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ATVs can be fun but negligence can cause serious injuries

It is summertime, school is out, and children must be kept busy. This is the time for enjoying the outdoors, and boating, swimming, fishing and camping are activities that are prevalent. In addition, some people enjoy riding all-terrain vehicles, especially in the rural areas of Missouri. Unfortunately, negligence in the operation of ATVs has led to many serious injuries and even fatalities in the past.

The increase in popularity of these vehicles has resulted in increased numbers of fatalities. While ATVs are mostly used in off-road conditions, it is legal to ride them on the roadways. Although Missouri law clearly states that children under the age of 16 may only operate ATVs in the presence -- and under the supervision -- of an authorized parent or guardian, these vehicles are often treated as toys on private property.

Negligent operation of an ATV makes it an extremely dangerous vehicle. Statistics show that 17 people lost their lives in ATV accidents in Missouri in 2014, and 139 individuals suffered injuries. Records indicate that many of the victims -- both dead and injured -- were younger than 18 years of age. Carelessness and negligence were cited as main factors in these crashes.

In the event that any serious injuries were suffered in an ATV accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, financial relief may be pursued. Injured victims -- or the parents of injured children -- may file personal injury claims in a Missouri civil court. Once the plaintiff has established negligence to the court's satisfaction, a monetary judgment may follow. At that time, all documented claims for damages and losses will be adjudicated.

Source: leaderjournal.com, "Trooper Talk: All-terrain vehicle safety", June 9, 2016

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