Compensation and Liability in ATV Accidents Involving Children in Florida
Adults and children across Florida are aware of the dangers associated with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and yet ATV accidents involving kids keep happening in Miami and all across the Sunshine State. ATVs are also known as off-highway vehicles (OHVs).
Under Florida law, many ATVs that we see on the roads of Florida are not permitted to carry any passengers, but that does not stop youngsters from riding these motorized vehicles with two, three, or even four or five passengers.
Fatal ATV Accident in Florida
The dangers of riding with more passengers than allowed were evident in a recent ATV crash in Dade City. As reported by CBS Miami, a seven-year-old boy died and five others were injured when their ATV overturned.
The fatal crash occurred when the Kawasaki Teryx4, carrying six people aboard, overturned in a grassy field in Dade City. The ATV was driven by the seven-year-old boy who later died at a hospital. The motorized vehicle carried five passengers: three men, who suffered minor injuries, a 2-year-old boy who sustained critical injuries, and a 4-year-old girl whose injuries were minor.
According to the specifications provided by the manufacturer of the Kawasaki Teryx4, the motorized vehicle is designed to carry only four occupants.
No one aboard the ATV was wearing a helmet despite the fact that Florida law requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear helmets, eye protection, as well as over-the-ankle boots when riding ATVs.
Florida’s Law Regarding ATVs and Children
Under Florida law, children below the age of 16 must:
- be supervised by an adult while operating the ATV;
- pass an approved safety and training course in the state of Florida or another jurisdiction;
- wear helmets while riding an ATV;
- wear eye protection; and
- wear over-the-ankle boots.
However, these requirements are applicable only when children operate ATVs on public property, which means children are not required to wear any protective equipment when riding all-terrain vehicles on private property.
Liability and Financial Compensation in ATV Accidents in Florida
Many ATV accidents involving children occur due to negligently provided access to the motorized vehicle. Thus, children or adults can obtain compensation for their injury from the party that wrongfully permitted a child to operate an ATV without the consent of their parents.
In fact, persons and entities are not allowed to provide a child with supervised access to an ATV in the absence of consent of the child’s parents. Similarly, allowing a child below the age of 16 to operate an adult-sized ATV may also constitute negligence and entitle the victim to pursue a personal injury claim.
In some cases, ATV accidents occur due to defective design or parts of the motorized vehicle. When an ATV crash is caused by faulty or defective parts or equipment or due to the manufacturer’s failure to provide clear instructions or warnings, the injured party may be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer and other parties in the chain of distribution.
Many product liability claims involving ATVs are based on the motorized vehicle’s defective design. You may be able to sue the ATV manufacturer for defective design when you can prove that the motorized vehicle was “inherently dangerous.”
It is advised to consult with skilled Miami personal injury attorneys to determine whether you can seek compensation for your ATV accident injury. Contact our lawyers at Pita Weber Del Prado to review your case and find out how to recover damages in your particular situation. Call at 305-670-2889 to get a free consultation.