Like any vehicle, all-terrain vehicles can be dangerous. Often the danger lies in the terrain itself. Sudden dips can throw off your momentum and cause accidents. Sometimes, upcoming objects are visually obscured by what immediately lies ahead of you. There are also times when your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence. Here are some common injuries associated with ATVs.
When riding you ATV, you should always wear a helmet. With their open tops, ATVs are particularly hazardous to the cranium. Head injuries are serious, and you want to protect that precious cargo as much as you can.
Even when you wear a helmet, an accident can cause a head injury. If your ATV makes a sudden impact, inertia can send the brain forward, smacking it against the side of the skull. This results in a concussion. Concussions often go away on their own, and the bruising heals. Sometimes, though, they lead to lasting damage. They can affect memory and cognitive function, and serious concussions can be fatal.
Impact to the head can cause other brain injuries, even when your head is protected. The brain itself can bruise or tear, leading to serious issues. People suffering from brain injuries can have many different symptoms. They may develop severe mood disorders, swinging violently between extreme emotional states. Sleep can be affected, where the person sleeps far too much or far too little. Cognitive capacity can be seriously diminished, leaving someone childlike or in a vegetative state. People with these injuries can sometimes have their sensory input crossed, and they will taste, smell, or hear things that aren’t present.
The brain itself may not be injured in an accident, but there are layers around the brain containing fluids, nerves, and veins. If those are damaged or ruptured, it could lead to brain bleeding, a serious condition that requires urgent surgical attention. The skull can also suffer damage. Fractures in the skull are serious, as they leave the layers underneath exposed and vulnerable. Untreated, fractures can expand, and tissue can hemorrhage through.
Helmets and other protective clothing should keep you safe. When they are defective, they are dangerous. If your injuries were the result of ineffective helmets or other equipment, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Anyone who is thrown from an ATV can land on or slam against a hard surface, causing bones to break or fracture. If the break is not severe, the limb can usually be cast as the bone reattaches and mends itself. If bones are shattered or severely broken, surgeons may need to take extreme measures. Artificial bones or amputations may be the only solution.
If you were thrown from your ATV because of a defect in the vehicle, you can hold the manufacturers liable for your injuries.
The spine performs a crucial function for mammals. It houses important nerves that control movement and senses. When the spine is injured, nerves can be cut or broken, leading to paralysis. Paraplegia happens when the nerves that control legs are severed. The higher up the injury is on the spine, the more areas of the body are affected. If the injury is near the neck, people may suffer from quadriplegia, where four or more limbs are at least partially paralyzed.
Another possible spinal injury is a herniated disc. There are discs located between sections of the spine, which can protrude from an injury. When this happens, they can bump against the nerves along the spine. This causes severe pain for those who have suffered this injury. It can sometimes lead to full paralysis, affecting mobility and causing parts of the body to work improperly. Even when it does not directly alter mobility, movement can be so painful that people avoid certain actions.
Another potential injury to the spine is whiplash. Whiplash can happen only in the neck as well. The human head is surprisingly heavy. When an ATV crash causes someone to come to a sudden stop, inertia can keep the head moving forward. The neck and head then mimic the movements of a whip, as the neck muscles and spine are stretched by the head’s continued movement. Whiplash injuries cause pain. It can be localized in the neck or spine, limiting the sufferer’s mobility. Pain can radiate upward into the head or down into the shoulders and back. Severe cases of whiplash can cause someone to be unable to move their head or even hold it up.
Talk to an attorney if your spine injuries are the result of an ATV accident. Depending on the circumstances, you could be compensated for your pain and suffering. Perhaps the vehicle was mislabeled. If the manufacturers did not warn you about how stopping short could throw you from the vehicle, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
You should be covered with protective gear when riding your ATV as a crash can send you skidding across surfaces. However, protective clothing is not always completely effective. It can bunch up or even fly off, exposing your skin to the elements, causing cuts. When protective gear fails to do its job, you can hold the manufacturers accountable. Talk to an attorney about how your gear failed you.
Skin scraping, such as a skinned knee, is called an abrasion. Abrasions usually affect only the top layer of skin and don’t dig too deeply into the inner layers. When skin is torn in a jagged shape, this is known as a laceration. Straight, clean cuts are called incisions, and they take a long time to heal. You are likely riding your ATV in a natural area, and you could land on pointed branches or rocks, causing puncture wounds. Puncture wounds are insidious. From the outside, they appear to be just small holes, but the object that entered your flesh traveled down and back. Making contact with deeper layers of skin, it can spread germs that are then trapped when the outside wound closes. This can lead to infections, which may require serious medical attention.
When skin is completely peeled from the body, it is known as an avulsion. Avulsions require serious, urgent surgical attention. Left untreated for too long, the skin may die and be unable to reattach itself to the body. When that happens, skin grafts may be the only option for repair.
When a hospital fails to act in a timely manner, they can be held liable for malpractice. A good lawyer will research your case, and they may be able to uncover facts about a hospital’s poor practices.
Speak to an Attorney
If you’ve been hurt in an ATV accident, talk to a lawyer today. The injuries may not be your fault. It’s possible that your machine was faulty and caused your accident. A good lawyer can investigate the make and model of your ATV and determine if there have been complaints or recalls against that item. If so, you may be able to file a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If the ATV was manufactured incorrectly, designed poorly, or mislabeled, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. When many people were injured by an ATV in the same way, it is possible to combine the suits into a class action lawsuit. Discuss your options with an attorney, and they can help you decide how to move forward.
We are here to help if you have been injured in an ATV accident. You can set up a free consultation online or by calling (602) 483-6114.