Three 15-year-old girls were injured when they were ejected from the ATV they were operating. According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the girls lost control of the four-wheeler ATV as they rounded a curve on the roadway and overturned. While the girls were rushed to Atlanta-area hospitals, police charges are pending, as none of the girls were licensed, they were not supposed to be on the roadway and no one was wearing a helmet.
While the girl’s injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, this serves as yet another reminder of the need for extreme caution when operating ATV’s and the need to wear helmets to avoid serious injury. Furthermore, it would be considered negligent for someone who owns and operates an ATV to allow children, other than their own, to operate an AVT without proper safety gear and supervision.
The elements of proving negligence are:
1. defendant has a duty to the plaintiff;
2. defendant breached that duty;
3. the breach proximately caused the injury; and
4. plaintiff’s damages.
In the present case, a prima facie case of negligence could be made if a homeowner allows young friends of his children to ride the ATV without the proper safety gear and without the proper supervision. This is so because the homeowner has a duty to the children to not subject them to an unsafe condition. This duty is breached by allowing them to ride the ATV without proper safety gear and supervision and the damages are the resulting injuries. Tragically, young children have been allowed to ride these ATV’s unsupervised and this has resulted in many serious and debilitating injuries–and even death.
Many such ATV related injuries were for sprains and cuts, but more severe injuries include spine and neck injuries, skull fractures and internal damage to organs. Often, injuries take months or even years of recovery and rehabilitation. Some children never fully recover. Dr. Justin Ramsey, a pediatric physiatrist at The Children’s Center in Bethany, said young children—especially those 12 and younger—are particularly at risk when driving ATVs because their decision-making and motor skills are still developing. “The most significant injuries are the traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries,” he said. “They have a life-changing impact for the victim and their family when it comes to rehabilitation.”
Of the injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2011, the largest portion was arm injuries at 29 percent followed by head or neck injuries making up 28 percent of all injuries, according to the CPSC report.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.