Earlier this spring a young boy died in an ATV accident in Sumter County. The boy, who was only 12 years old, was riding an ATV when it flipped several times and landed on the boy. This case is a sad example of what can happen when people treat ATVs as sources of entertainment rather than recognize their dangers. Even when ATVs are operated correctly under proper supervision, they can still cause accidents and serious injuries. Between 1982 and 2014 there were 13,617 ATV-related fatalities. Nearly one in four of those deaths was attributed to children who were under 16. Additionally, in South Carolina alone, the Department of Health estimates that 450 children are injured each year in ATV accidents.
Why can ATVs cause serious injury to children?
Many individuals do not realize that ATVs are not one size fits all. Many of the children who are injured or who die on ATVs are riding on a vehicle that is designed for adults. Children, who may lack the coordination skills or strength to operate an adult ATV may find themselves having an extremely difficult time when it comes to operating an ATV. Additionally, compared to a car or truck, ATVs have fewer safety features. Unlike traditional motor vehicles, ATVs do not have seatbelts and many lack air bags. The absence of these safety features can cause whiplash, neck and head injuries, spinal injuries, or even death.
South Carolina Law on ATV accidents
South Carolina has put some laws in effect that seek to protect children who ride on ATVs. One prominent example is Chandler’s Law. This law requires that children who are under 16 must be accompanied by an adult if they are operating on a public road. The law also requires children who are under 16 to complete a rider safety course and wear a helmet while operating an ATV. While Chandler’s Law is a step in the right direction, there is still much that could be done to guard against injuries on ATV.
In addition to Chandler’s law, traditional negligence law becomes a point of discussion in ATV accident cases. Normally, in South Carolina, a child is not held to the same standard of care as an adult is. However, if a child is doing or participating in what could be seen as an adult activity, that child will be held to the same standards as an adult. Many courts around the country have indicated that riding an ATV is considered an adult activity.
How can a South Carolina personal injury attorney help?
If you or your child has been injured in an ATV accident you may have a case. Proving liability in an ATV accident can be difficult. Depending on who owns the ATV it is possible they will be responsible. If a trail is in disrepair and it causes an ATV to crash it is possible the owner of the land the trail is located on will be liable. If you have been injured it is important to contact an experienced lawyer to see if you have a case. Call Surasky Law Firm today at (803) 593-3912.