ATV Accident Lawyers in Arizona
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From sandy beaches to rocky deserts and from open pastures to mountain forests, ATVs are a popular form of utilitarian and recreational transportation. However, they are also associated with high risk of injury and even death. According to one study, ATVs are as dangerous as motorcycles when comparing their associated mortality rates. The Arizona ATV accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group are here to ensure that you do not face the legal path to recovering compensation alone.
Our nationwide team of accident lawyers is ready to evaluate and handle your case. If you or a loved one were injured in an ATV accident in Arizona, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced ATV accident lawyer near you.
ATV Accident statistics
ATV accidents are remarkably common; according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 93,800 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States in 2017. An estimated 26% of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.
The CPSC further reported 295 ATV-related deaths in 2017, 531 in 2016, and 585 in 2015. Deaths between 1982 and 2017 totaled to 15,250. Of these, 268 occurred in Arizona.
In 2016 alone, the CPSC reported a total of 101,200 emergency department-treated ATV injuries nationwide. The injuries break down as follows:
- Arms/Hands – 31,300 (29%)
- Head/Neck – 30,300 (27%)
- Legs/Feet – 20,900 (22%)
- Torso – 23,400 (20%)
- Other – 1,500 (2%)
Of the injuries reported between 2010–2013, the accident locations break down as follows:
- Paved surfaces – 32%
- Unpaved roads – 18%
- Forests/Woods – 11%
- Fields, pasture, farmland, or ranchland – 13%
- Desert, sand dunes, beach, or off-highway vehicle park – 5%
- Unknown – 14%
- Other – 7%
Most ATV accidents happen between May and September, when outdoor activities are more accessible; the numbers peak in July. Many of these accidents and fatalities are completely avoidable. To avoid ATV-related accidents, the CPSC makes the following safety recommendations:
1. Wear a helmet and other protective gear (e.g., eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt);
2. Never allow more riders than the ATV was designed for;
3. Get training from a qualified instructor;
4. Stay off paved roads, and use extreme caution when crossing one is necessary; and
5. Never let someone under the age of 16 ride an adult ATV.
Legal Route to Compensation
If you were injured in an ATV accident because of another person’s actions, an accident lawyer in Arizona can help you seek compensation. The most common claim made in personal injury cases arising from ATV accidents is negligence. Successfully bringing a negligence claim requires proving four elements; they are as follows:
1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to use reasonable care.
2. Breach: The defendant breached their duty to use reasonable care.
3. Causation: The breach of duty proximately caused the accident.
4. Harm: The accident harmed the plaintiff.
If all of these elements are successfully shown, you are entitled to compensation.
Negligence is a very flexible type of legal claim; for example, negligence may be shown by proving that the driver of the ATV was intoxicated, that the owner of the premises did not keep their property safe, or that rented equipment was not properly maintained. There are innumerable fact patterns leading to accidents and injury. An injury attorney can help evaluate the facts and law impacting your case.
Notably, the law in Arizona also takes into account “comparative negligence;” specifically, the law provides that “the full damages shall be reduced in proportion to the relative degree of the claimant’s fault which is a proximate cause of the injury or death, if any.” For example, if a jury finds that the total harm caused to the plaintiff amounts to $100,000 in damages but also that the plaintiff’s intoxication contributed 40% to the causation of the accident, then the plaintiff’s award is reduced to $60,000. In theory, a plaintiff who contributed 99% to an accident is still entitled to recover 1% in damages.
Your damages may be either “economic” or “non-economic;” economic damages refer to those that can be reduced to monetary value (e.g., medical bills, pharmacy bills, loss of income, and lost earning capacity). Non-economic damages refer to more intangible harms that cannot be reduced to a monetary value (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of a loved one). Our experienced can evaluate both your economic and non-economic damages.
Read more: Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-2505, Establishing Comparative Fault
Statute of Limitations
One very important element in any personal injury case is the governing statute of limitations; this refers to the law establishing a deadline for bringing your case—once the statute of limitations “runs” out, your case is time barred and may no longer be brought. Each state has established its own statute of limitations for different kinds of claims. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death is two years after the date of the accident. Be sure to speak with an Arizona ATV accident lawyer well before the deadline passes.
What to Do If You Were Involved in an ATV Accident
Whether their ATV accident and injures are minor or catastrophic, injured parties are often uncertain how to proceed. However, the steps you should take after being injured in an ATV accident are similar to those you should take following any accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Of course, your wellbeing is the highest priority; therefore, after any accident, you should seek medical attention. Accident victims often fail to seek medical attention early on because they do not believe their injuries are severe enough; however, even minor injuries are compensable, and the full impact of many injuries does not become apparent until well after the accident took place. For example, a common injury in vehicle accidents is “whiplash,” an injury to the neck caused when the head is jerked violently due to an impact; the full impact of whiplash is often not felt until hours or maybe even days after the accident occurred.
Early medical attention is also very important because the medical records created by your provider will serve as key evidence in your case; the earlier on you seek attention, the more accurate and complete the records are likely to be. When consulting with your medical providers, be sure to express the nature of your pain and discomfort as completely as possible. Acknowledgement of your injuries—no matter how small—by a medical professional in official records is an especially authoritative form of evidence.
2. Report the Accident
Be sure to report your accident to the appropriate authorities; for example, if the accident occurred on a road, make a report to the police. If it occurred on park land, make a report to the park rangers’ office. A report of the accident detailing the date, time, people involved, etc., will serve as further evidence for your case.
3. Exchange Information
Before leaving the scene of the accident, exchange relevant information with all people involved; record names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, insurance information, etc. Also, if there were any witnesses to the accident, gather their contact information as well. Eyewitnesses often provide key evidence that is otherwise inaccessible; for example, a witness may be able to testify that they previously saw a defendant drinking alcohol before mounting their ATV.
4. Document the Scene
Also, before leaving the scene of the accident, document the surroundings; notes, audio, and videos documenting the scene on or around the time of the accident can ensure that key evidence is not lost. For example, if the weather conditions played a key factor in the accident—e.g., because the driver was operating their ATV unsafely in light of a heavy rain—evidence of the weather can go a long way in proving your negligence claim. In particular, be sure to document the vehicles involved and your injuries at the time they were sustained.
5. Hire an Attorney
Ultimately, your ATV accident lawyer will be your closest ally in your journey toward compensation. The success of a personal injury claim is often a question of timing, and hiring an experienced accident lawyer early on can be very helpful to your case; the earlier you speak to an attorney, the more time they have to evaluate your facts, help you gather evidence, and create a legal strategy to secure compensation. Also, early case evaluation will ensure that key evidence and witness testimony can be gathered before it disappears or memories fade.
In particular, you should be very careful when speaking to the opposing party or their insurance providers before speaking to an accident lawyer. Remember, anything you say to an insurance adjuster can be used against you in litigation. Therefore, do not admit fault before speaking to an attorney.
Read more: How to Negotiate With an Insurance Company
LET US HELP YOU RECOVER COMPENSATION
ATV accidents are often as serious as road accidents involving full-sized vehicles. At Zinda Law Group, our accident lawyers are committed to ensuring that victims of all accidents have access to excellent legal representation; we are here to help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries. Our client’s pay nothing unless we win their case; that is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.