Proving Negligence After an ATV Accident
In late August 2019, a 17-year-old boy died after injuries he sustained in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crash in Concord, New Hampshire. On-scene investigators reported that the accident occurred when the boy lost control of his ATV and struck a tree at a fast speed. Sadly, he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision as required by New Hampshire law for those under the age of 18.
ATV accidents are more common than many people realize. What is more, ATV accidents can quickly become deadly, especially when drivers lack experience and use excessive speed. If you have suffered a New Hampshire ATV accident, you might be entitled to damages for your injuries. Injured parties can hold another person liable if that person’s negligent or reckless behavior caused their injuries. To succeed in a New Hampshire ATV accident personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove certain required elements.
Riding ATVs can be Dangerous And Deadly
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently reported that ATV accidents cause almost 100,000 visits to the emergency department every year in the United States. ATV-related accidents cause over 500 deaths every year in the United States. While New Hampshire law requires riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet and eye protection, people still fail to wear protective gear, increasing the likelihood that they will suffer an injury.
How Does a Plaintiff Prove Negligence After an ATV Accident?
First, the plaintiff must determine who is at fault for the ATV accident. The following people and institutions could be at-fault in an ATV accident:
- Other ATV riders
- The manufacturer of the ATV or any of the parts
- The mechanic who worked on the ATV
- The property owner responsible for maintaining the trail or area where the accident took place
The plaintiff must prove that another person’s negligent or reckless behavior caused the ATV accident that resulted in his or her injuries. Plaintiffs can use a variety of evidence to prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of care, such as:
- Photographs of the accident site
- Chemical test results that prove the defendant used drugs or alcohol
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony from accident reconstruction
- GoPro footage of the incident filmed by the plaintiff, defendant, or another ATV rider
Photographs of the accident site can be particularly useful for proving negligence. A photograph could demonstrate, for example, that the property owner or failed to maintain a trail or park. Certain private landowners and municipalities have to fix known dangerous conditions on their property. Landowners who fail to fix known hazardous conditions could be held liable for ATV accidents caused by hazardous conditions.