%
  • fields, pastures, farmland, ranches – 13%
  • unknown – 13%
  • forests and woods – 10%
  • other -7%
  • desert, sand dunes, beaches, off-highway vehicle parks – 5%.

Problems caused by ATV operators are common, including:

  • Driving the ATV on a paved surface, where they handle poorly
  • Having more than one person on an ATV not designed to carry a passenger
  • Inexperienced operators
  • Children and teens riding without adult supervision
  • Performing dangerous stunts and maneuvers
  • Operating in an unfamiliar area or terrain
  • Failing to following state laws and local ordinances
  • Riding without a helmet.

Sixty percent of ATV accidents in 2010 involved a vehicle that tipped over, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

There can also be problems with the ATV itself which can cause an accident. These can include improper maintenance, manufacture and design flaws.

  • A high center of gravity and a narrow profile make it easier for the vehicle to tip over, especially at high speed.
  • They may lack seat belts and roll cages to protect the operator and passenger in case the vehicle rolls over.
  • Controls can be so close to the operator’s seat that it’s easy for a child to get behind the wheel and try to drive an ATV.
  • ATVs may reach speeds of up to 80 mph though they’re not otherwise designed to be used on paved roads.

ATV owners’ manuals are filled with instructions and warnings, but how many operators actually read the manuals and understand the dangers? ATV companies claim additional design improvements aren’t needed because it’s the operators who cause accidents. Tim Buche, president of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, an industry trade group, told the Star Tribune that more than 90% of ATV accidents are the result of riders’ engaging in at least one type of behavior that violates vehicle instructions.

That doesn’t necessarily mean ATV manufacturers can’t be held responsible for accidents involving their vehicles which result in injuries or deaths. If they, their distributors and sellers are aware of widespread misuse causing frequent injuries and deaths, they may be negligent if they don’t make changes to the vehicles. Passengers and bystanders injured in ATV accidents may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries from negligent parties, if any, including ATV operators, sellers, distributors and manufacturers.

What You Should Do If You or a Family Member is Injured in a Missouri ATV Accident

Bley & Evans has experience handling a broad range of product liability cases that include consumer products, industrial equipment, construction materials, automobiles and trucks, car seats, dangerous children’s toys and others.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury resulting from an ATV accident, please call 844-443-8385 for a free consultation. We can evaluate your claim and advise you on how to proceed.