An ATV rollover can cause grievous injuries to the driver, and because they can happen suddenly, drivers are often taken by surprise. In many cases, these accidents have nothing to do with operator fault and are caused by design or manufacturing flaws. Sadly, manufacturers often fail to recall dangerous vehicle models until after a number of people have been hurt, some fatally. In fact, all-terrain vehicle accidents are responsible for more than 130,000 injuries every year, including more than 500 deaths. Of these fatal accidents, around 150 involve children. With such startling injury statistics, it’s no surprise that vehicle manufacturers regularly institute recalls and are the target of litigation.
What kinds of injuries can result from an ATV rollover?
When an all-terrain vehicle flips over, the driver can be flung from the vehicle or pinned under it as it tumbles over. In either case, the injuries that result from an accident can be severe. Drivers may be thrown at speeds exceeding 30 miles an hour, and the resulting collision with the ground, tree or another object can cause lacerations, burns, broken bones, and permanent spine or brain injuries.
If the vehicle pins the driver, the situation can quickly get much worse. Pinned drivers often suffer extensive fractures, and if no one responds to help the driver, they may asphyxiate under the weight of the vehicle or suffer nerve damage from being crushed. Some accidents are caused by parts of the vehicle overheating, which can get bad enough to melt parts of the chassis. Contact with overheating parts, especially after being pinned, can result in severe burns that disfigure or cause chronic pain.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the worst injuries a driver can suffer as they have a tendency to cause ongoing effects for the rest of the victim’s life. TBIs occur when the brain experiences direct physical trauma or when it slams against the inside wall of the skull. In either case, the force of impact will create lesions and micro tears in brain tissue. It’s generally impossible to predict how these injuries will heal and how well a victim will recover. Even a minor TBI, like a concussion, can take a long time to recover from, and more severe TBIs are typically permanent. Complications arising from a moderate or severe TBI include speech or movement disorders, difficulty learning or focusing, loss of memory, pain, nausea, loss of sensation, and changes in behavior or mood.
What typically causes an ATV rollover?
All-terrain vehicles were never meant for recreational off-roading as they aren’t built for quick turns. However, this hasn’t stopped manufacturers from marketing them to adventurers and thrill seekers. Though vehicle makers have worked to reduce the likelihood of rollovers, all-terrain vehicles are often made with centers of gravity that are too high. Almost all ATV’s are also designed without independent rear wheel rotation as well, and this results in resistance every time a driver attempts a turn.
These design issues often make safe operation of an all-terrain vehicle impossible, and an injury can change a victim’s life forever. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, consider speaking with an attorney, as financial restitution can help with medical expenses like long-term physical therapy.