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Maine ATV Accident Lawyers

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All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, are three- or four-wheeled vehicles that provide easy access to off-road areas, which makes them useful for recreational, agricultural and other purposes throughout Maine. However, these can also be very dangerous vehicles. They are not toys.

Since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission began tracking data in 1982, there have been nearly 10,000 ATV-related deaths nationally. Nearly a quarter of those deaths were children under the age of 16. In Maine alone, there have been 118 ATV-related deaths.

To cut down on the number of ATV-related accidents and deaths, Maine has strict laws in place, including:

  • All operators under 18 must wear a helmet;
  • Registration is required for all ATVs, except those used solely for agricultural or ski resort purposes or which are operated on the owner’s land;
  • All operators under 16 must have a safety training certificate and be under direct supervision of an adult to operate on any land outside of their parent’s property;
  • No one under 10 may operate an ATV unless on a parent’s land;
  • ATVs may not be operated on public roads except to cross the road.

The state of Maine also offers a 32-page booklet on safe ATV operation. These measures have reduced ATV accidents but have not eliminated them, especially those accidents caused by the defective designs.

Some ATVs are prone to overturning, even at low speeds.  Others have been recalled for steering problems. About 8,500 2009-2010 Polaris All-Terrain Vehicles were recalled in December 2009 because "the front suspension ball joint stem can separate from the steering knuckle and cause the rider to lose steering control, posing a risk of injury or death to riders," the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.  Bombardier recalled 2,400 Model Year 2010 Can-Am® ATVs in December 2009 because "the dynamic power steering can fail, resulting in the sudden loss of steering control. This poses a risk of injury or death to riders," the CPSC reported.

Still other ATVs have been recalled for defects in their throttles. For example, in June 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of the Arctic Cat ATV (Model Year 2008 50cc and 90cc Youth Model ATV). The reason: "The speed controller on the recalled ATVs could fail to return to the idle position when the throttle lever is released, or the speed controller could fail to be at idle on start up. This could result in loss of vehicle control, which could result in serious injury or death to the rider," the CPSC stated.

The experienced attorneys at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott have helped clients who have been injured in ATV and other types of vehicle accidents throughout Maine, including Auburn, Rockland, Waterville, Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, Biddeford, Portland and South Portland.

If you or a family member has been injured in an ATV accident due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent conduct or because of a manufacturing defect, contact the personal injury attorneys at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott at (800) 639-7026 or contact us online to learn more about your legal options.