Ohio has one of the highest populations of ATV riders in the country, making it one of the state's popular pastimes. While minor accidents are common in four-wheeling, many crashes involving serious injuries are caused by negligence. When serious injury or death occurs in an ATV accident, a lawsuit often follows. A recent wrongful death lawsuit in Northeast Ohio provides an example.
In April 2013, a 13-year-old girl was riding an ATV around her mother and father-in-law's property when she rolled it. The four-wheeler pinned her suffocating her to death. The deceased girl's father recently filed suit against his ex-wife and her husband. He alleges that the defendants allowed the victim, an inexperienced ATV user, to ride around the property without supervision and proper training. He also named Honda as a codefendant.
The litigation shows how an ATV accident caused solely by operator error can still result in a lawsuit. When minors are involved, special safety and liability issues are involved.
In a four-wheeler accident, the potentially liable parties may include:
- The driver/rider, especially if passengers or other motorists are harmed.
- An adult, when minors aren't supervised properly.
- The manufacturer, if the ATV has a design flaw or fails to sufficiently warn of a danger.
- Retailers and rental companies may be liable, depending on the situation.
- The property owner, if he or she failed to notify riders of a hazardous condition on the land.
- Motorists, if the accident occurs on a roadway and the ATV had the right-of-way.
If you or a family member has been seriously hurt or killed in a wreck or rollover, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she can help evaluate your situation and let you know if you have any actionable claims.