All-terrain vehicles, also called ATVs or four-wheelers, can be an entertaining source of recreation. Unfortunately, since they leave drivers and passengers with very little protection, accidents involving them can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Every year, over 100,000 people are injured in four-wheeler crashes across the country, and, tragically, several hundred are killed. If you or someone close to you has been the victim of an accident in South Carolina, our team of experienced ATV accident lawyers at Lofton & Lofton can advise you as to whether you have a claim for compensation.File a Negligence Lawsuit to Seek Damages
Four-wheeler accidents can arise from a variety of circumstances, but often a passenger is hurt because of the negligence or reckless conduct of the driver. In this type of case, the injured person must show that the defendant had a duty of care, that the duty was breached, that the breach of duty caused an accident, and that the victim suffered damages as a result.
In car accident cases, the duty of due care consists in part of following all traffic rules. For example, a breach could happen when someone runs a red light or fails to yield at an intersection. Since ATVs are generally operated off-road, however, victims in these cases must prove what a reasonable driver of this type of vehicle would have done under similar circumstances. Some ways to prove negligence against a four-wheeler operator include showing that he or she was:
- Operating the vehicle at an excessive speed;
- Inexperienced or lacking safety training;
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or
- Carrying too many passengers.
It also must be shown that the accident would not have happened if the ATV driver had not acted carelessly. If the victim proves his or her negligence claim, the next step is determining the amount of damages. Some areas in which compensation may be available include medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of future treatment, pain and suffering, and scarring or disfigurement. A victim may also seek punitive damages in cases when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, but these are not commonly available.
In situations when a victim dies from injuries sustained in an accident, his or her executor or administrator may file a wrongful death action for the benefit of the deceased person’s spouse, children, or other heirs. If any compensation is recovered, it is divided according to the laws of intestate succession that apply when someone dies without a will. The statute of limitations in wrongful death lawsuits, as well as negligence cases and product liability claims, is three years. Failure to file within that time usually bars any recovery.Experienced Accident Lawyers Helping Injured People Throughout South Carolina
The vehicle accident attorneys at Lofton & Lofton are available to discuss your South Carolina claim at your convenience. Together, we can work through the details of how the accident happened, what caused it, which parties can be held liable, and the amount of compensation that would be reasonable under the circumstances. You can reach us at (843) 722-6319 or online to set up a free, no-obligation appointment.