As a St. Louis ATV accident lawyer, I was sorry to see that a seven-year-old boy died this past weekend in a serious ATV accident. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Aug. 24 that Austin Henry of Troy, Ill. was riding his ATV with neighborhood kids and under his father’s supervision Aug. 22. According to the newspaper, he apparently lost control, hit a curb and was thrown from the vehicle. Despite the fact that he was wearing a full-face helmet, the little boy sustained serious head and chest trauma and died about 40 minutes later at a southern Illinois hospital.
Austin’s father, Paul Henry, told the Post-Dispatch that Austin was a good kid who didn’t break rules often. That was why the elder Henry was concerned when he saw Austin zoom past the driveway — the border of the area where he was allowed to use the ATV — and head into the street. Paul Henry chased the ATV but couldn’t catch up in time to stop Austin from turning a corner and hitting the curb. Investigators believe the throttle of the ATV may have been stuck, the paper said, which would explain why he lost control of the vehicle.
Unfortunately, I know from my experience as a southern Illinois ATV accident attorney that ATV safety problems are far from uncommon. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the only federal agency regulating ATVs, levied a $950,000 fine against an ATV manufacturer in 2005 for selling ATVs with defective throttles and failing to report the problem. Other ATVs have come under fire for defective designs that make rollover accidents very likely, especially on the uneven ground where they tend to be used. As a result, the CPSC reported that ATV accidents increased by a staggering 180% between 1995 and 2004. A quarter of all those killed in ATV accidents, and a third of those suffering serious injuries, were minors under 16.
Under Illinois and Missouri law, manufacturers have a legal obligation to make sure their products are safe when they offer them for sale. When they don’t meet that obligation, innocent people like Austin Henry can be killed or seriously hurt through no fault of their own. Fortunately, state law allows victims of injuries from defective products to hold the manufacturers legally liable for the injuries their products cause. At the Lowe Law Firm, our Missouri ATV accident lawyers help victims and their families seek justice. With a defective product lawsuit, they can confront manufacturers with the results of their carelessness, notify the public of the safety threat and recover the costs of the accident, including compensation for a personal loss as well as money to pay accident-related hospital bills, funeral costs and more.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured riding an ATV you believe was defective, the Lowe Law Firm can tell you more about your legal rights. To set up a completely free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 today.