“If you hand people a gun that shoots backwards, don’t act shocked at what happens.”
That’s ATV injury lawyer Jim Adler talking about ATV manufacturers and their deceptive advertising. The advertising says that ATVs are a great way to have fun. But this personal injury attorney is hearing from people all over the United States who have been seriously injured in ATV accidents.
2008 case files at the Adler law firm reveal the grim reality that manufacturers don’t talk about: The ATV can cause life-altering accidents at low speeds with no warning, especially in the Yamaha Rhino.
• A Florida woman began having severe headaches two months after an accident in a Yamaha Rhino. An MRI showed a skull fracture and scar fragments sticking into her brain. The Yamaha Rhino passenger had two brain surgeries.
• An Arizona honor student was taken by life-flight to a hospital with a broken right leg, a fractured neck, broken ribs, a broken collarbone and punctured lungs. He has dropped out of school due to brain damage from bleeding in the brain.
Callers from 18 states this year have been telling Adler similar tales. Some injuries aren’t life threatening: a broken foot or leg. But all needed a doctor’s attention. Many required hospitalization. Some have permanent disabilities. And one died from head injuries.
What makes the ATV, particularly the Yamaha Rhino, so dangerous? Its design flaws and lack of safety equipment. ATVs have a narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity. That makes them “tippy.” The two-seater Yamaha Rhino lacks doors, safety handles and other safety equipment. It is particularly dangerous since it is larger and heavier than most ATVs.
Victims of ATV accidents report rollovers at low speeds – at two to three miles per hour one client said – when they tried to make a turn. Some ATVs have flipped suddenly, landing on arms and legs, crushing them. Videos show ATVs jerking and bouncing over sand dunes and on back trails heading to hunting cabins, deer stands and duck blinds. YouTube is full of daredevil stunts on ATVs in contests and exhibitions. Sales of the recreational sports vehicles are a fast growing-component of the automotive market. That worries Yamaha rhino injury attorney Jim Adler.
“The rates of death and injury to kids in ATVs would knock your socks off and the companies that make ATVs know it,” Adler says.
In 2005, an emergency room doctor with the American Academy of Pediatrics called ATVs the “perfect recipe for tragedy” given their unstable design. “Safe Kids Worldwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Consumer Federation of America, have been calling for a ban on kids under 16 in ATVs since 1987 because they know how deadly they are.”
An ATV crash is “…12 times as likely to kill a child as an accident with a bicycle,” according to Safe Kids. Adler is a member of several Safe Kids coalitions in large U.S. cities. The coalitions work to reduce preventable accidents – the number one killer of children 14 and under.
The deadly design of the early ATVs prompted the Justice Department to file suit against the manufacturers, claiming that they violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. In 1987, major ATV manufacturers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a 10-year Consent Decree, which among several provisions agreed to stop making the deadly three-wheeled ATV. Makers began manufacturing ATVs with four wheels but many three-wheelers remain in use.
The Wall Street Journal slammed the ATV industry in an article in February 2004, pointing out federal statistics showing that in 2002 more than 110,000 ATV riders were injured seriously enough to require emergency department treatment and that one-third of these were under the age of 16. In 2007, this number has increased to over 150,000 with 27% occurring in children.
About the Company:
Jim Adler is a lawyer with 30 years experience in all types of personal injury cases. He is also a TV and radio personality who has served the public for 25 years on TV and radio talk shows, in newspaper interviews and on civic group panels discussing the legal rights of accident victims. His law firm, Jim S. Adler & Associates represents the seriously and catastrophically injured in Texas and other states.