Over the years, the public’s interest in exploring the countryside has spawned a large number of off-road vehicles (ORVs) -- including crossover vehicles, SUVs and pickup trucks often fitted with larger tires, higher-riding suspensions and optimized transmission gearing and four-wheel drive, as well as two- and four-wheel motorcycles and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles). These types of vehicles are generally more capable and versatile in an off-road setting than a typical passenger vehicle or standard motorcycle used in the same situation.
But while it is true that these types of ORVs and ATVs can provide a more rewarding off-road experience, there can be drawbacks to operating them in the same manner as their road-going counterparts. In fact, whether driven on- or off-road, the higher ride height and larger, more balloon-like tires can make these types of vehicles inherently more unstable than a lower-riding car, truck or sport utility vehicle.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, the attorneys at the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, can appreciate the draw of our country’s national and state parks and forests, we also understand that the operation of any motor vehicle comes with some level of risk attached. Since ORVs and ATVs typically handle more poorly on the road, it is not uncommon to see these kinds of vehicles involved in city and highway accidents from time to time. Similarly, when riding on private, federal or state trials and backwoods dirt tracks, there is always some potential for a crash or rollover accident that may injure or kill the rider and/or his passenger.
As Baltimore auto accident experts, we know that an off-road vehicle is often considered to be any kind of motor vehicle that is capable of driving both on and off paved or gravel surfaces. The general category of ORVs/ATVs are characterized by those larger tires featuring deeper, more open treads and a higher ground clearance provided by a raised suspension. For many years, these kinds of off-road vehicles have garnered an enthusiastic following due to their extreme flexibility when traveling on unimproved dirt roads and even open countryside.
That said, however, when an individual is hurt or killed while riding an ORV or ATV, the question of who is responsible for the accident becomes an important consideration. This is especially true in cases of personal injury involving both adults and children. In particular, ATVs have become very popular for recreational use by families all across the U.S.; yet, although these off-road vehicles are designed for riding across the countryside where a standard car or motorcycle cannot easily go, they can also be extremely dangerous.
With the top-speed potential of some ATVs hitting 60mph or more, taking a sharp turn on a dirt road, or even a paved stretch of tarmac, can lead to disastrous results. Furthermore, riders often do not realize the danger of a rollover when taking these vehicles up steep hills or making high-speed turns. If and when an ATV rolls over, the rider and passenger can be seriously injured or killed due to the marked lack of occupant protection (such as a roll cage or basic roof). It is not uncommon for victims of ATV rollovers to end up being crushed beneath the vehicle.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we understand how a fun outing in the country could turn into a nightmare scenario because of an ORV or ATV accident. The fact that these events can take place tens or hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital or medical facility can mean that victims may not be able to reach an emergency room fast enough to save one’s life or prevent the loss of a limb. As a result, even if a victim has received a possibly treatable injury such as a concussion, internal bleeding, spinal cord damage or compound fractures, being so far from a comprehensive care facility could be fatal.
It is important to recognize that as far back as 2004, ATV injury accidents totaled more than 136,000 in the United States. A significant portion of those injuries involved minors who were riding on the ATV and crashed. As professional Maryland personal injury attorneys, we wish to emphasize that these vehicles are not toys, but potentially dangerous machines that must be ridden with care and treated with respect.
In fact, all-terrain vehicles are so dangerous that the United States Consumers Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recommended that kids 15 years old and younger should never be allowed to drive or ride on an adult-sized ATV. Yet, despite all the caveats to the contrary, families continue to buy adult-size ATVs for their younger children to use. It is important to note that even a safety-minded adult rider who has trained to operate such a vehicle may himself be injured or killed by a defective ATV.
As automobile and commercial truck accident attorneys, our legal staff often meets with auto accident victims and families of individuals who have been killed in Maryland traffic collisions. As experienced trial lawyers, we know that ATV accidents can take the lives of both young and old, or leave a victim permanently injured or disfigured for life. We fully understand the extent of the pain and discomfort that an off-roading crash can cause to an adult or child; our aim is to help the victims recover the damages due them.
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a motorcycle, ATV or off-road vehicle wreck, the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready to assist in recovering medical and rehabilitation expenses resulting from such a devastating incident. Our years of experience in handling traffic-related personal injury cases means we are both well-versed in the law and skilled in the litigation of personal injury claims. We are always ready to discuss the details of your accident. Feel free to give us a call at (800) 654-1949; or contact either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen by email to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.