Representing Victims of ATV Accidents in California
Three- or four-wheel all-terrain vehicles are popular in California. Many people ride them for recreation in the deserts or the hills. They are also frequently used by rescue personnel on beaches or wooded areas. Unfortunately, they can cause injuries or even death if used improperly. In the state of California, ATV accidents were responsible for 62 deaths between 2015-2017. Injuries numbered in the hundreds. If you’re in an ATV accident, get the representation needed.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents
Many factors can play a role in ATV accidents including driver error and equipment failure. Some of the most common causes include the following:
- Driving on paved roads. ATVs are designed for rough terrain. When driven on paved roads or driveways, they flip over more easily, throwing drivers from the vehicle or even pinning them underneath.
- Speed. Just like cars, there is a safe speed to drive an ATV in given conditions. Uneven ground, wet or slick areas, and rocky patches can all make it hard to control the vehicle at fast speeds.
- Riding with two passengers. We’ve all seen teenagers and children hop on the back of an ATV. Sadly, this is dangerous and is a primary cause of ATV accidents in California. ATVs are built for one person. Adding a second increases instability, leading to rollovers.
- Children as drivers. Children, adolescents, and even young teenagers may not be strong enough to handle an ATV. It takes a fair amount of physical strength to control the vehicle, especially on difficult terrain. It’s easy for an ATV to take a jump and pull itself completely out of a child’s grasp.
What To Do in the Event of an ATV Accident
ATV accidents can be serious and cause significant damage or even be life-threatening. If you are in an ATV accident or are a witness to one, there are important steps you should follow before contacting a personal injury lawyer.
- Check everyone involved for injuries. Call 911.
- Seek medical attention, if needed. Keep a copy of the medical record.
- Use your phone to take photos to document the scene. Be sure to include pictures of the surrounding terrain, any trail marks, and the ATV itself.
- Get names and addresses of witnesses.
- Obtain a copy of the police report, if there is one.
- Contact California personal injury attorneys to see if you can be awarded damages for your injuries.
How the Lawyers at Kalfayan Merjanian Can Help
If you are injured in an accident, it’s always a good idea to talk to experienced lawyers. They are experienced with California ATV laws and can ascertain if you have a strong case.
CA Trial Attorneys will work for their clients to establish liability. Maybe the owner of the ATV didn’t secure the vehicle properly. Or perhaps the owner allowed children to ride who should not have been on the ATV. This would make the ATV owner liable for damages. The property owner can also be found liable in certain cases. Of course, if the ATV was defective in some way, that becomes a case of product liability.
Kalfayan Merjanian lawyers will consider types of insurance policies that may come into play. Since ATVs are rarely insured, property owners’ insurance or a homeowner’s insurance policy may be available to pay damages. You can trust the attorneys at KM to thoroughly review your particular situation. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Damages That May Be Awarded
Under California law, individuals may be awarded compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to cover the out-of-pocket expenses that one may have as a result of the accident. Economic damages may be received for medical expenses, lost wages or loss of earnings, property damage, and lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and cover losses such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, unjust hardship, and disfigurement. An experienced KM lawyer can determine which of these fits a particular case and apply them appropriately.
There are also punitive damages, which can be difficult to prove and win. Plaintiffs are awarded these damages when it has been shown that the at-fault party acted with malice, intentional harm, or extreme recklessness. Each point of the claim must be proven with clear and convincing evidence.
There is a higher burden of evidence required for punitive damages. Take the advice of your attorney about the appropriateness of pursuing these damages.
If you have been in an ATV accident and need compensation for your injuries, it’s time to talk to the team at Kalfayan Merjanian. They have the expertise to assess personal injury cases.
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