Indiana law enforcement officials are investigating the causes of three all terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents that happened on the same day in Harrison and Washington Counties.
The Washington County incident took place on Ramsey Lane, outside of Pekin. A 36-year-old man from Salem was in the process of crossing a field while riding an ATV when he lost control and flipped over on an embankment. Fortunately, his injuries to his head and ankle were not life-threatening. Washington County investigators believe that alcohol use may have been a factor.
One of the Harrison County accidents was more serious. A 17-year-old was traveling at a high speed on Stuckey Road outside of Elizabeth on an off-road motorcycle that was unregistered, when he lost control of his vehicle. The vehicle flipped over, and he suffered a skull fracture and head trauma. In both this case and the one in Washington County, neither victim was wearing a helmet or other safety gear.
The last case, another Harrison County accident, had the most tragic consequences. A 17-year-old passenger on an off-road vehicle was pronounced dead after the vehicle ran off the road, hit a tree, overturned, and hit another tree. The driver, 19 years old, who came away with a head wound and a road rash, is expected to make a full recovery. There is no word as to whether either was wearing any protective equipment.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials are concerned about the increase in ATV accidents, especially since summer is usually the peak time. ATVs have an affordable price, making them popular with teenagers. However, these vehicles can be very difficult to maneuver, especially if the rider is inexperienced. Therefore, those who think they can just jump on a vehicle and go for a quick ride are vulnerable to accidents, particularly if alcohol is involved.
Some ways to prevent serious injury are to use an ATV that is the proper size and to wear safety gear. The right safety gear includes a helmet, chest protector, eye protectors, gloves, and knee pads. One official noted that most people's lives were worth paying $50 to $75 for a helmet.
Those injured in an ATV accident have the option of filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Common claims include that the vehicle had a dangerous design, that it came off the assembly line dangerously defective, or that its warning label did not sufficiently warn of the dangers.
However, one challenge in Indiana is that the state has a "modified comparative negligence" system. That means that if the injured party's actions were at least 50 percent to blame for the accident, the injured party is not allowed to collect any payment from the other party. By contrast, Kentucky has a "pure comparative negligence" system, in which even an injured party 50 percent or more responsible can still collect an award.
Miller & Falkner is an Indiana and Kentucky plaintiffs law firm. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the firm provides representation in the areas of personal injury and employment law. If you need a Kentucky or Indiana personal injury attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.