Just like cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other vehicles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are useful both for work and recreational use. But, also like other vehicles, they can be dangerous, to both drivers and people hit by ATVs.
If you’ve been injured in an ATV accident in Cheyenne – as a driver, passenger, or if you were struck by an ATV – it’s important to speak with a lawyer who has experience handling ATV injury claims. These cases can leave victims with lifelong injuries, and it’s important that you’re fully compensated for what happened to you.
Attorney Sean Olson’s dedication to his clients has earned him recognition from numerous prestigious legal groups, including Super Lawyers, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and Avvo, which gave him a 10.0 rating, and named him a Top Attorney.
Sean Olson and his team at Olson Law Firm, LLC have helped countless injured clients, and they want to help you, too. To find out more, call the Cheyenne offices of the Olson Law Firm, LLC for a free case review.
How Dangerous Are ATVs in Cheyenne?
ATVs can be very dangerous if they’re not handled properly. Some models can reach speeds up to 65 mph, as fast as a car moving on a highway, only without many of the safety features that are required on cars and trucks.
This leaves ATVs vulnerable to tipping over or rolling, which can eject the driver and lead to major injuries. ATVs can also be very difficult to control at any speed, leaving both the driver and others potentially vulnerable if the driver needs to make a sudden stop.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents in Cheyenne That Lead to Lawsuits
The power and design of ATVs and their lack of safety features means that these vehicles can easily lead to injury or death.
Some of the most common causes of ATV accidents include:
- Driving on paved roads – Some ATVs can reach highway speeds, but that doesn’t mean they’re meant to travel on highways. ATVs are off-road vehicles. They handle poorly on pavement, leading to skids, over-correcting, and similar accidents. Many lack turn signals, brake lights, and other safety equipment mandated for on-road passenger vehicles.
- Riding double – Most ATVs are designed to carry only one passenger. Putting multiple people on an ATV substantially increases the risk that everyone using the vehicle may wind up being hurt.
- Unsupervised riding/inexperienced supervision – Inexperienced ATV drivers are much more likely to wind up in an accident, leaving it up to older, more experienced drivers to educate and properly supervise newer drivers. Leaving a newbie driver to their own devices, or leaving that supervision in the hands of someone who isn’t an adult, can cause newer drivers to take risks or perform maneuvers that land them in the hospital.
- Operating in unfamiliar terrain – Drivers are much more likely to encounter dangerous obstacles if they don’t know the terrain. Rocks, rivers and creeks, trees, sand, and other environmental hazards can all do major damage to both ATVs and their drivers. In Wyoming, tourism organizations may bring guests along on ATVs to areas they aren’t familiar with, placing those guests at extreme risk.
- Failing to observe local laws – States and local governments often have laws in place to help keep ATV drivers safe, but those laws don’t do any good if drivers ignore them.
- Flipping and rolling – A particular hazard for ATVs is the vehicle flipping, rolling over, or tipping. Any of these actions can lead to the driver or passenger being ejected, which makes it much more likely that they’ll sustain a major injury. Occupants can also become pinned under an ATV in these cases, which places them in additional physical danger.
- Manufacturer defects – If an ATV manufacturer is sloppy in the design or testing phase of a new vehicle, it’s the driver or passengers who often pay the price. Faulty brakes or brake lines, subpar materials, malfunctioning steering systems, and other mechanical errors can cause drivers to hit obstacles or encounter other hazards that they can’t avoid due to the faulty equipment. Some ATVs are defective by design. For example, they may be prone to flipping over or unstable on terrain.
- Intoxication – As with any other vehicle, operating an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster. It makes it harder for drivers to react quickly to dangers and makes it more likely that they’ll run into another ATV, other vehicles like cars or trucks, buildings, bridges, etc.
Common Injuries & Statistics
ATV drivers and occupants, as well as people in other vehicles or on foot, can sustain serious, even fatal injuries.
Here are some of the most common kinds of ATV-related injuries:
- Head injuries – Even when wearing a helmet, a collision or being thrown from an ATV can cause major, potentially irreparable brain damage. A traumatic brain injury can lead to a decrease in cognitive function, physical impairment, even death.
- Facial injuries – A good helmet may still leave an ATV driver’s face uncovered or only partially covered, exposing them to potential injuries. If a driver is thrown from their vehicle, they’re much more likely to suffer fractures and other major injuries to their facial area.
- Neck and spine injuries – The speed and force of impact from an ATV collision can deal serious damage to the human body, including the neck and spine. This can leave victims fully or partially paralyzed, possibly for the rest of their lives.
- Broken bones – Legs, arms, and more can all be broken in a major ATV accident. Losing the use of your arms, legs, or both can mean you end up missing work for a long time, costing you a great deal of money.
Young people are particularly vulnerable when it comes to ATV crashes. In one recent year, there were about 100,000 reported injuries from ATVs, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and about 27,000 of those injuries happened to children 16 or younger. Victims of ATV crashes often require hospitalization for their injuries.
Wyoming, in particular, is one of the top 15 states for ATV accidents, according to publicly available crash data. ATV deaths have increased nearly threefold over the past 25 years as ATV sales have surged nationwide.
Wyoming ATV Laws
Most of Wyoming’s regulations for ATVs and similar vehicles concern where and how these vehicles can be used, including the use of them on paved streets. It’s important to check if a designated road is approved for ATV driving.
Here are some other important rules to know when it comes to using ATVs in Wyoming:
- All ATV drivers are required to have a valid operator license as well as liability insurance if they’re using the ATV on a road. For certain trails approved through the state’s off-road vehicle program, a license is not required. It’s up to drivers to know which rules govern whatever road or trail they’re currently on and follow the rules accordingly.
- When operating an ATV on roads, operators are required to have working brake lights, taillights, and headlamps. Lights must be used from a half-hour before sunset until a half-hour before sunrise.
- It’s unlawful to drive near or stir up any game animals using an ATV.
- It’s unlawful to shoot from or across any traveled portion of any portion of a road maintained by a government entity.
- ATVs and similar vehicles must be equipped with proper sound-dampening equipment.
You can find more rules about ATVs in Wyoming by visiting this website.
Contact Olson Law Firm, LLC After an ATV Accident in Cheyenne
ATVs can be very fun, but also very dangerous. That goes for drivers, passengers, and others, as well. If you’ve been hurt in an ATV accident in the Cheyenne area, call the Olson Law Firm, LLC today. We can investigate your case to see who may be liable for your injuries, file the paperwork for your injury claim, negotiate with insurance companies and other entities on your behalf, and prepare your case for trial should it come to that.
An ATV accident case isn’t something you want to handle on your own. You want to focus on getting better, and these kinds of cases can take time to resolve. Let us focus on the legal part of it, while you focus on getting back to your everyday life. While filing a personal injury suit after your accident may seem overwhelming, the compensation from filing a claim could prove to be critical for helping you live comfortably in the weeks and months following your accident.
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit after your ATV accident, give the Olson Law Firm, LLC a call. We’ll treat you like family and make sure you get the personal attention you deserve after what you’ve been through. Check out some of our recent case results as well as our client testimonials.
To find out more, call us to schedule a free consultation.