All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are popular recreational and work vehicles in Kansas City. ATVs are excellent for keeping track of livestock, maintaining farmland, and having fun in KC’s best rural areas. Since ATVs aren’t typical motor vehicles, many operators can forget they are equally as dangerous. This can result in unsafe operations and devastating ATV accidents. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded 419 ATV-related deaths in Missouri and 165 in Kansas from 1982 to 2015. The majority of ATV injuries and fatalities are preventable. After an incident in Kansas or Missouri, come to the Kansas City ATV attorneys of Wendt Law Firm P.C. for legal counsel.
The majority of harmful ATV accidents are single-vehicle events, not collisions between two ATVs or with other vehicles. There are many unsafe practices ATV operators can engage in that increase the risk of a wreck. Children under the age of 16 should never operate adult ATVs. Operators should not ride with passengers unless the ATV’s design specifically accommodates this activity. ATVs are not for use on paved roads – driving on a paved road can result in a rollover. Operators must use due care at all times to obey the vehicle’s instruction manual, hazard warnings, and safe operating procedures.
If the injured party is also the operator of an ATV in a single-vehicle accident, one may assume that the victim cannot recover for his or her damages. This is not always the case. Even if the operator contributed to the accident, another factor may have also played a part in what happened. For example, a defective ATV part may have made it impossible to operate the vehicle safely. A dangerous property defect such as a pothole or fallen tree may have made the operator swerve and rollover. An improper warning label from the manufacturer may not have been adequate in preventing the crash.
There are a variety of potential defendants in an ATV accident, even in single-vehicle crashes. Kansas and Missouri are comparative negligence states. This means that injured parties may still recover at least partial compensation in accidents to which they contributed. The courts will reduce the plaintiff’s compensation award by his or her percentage of fault. For example, the courts may deem the ATVer 20% at fault for speeding but a part manufacturer 80% at fault for failing to warn of risks. The injured ATVer would receive $80,000 of a $100,000 award in this example. In Kansas, the plaintiff must be less than 50% at fault to be eligible for recovery.
ATV accidents do not have to involve another ATVer to lead to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There may be parties at fault you aren’t aware of, such as the property owner or product manufacturer. A discussion with an experienced ATV accident law firm can help you assign fault and understand your legal options. Don’t assume you’re ineligible for compensation in a single-vehicle ATV crash in Kansas City. Contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. for a free case evaluation, where we’ll listen to your story, determine potential defendants, and help you take the first steps toward financial recovery.