Santa Barbara ATV Accident Attorneys
Here in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County, ATVs, dirt bikes, and other off-roading vehicles are extremely popular among local motorsports enthusiasts and visitors alike who want to explore the Santa Ynez Mountains or enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Coast. These vehicles, though fun, are extremely dangerous for inexperienced riders and can cause serious injuries. California has the fourth-highest number of fatalities related to ATV and off-roading accidents, according to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Most are due to negligent riders, negligent passenger vehicle drivers, and defective vehicles.
If you or someone you love was injured in an off-road accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to get compensation from the person who injured you. At NordstrandBlack PC, we have served injured clients throughout Santa Barbara for more than 30 years and can provide diligent legal representation after an accident. Our Santa Barbara ATV accident attorneys will not rest until they recover the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Talk to us about your case in a free consultation; call our office at (805) 962-2022.
Off-roading vehicles are specifically designed to get over rough terrain easily and quickly, which often comes at the cost of safety. These vehicles are fast, heavy, and lack many safety restraints that the average car has. While riders in California are required by law to wear DOT-certified helmets, most vehicles lack seat belts, harnesses, and strong frames. In a collision with another ATV or fixed object, a rider can be thrown from the vehicle and become further injured on the nearby terrain.
ATVs are also top-heavy, meaning the majority of a vehicle’s weight is raised off the ground by strong tires. As a result of this, the vehicle’s center of gravity is proportionally higher than most other vehicles, making it more prone to rollovers in a collision. Rollover accidents, especially those involving off-roading vehicles, are absolutely devastating. The full weight of a vehicle can collapse on top of a rider’s legs or upper body, resulting in severe trauma.
ATVs are not allowed on public roads in California but may still be involved in collisions. Truck and car drivers may travel along private dirt roads or trails near local ATV ranches or mountain routes. This cross-traffic can result in serious auto accidents between larger vehicles and ATV riders, which often catastrophically injure the rider. In these instances, the driver of the vehicle may be liable for the rider’s injuries if the driver was negligent.
While ATVs are generally operated by adults, they are also popular among children. Anyone over the age of 18 years old can ride an ATV with few restrictions, but there are more stringent rules for younger operators. Riders between the ages of 14 and 17 may only operate an ATV if they have completed a prescribed safety program or are under the supervision of an adult who has a safety certificate. Riders under the age of 16 cannot operate recreational off-highway vehicles, or side-by-side off-roading vehicles.
Despite these rules, children can suffer severe injuries in ATV accidents. Children are generally less experienced than adult riders and may make dangerous decisions. Many young riders are required to have an adult supervising them to ensure that they are as safe as possible. As result, if a child was injured due to someone else’s negligence or poor supervision, then the child’s parents could file a personal injury claim against the person who failed to adequately protect the child.
In a single recent year, ATV accidents across the U.S. resulted in 101,200 injuries that required emergency care, as reported by the CPSC. The report outlined that these injuries generally include trauma to the:
- Arms and hands – 29%
- Head or neck injuries – 27%
- Legs and feet – 22%
- Torso – 20%
- Other – 2%
An injured motorsports rider can suffer from:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Trauma to the neck
- Back injuries
- Crush injuries, often involving broken bones
- Road rash
- Serious burns
Unfortunately, these injuries are rarely ever minor. Accident victims and their families have to deal with expensive medical bills and months of rehabilitation to recover. Given the high fatality rate related to these accidents, many have to deal with the loss of a loved one. In these cases, when death was due to someone else’s negligent actions, then they may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim for compensation.
To recover compensation for you or your child’s injuries after an ATV accident, you must prove that a liable party injured you through an act of negligence. Negligence can refer to any action (or inaction) that put another person at risk of suffering an injury or death. When specifically referring to ATV accidents, negligence can include:
- Dangerous riding habits, such as speeding or reckless maneuvers
- Riding an ATV while intoxicated
- Using a cell phone while driving a passenger vehicle or riding an ATV
- Failing to supervise minor riders
- Poorly designed roads, unsafe trails, and other dangerous property conditions
- Defective or faulty ATV parts
To prove that another person caused your injuries, you will need to collect evidence that they were reckless or careless. This will likely involve a police investigation and accident report, a review of your medical records, photos or videos of the accident scene, recall notices, maintenance records, and other pieces of evidence.
All of this can be difficult to uncover on your own, which is why you should work with an experienced attorney at NordstrandBlack PC. We have the resources to fully investigate your accident, determine who caused your injuries, and hold them accountable.
ATV accidents can be rather complicated, but there are several people and groups that often are liable for a victim’s injuries, such as:
- Other Riders: Inexperienced riders are a danger to everyone on a trail, ranch, or ATV park. Riders should always be trained or under the supervision of a certified rider. If another ATV rider hit you and caused your injuries, you would be able to file a claim against them.
- Negligent Drivers: Auto drivers are responsible for keeping everyone on the road safe, even when they are traveling on private roads or dirt trails. If a passenger vehicle or truck driver collided with an ATV rider, the rider should be able to file an auto accident claim with the driver’s insurance company.
- Negligent Owners: Negligent owners who fail to inspect, maintain, or repair their vehicles and then allow others to use them may be held liable if the user suffers injuries.
- ATV Manufacturers: Like any product, ATVs can be designed and built with defective parts. These can include unresponsive brakes, faulty tires, collapsing safety bars, and poor vehicle stability systems. A victim who was injured due to a faulty ATV part can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
During our investigation, we may discover other responsible parties. In any case, our team at NordstrandBlack PC is prepared to represent you in a personal injury claim after an ATV accident and advocate for you to get you the maximum compensation.
No one should bear the cost of expensive medical bills and painful injuries because of someone else’s negligent actions. Given the large numbers of ATV injuries in California, many victims and their families are left wondering how to move on after an accident. Don’t assume that you have to pay for your damages out-of-pocket -- you may be able to hold the responsible party accountable to pay those damages.
To successfully resolve your claim and recover, call a Santa Barbara personal injury attorney at NordstrandBlack PC. We can use our more than 30 years of experience to thoroughly investigate your claim and advocate on your behalf. We have recovered millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements for our clients and offer you the same professional help. To speak with us in a free consultation, call (805) 962-2022.