Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2013
A rollover accident involving a 2012 Arctic Cat 450 ATV has caused serious injuries to two Chelsea children, Christian Sloan, 8, and Jaylan Sloan, 7. Reports from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol indicate that Christian was driving on a country road north of Adair when the ATV failed to negotiate a curve and overturned. The report indicates that a rock was involved in the cause of the accident, but doesn’t provide additional details.
AirEvac transported Christian to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with injuries to his head, arm and leg. He is listed in stable condition. Jaylan, the passenger on the ATV, was transported to Saint Francis in critical condition. Her injuries included trauma to her arm, head, leg and trunk.
ATV accidents can have numerous causes from operator-error, to design-flaws. In 2012, a Florida jury imposed a $8.4 million dollar verdict against Arctic Cat related to design flaws in the 2008 Thundercat 1000. In that case the ATV continued to operate in the drive mode despite a rollover accident. The case focused on a defective tilt sensor that allowed the vehicle to continue operating after tilting past 65 degrees. According to court records in that case, Arctic Cat knew about the defective sensor more than 5 months before manufacturing the ATV, but continued with production without correcting the sensor, which cost approximately $4.41 per vehicle to fix.
In the case of Christian and Jaylen, it is unclear whether the 2012 Arctic Cat included any safety mechanism that would prevent minors or those who are too small from operating the ATV. It is well-known that young riders do not have the physical dexterity to control adult-sized ATVs. According to a study published in Neurosurg Focus, “Individuals with light weights and small wingspans, such as those in the pediatric population, are under considerable risk of injury when operating an ATV due to lateral, longitudinal, and vertical operational instability.”
Research engineers with the U.S. Consumer Safety Protection Commission have further concluded that:
“a child who is too light or too heavy for the vehicle may affect the center of gravity and lead to instability.” But, this testing shows that weight is not the only determinant . . . As demonstrated by our testing, ATV rider stability and safety are also based on rider wingspan and weight, which may not be adequately addressed in the new top speed–related age requirements. Based on our findings, we recommend that ATVs designed for children should have both size and weight limitations for riders included as a stratification measure.”
The industry knowledge that minors are at risk when operating an adult-sized ATV should be well-known to Arctic Cat, and its manuals and dealer representations should adequately inform the end-user or purchaser of those risks.
If you have questions about ATV rollover accidents, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bryan & Terrill Law at (918) 935-2777.