As American as apple pie. As Canadian as maple syrup. As Albertan as… an ATV? Our province is known for many things: oil and gas, the Chinook winds, and the Rocky Mountains are among the most famous. But we should probably add ATV ridership to the list.
Albertans make up about 12% of the Canadian population, but buy 25% of the ATVs in Canada. Clearly we love our off road adventures and the thrill of handling a compact machine on challenging terrain. Unfortunately, no adventurous activities are without their risks and each year ATV accidents lead to about 5,500 hospital visits, around 550 admissions, and about 14 deaths.
Driver negligence and recklessness is a major contributor to ATV injuries. More than 50% of fatal ATV accidents occurred when a driver was under the influence of alcohol and 80% of people fatally injured by head trauma were not wearing helmets.
However, many ATV riders are involved in accidents and sustain injuries where they are not at fault or where another person shares the fault. From manufacturer defects, to lack of supervision of young drivers, to negligent upkeep of private property where an accident occurs, there many ways another person’s actions or inaction can cause or contribute to harm.
If you or a loved one suffered an ATV accident injury and believe you may be entitled to benefits through insurance or want to know if you can receive compensation from a negligent party, Litwiniuk & Company Edmonton ATV accident lawyers are ready to speak to you as a part of a free, no obligation consultation.
ATV Risks and Safety
They say there’s no reward without risk, and riding ATV’s can be a rewarding experience if all goes well. However, these vehicles are inherently risky because of their power, weight, and relative instability.
While many people are aware of the risk of losing balance on a three-wheeler, four-wheel ATVs have become popular because of their ease to drive and better stability. However, high ground clearance required to protect the ATV’s undercarriage from off road hazards makes these vehicles much more prone to roll over during turns.
Moreover, not all accessories for ATVs are meant for all types of rides. Some ATV users who go off roading choose to use deep tread tires to get through mud with ease. Unfortunately, when these tires are used on firmer surfaces such as compact grass or pavement, they have much less traction and make riding more dangerous.
ATV manufacturers have been exceedingly slow in adding important safety features such as roll bars and side doors which mean some older models do not have this important protection. Moreover, if ATVs are operated at high speeds, on steep inclines, at night, on unfamiliar terrain, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while a driver is distracted, the inherent risks increase.
The risk of injury or death for children under the age of 16 is two to fives times higher than adults, even when they are using “youth-sized” ATVs. The risk is considered so great that the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that children under 16 should never ride ATVs, even as passengers.
Although riders should be aware of these risks, they can take precautions to better protect themselves. The My Health Alberta Network suggests the following Smart Risk strategies:
- The “look first” principle – Think ahead to manage risks; keep your ATV in good repair; ride during daylight; respect the rights of other trail users and obey signage; be aware of potential hazards in an area or ride with someone who is familiar with them; and check local weather conditions.
- Get in gear – Wear an approved ATV or motorcycle helmet; use proper eye protection (not sunglasses); choose appropriate clothing, chest protectors, gloves and boots.
- Take some training – A trained instructor can help ATV operators learn how to safely use controls, turning, climbing hills and handling tough terrain.
- Drive Sober – Never use alcohol or drugs before or during an ATV ride.
- Be Picky About Passengers – Most ATVs don’t have appropriate space to accommodate passengers. Don’t offer rides to others on a vehicle made for a single person.
Common ATV Injuries
Fractures of arms and legs are common, and some rollovers have caused an amputation of part of a limb. Head and spine injuries are also frequent occurrences and are much more likely to result in death or permanent disability. The extent of damage from traumatic brain injuries can take weeks or months to fully reveal itself while determining how much rehabilitation is possible from spinal cord damage can take similarly lengthy periods of time.
Internal injuries, particularly in the trunk of the body, are next most likely. These can include fractured ribs, organ damage and internal bleeding. Often less serious, but still debilitating, are neck injuries from whiplash if the ATV comes to a sudden stop or rapidly decelerates. Finally, various other injuries can occur during ATV rides. Burns from exhaust pipes or mufflers if a rider’s leg touches these super-heated exposed parts, especially while dismounting.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Hurt In An ATV Accident?
If you’ve had an accident while on an ATV and sustained an injury, you should always seek medical help as soon as possible. Being assessed by first responders and/or visiting a medical provider (a doctor, chiropractor or physiotherapist) will be important to begin treatment on your injury and to establish a record of your injury for insurance or lawsuit purposes.
