The popularity of utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) is soaring in the Midwest and it’s easy to understand why. The vehicles, which are like a mix between an all terrain vehicle (ATV) and a pickup truck are so much fun to drive. When people think of ATVs, they often think of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin riding one into the ring and raising hell. UTVs offer the same type of fun, but also a great deal of utility since they’re often used as essential vehicles. Unfortunately, the burgeoning popularity of UTVs has also led to an increase in UTV accidents.
As a personal injury lawyer and UTV owner, I’d like to use this blog to help you learn about UTVs and understand what to do in the event of a UTV accident.
Why Are UTVs Becoming So Popular?
According to Allied Market Research, UTV sales have increased by roughly 7% each year since 2017 and the UTV market is projected to be a $12 billion industry by 2027. One reason for their popularity is that they’re incredibly versatile vehicles. UTVs are street legal in many small towns and mid-sized cities, so you can enjoy them on off-road trails and city streets. People enjoy the open-air ride of UTVs, as well as their practical aspects that can be used for farm work or to haul products.
Whether they’re being used to tackle off-road trails with their friends or to get some work done around the farm, it’s no wonder that UTV sales are skyrocketing, especially in rural areas. They’re affordable vehicles that offer tremendous versatility.
Unfortunately, with UTV sales on the rise, more towns allowing them to be used on the streets, and more trails being built, UTV accidents are more common than ever. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported more than 500,000 off-road vehicle accidents between 2015 and 2019, and that number is only going up.
What Are UTV Accidents So Common?
UTVs have two or four seats arranged just like an automobile, and many have a bed and tailgate like a truck. Most are open air and are specifically built to be used off road. However, many models also have design compromises that allow them to be street legal.
As you’d expect, designing a vehicle for off-road and street safety means compromises were made for each type of driving. UTVs are made to be light, off-road vehicles. They are not made to survive an impact like a car is. They have no crumple zones, so UTV accident injuries can be swift, severe, and even deadly.
Additionally, trails and off-road courses for UTVs can have unexpected bumps, which can lead to vehicle rolling. The design, speed, and style of UTVs can breed overconfidence.
I was the front passenger in a four-seat UTV that flipped onto its side when the driver, admittedly, was doing some things we all knew he shouldn’t be. We all escaped injury outside of a few cuts and bruises, but we were also going extremely slow. Considering that some UTVs can push 100 mph, not everyone will be so lucky.
Then there’s seat belt use. The UTV that I own has a five-point harness. Many have a normal seatbelt like we see in a vehicle, but far too many people I know don’t use one at all. Seat belt safety is important in any type of passenger vehicle, but especially with UTVs, with their propensity to roll or flip. Wear. Your. Seat. Belt. It really is that simple.
Even though UTVs are not specifically made for the road, following the rules of the road, wearing seat belts, maintaining reasonable speeds, and sticking to safe routes will help keep drivers and passengers alike safe. Make the simple additions of safety equipment like helmets, goggles, and gloves, and you’ll have all you can to keep safe.
What If I Get Into a UTV Accident?
In many ways, you should treat a UTV accident the same way you would treat a car accident. The first thing you should do is to check your health. If you need medical assistance, call 911 immediately. If you’re in a position where it’s safe to assist any passengers in your vehicle then check on their health as well. Next, collect license and insurance information from other drivers involved in the accident. Even if you feel reasonably well after an accident, it’s important to see a doctor after a crash.
Thankfully, most insurance companies recognize that UTVs are being used as essential vehicles by many owners. ATV insurance is applicable to UTVs, and in most states offers MedPay and liability benefits. However, before you contact your insurance company, I highly recommend getting in touch with an UTV accident lawyer first.
Contact a UTV Accident Lawyer
An experienced UTV accident attorney can help you get compensation for medical expenses, physical therapy, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. While you may feel a sense of loyalty to your insurance company after paying them for months or years, you can be sure that their priority is profit and not providing you with fair compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Patterson Legal Group have the knowledge and experience that help get you the money that you deserve for your injuries.
As an avid UTV driver myself, I know that the first call to make after a UTV accident is to Patterson Legal Group and that’s the bottom line cuz Stone Cold Said so. You can reach our staff by phone 24/7 at 316-550-0000 and online through LiveChat or secure contact form. Contact us today for an unmatched blend of superior customer service and winning case results.
The information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as legal advice for an individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship nor does viewing this material constitute an attorney-client relationship.