ATV Accidents: Number of Spinal and Head Trauma Injury Cases are Rising, Say Researchers

According to the University of Utah Department of Neurosurgery, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of severe head and spinal trauma cases involving all-terrain vehicle. Its researchers’ findings, published in Neurosurgery, emphasis the need for better ATV stability, better rider training, and helmet use.

The research, which is to be published in the journal Neurosurgery, states that:

• ATV injuries resulted in 495 deaths and 1,117,000 emergency room visits in 2001—159% and 211% more, respectively than 1993.

• 42% of head and spinal injuries involved young victims under the age of 20, who are riding adult-sized vehicles yet may lack the physical strength, size, experience, judgment, motor coordination, and restraint to safely operate any type of motor vehicle.

• Most common type of ATV accidents include rollovers and collisions with stationary objects or other vehicles.

• ATV drivers that don’t wear helmets are at greater risk of sustaining a neurological injury.

• With their high gravity center, short wheelbases, and high ground clearance, ATVs have an unstable design.

ATVs can travel on sand, snow, and mud. Neurosurgeon Joel MacDonald, MD, one of the researchers on this study, says children are at higher risk of becoming involved in an ATV rollover crash because they may lack the strength and weight to forcefully lean the vehicle during a turn.

Just last March, a 4-year-old boy died in a Maryland ATV accident close to Middletown when the he drove the ATV into a creek. The child drowned. While Maryland makes it illegal for children under the age of 12 to drive ATVs on state trails, no age limit exists regarding who can operate an ATV on private land.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says kids under age 6 should not ride ATVs. However, even though ATV manufacturers are now recommending certain age limits depending on the size of an ATV’s engine, some companies are now making ATVs designed for small kids. It is also important to note that adults are also susceptive to ATV accidents and injuries.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries during an ATV accident, you may have grounds for a Maryland ATV accident lawsuit or a Maryland products liability case. Manufacturers can be sued for negligence if a product that was poorly designed, lacked the proper safety instructions, malfunctioned in some way, or did not come with the proper warnings caused a Maryland personal injury or wrongful death. If your child is the one that got hurt, you may be able to pursue an Maryland child accident lawsuit.

Head and spine trauma from ATV accidents cost $3.24 billion annually, University of Utah Health Sciences/, July 6, 2010
ATV accident claims life of 4-year-old boy, The Herald-Mail, March 21, 2010
Related Web Resources:

ATV Safety

University of Utah Department of Neurosurgery

Products Liability, Nolo

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog

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