Suffolk County ATV Accident

While at one time ATVs where primarily used on farms ATVs have grown in popularity over the past several decades for recreational purposes. Many people, particularly children, teens and young adults view them as fun and exciting, not realizing just how dangerous they are. In 2009 alone, there were approximately 100,000 injuries and 300 fatalities as a result of ATV accidents. Such injuries include paralysis, head injuries, broken bones and back injuries. As experienced attorneys, we at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates know that ATV accidents can be caused by a variety of reason. However, nearly all of them are caused by negligence and nearly all of them were avoidable. If you were injured in an ATV accident that you believe was caused by another person, immediately contact a Suffolk County ATV accident lawyer who will fight for your rights to receive fair compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Danger of ATVs

All terrain vehicles are motorized vehicles that typically have four large tires, with a seat in the middle that a rider straddles while steering by the handlebars. They are meant to be used off-road or on dirt roads, not on paved roads or highways. Historically they were almost exclusively used on by farmers as a type of work vehicle. Because of the increasing popularity of ATVs as recreational vehicles, in recent years manufacturers have designed faster, stronger, and heavier ATVs, capable of causing severe damage. When accidents do occur, victims often suffer catastrophic injuries such as brain, back and neck injuries.

High center of gravity. Weighing more than 800 pounds, ATVs have a high center of gravity. This means that like SUVs, ATVs are prone to roll over.

Designed to travel on harsh terrain. Because ATVs often travel on harsh terrain that includes rough surfaces, rocks, and debris, they are more prone to travel over terrain that will cause the driver to lose control and end up in an accident.

Few safety features. Because they have no roll bars, safety cages, or seatbelts, when they tip over riders are thrown. In some cases the ATV ends up rolling over on top of the riders.

Negligence use of ATVs

As an ATV accident attorney in Suffolk County will explain, owners and operators of ATVs have a duty to operate ATVs safely. If an operator is negligent resulting in an injury to another person or damage to property, then that negligent operator may be liable for the victim's losses. While ATVs and those who drive them are not subject to the same "Rules of the Road" as those who drive cars and trucks, New York does have laws that regulate the operation of ATVs. If an accident is the result of failing to follow a statutory requirement then the operator of the ATV was negligent and the victim will be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

In general, ATVs are only permitted to be operated on the private property of the ATV owner. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2403. Thus, except under very strict circumstances ATVs cannot be operated on highways, public land, or another's private property. If someone drives an ATV on the highway and causes an accident the ATV driver would likely be ticketed and presumed responsible for the accident. Many ATV accidents are caused because the driver was speeding. While there is no specific speed limit for ATVs operating on private property, the law requires that the operator drive at a prudent, reasonable speed. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2404. If a driver operates an ATV at a speed that is not safe for the terrain conditions resulting in an accident, then the ATV driver's negligence caused the accident. Unfortunately, because most ATV operators do not wear helmets, injuries from ATV accidents can be serious including head injury and spinal cord injury.

Under New York law the owner of an ATV is vicariously liable for any personal injury or property damage caused by the negligent operation of his or her ATV. N.Y. VAT. LAW § 2411. This means that even if the owner is not personally operating the ATV, the owner can be sued for damages for the negligence of the person who was actually operating the ATV.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been injured in an ATV accident it is important to speak to our legal team as soon as possible. The ATV accident attorneys serving Suffolk County at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates is experienced in handling personal injury cases stemming from ATV accidents as well car accidents, truck accidents, and other types of vehicle accidents. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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