If you or someone you were riding with is able, take photos of the accident scene and any visible injuries, make notes of any factors that may have contributed to the accident (low visibility, poor weather conditions), and record contact information of any witnesses. Be sure to keep the damaged ATV and the clothes you were wearing if possible. While it is unlikely that any video footage of the accident would be available, if you or any other rider was wearing a GoPro or other video recording device, ensure that all footage is saved for review.
Once your condition stabilizes and the initial shock of the accident wears off, you will likely begin to think about how expensive an injury can be. From medical expenses not covered by Alberta Health Care (prescriptions, massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc.), to lost income, to future cost of care, you could be faced with significant out of pocket expenses if you are not able to access benefits or receive compensation.
You may ask yourself: Do I qualify for Section B benefits under a motor vehicle insurance policy? Am I entitled to benefits through any other policy I own or through my employer? Was I at fault for my accident? Was someone else’s negligence partly or fully to blame? Can I be compensated for my losses?
A knowledgeable, experienced and skilled Edmonton ATV accident lawyer can answer these questions and help you make sense of the complexities in ATV accident cases.
How Can Litwiniuk & Company Edmonton ATV Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Unlike more straight-forward car accident cases, the particulars of an individual ATV case usually determine whether benefits and/or compensation are possible. Often good legal representation can make all the difference to getting accident victims funds to assist them in their recovery.
As a firm that specializes in personal injury law, Litwiniuk & Company understand the ins and outs of the various insurance policies that may be applicable for ATV accident coverage. Moreover, in cases where a victim could be eligible to make a claim for compensation, our lawyers know how to collect the evidence needed to build a strong and convincing case that holds up well in court and often prompts an insurer to want to settle.
Why are ATV accidents so complicated legally? In short, the facts of the case determine which laws and insurance policies apply. For example, Section B benefits (no fault benefits) that are standard in other motor vehicle accident cases would only apply to an ATV accident if the vehicle was insured under a driver’s policy. ATVs that are not operated on public highways or lands do not require this coverage and may instead be covered by farm, habitational or recreational policies (and rarely homeowner policies).
When you contact us for a free, no obligation consultation, after listening to your story with genuine interest and offering compassionate concern for what impact this injury has had in your life and on those you love, we will explain exactly how we can proceed to seek funds on your behalf.
First, we will do a thorough investigation into the accident by reconstructing what happened, searching for factors that may have caused or contributed to what happened, and compiling evidence from the physical site of the accident and from your medical records. Next, we will search through all insurance policies to determine if they may be applicable or look to alternatives such as Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. We can help you deal with insurers who deny or delay paying benefits you are entitled to.
Finally, if the evidence suggests someone else caused or contributed to your injury through negligence, we can make a claim for compensation for your losses and pain and suffering on your behalf.
Some examples of negligence which could be the grounds for a successful claim include:
- an ATV owner’s failure to keep the vehicle in proper repair;
- a manufacturer’s defect which causes or contributes to an accident or the severity of injury you suffered;
- inadequate operating instructions for the vehicle resulting in harm to an operator;
- an ATV owner’s failure to supervise a minor using the vehicle;
- negligent upkeep of private property where the accident occurred; and
- a driver’s negligence or recklessness causing injury to a passenger.
Why Choose Litwiniuk & Company Edmonton ATV Accident Lawyers?
We’ve already explained why it may be in an ATV accident victim’s best interest to search for a lawyer who specializes in personal injuries to handle these types of complex cases. But why choose us specifically to be your legal representative?
For more than 40 years, Litwiniuk & Company have been passionate advocates for personal injury victims. We understand how devastating and traumatic these accidents and injuries can be to you and those you love. Although we know that when you come to visit a lawyer money is on your mind; but it’s not the only thing you or we care about. Helping you and your loved ones heal emotionally, physically and financially is our mission.
Named one of Canada’s Top 10 Boutique Personal Injury Firms by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, Litwiniuk & Company lawyers are recognized by their peers for their knowledge, skill, and reputation for results. If you were to speak to many of our past clients you would hear that they agree with this assessment and would add that our firm always puts people first.
Past client David, a business owner who has also referred many people to us over the years, tells us that at Litwiniuk & Company “you’re treated like someone that is important to the firm. Not just another number, not just another face.” And he’s right. You’re treated like someone who is important to the firm because you are important to us.
Many of our clients describe their experience with us as if they were dealing with family – people who genuinely care about your well-being and who will do their utmost to help you through a tough period in your life. Knowing you have a trusted and supportive advocate in your corner, on your side and by your side in the aftermath of an injury can make all the difference.
Looking For An ATV Accident Lawyer in Edmonton Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the counties of Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon. When you need an ATV Accident Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litwiniuk & Company Personal Injury Lawyers.