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West Virginia leading the country in ATV-related deaths

Riders should follow safety recommendations to prevent ATV accidents and be aware that legal help is available if an accident occurs.

In West Virginia, the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) death rate is nearly eight times the national average. Riding ATVs is also fast becoming one of the most popular activities in the region. Because of this, it is important that all riders exercise safety precautions such as always wearing helmets while riding and never driving an ATV while impaired. It is also recommended that riders not ride once it is dark and maintain a safe distance from other riders to preserve visibility. Riders should also always abide by the age restrictions on individual ATVs and passenger restrictions. Safety courses are also offered by some retailers for riders to take advantage of.

In recent years ATV-related emergency room visits have totaled around 150,000 annually. ATV-related deaths have neared 1,000 annually in recent years. The most common type of ATV accident is a rollover accident. In the case of a rollover ATV accident, a passenger is likely to be thrown from the ATV and can be injured. Passenger recommendations vary by ATV and some ATVs are not designed to carry passengers at all. Both drivers and passengers can face serious injuries in an ATV crash.

Traumatic brain injuries are a concern in any rollover accident and studies have found that younger riders experience more severe injuries and head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can require expensive and on-going treatment and care. Facing those circumstances, an ATV-accident victim may, depending on the circumstances of the accident that lead to the injuries, be able to pursue the liability of a negligence driver or, in some cases, of a manufacturer or retailer. Injured victims may be able to recover compensation for expenses related to medical care and rehabilitation as well as compensation for lost wages associated with the accident.

ATV-related accidents can lead to serious injuries, including head injuries. It is important that the public be educated as to ATV safety, as well as the legal rights of riders if an accident takes place.

Source:, "WORKING FOR YOU: Avoiding ATV accidents," Alanna Autler, May 30, 2013

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