Union Tribune reporter Eric Edmonds story on off-roading in Southern California’s deserts, highlights the heightened risk of serious injuries to children caused by the operation of all terrain vehicles. Although off-roading in California is a year-round activity, when temperatures in the deserts are more moderate, around October, large numbers of off-road enthusiasts driving motorcycles, trucks and ATVs invade popular areas such as Glamis in San Diego. People taking vacations or getting away for the weekend for fun converge on these areas creating virtual cities. Unfortunately, with the large numbers of people racing and partying, popular areas such as Glamis start to resemble war zones due to accidents caused by reckless drivers.
An ongoing research study being conducted at Rady Children’s Hospital in conjunction with Children’s Hospital of Orange County has found some interesting patterns concerning desert season and off-road vehicle-related injuries in children. The age of those injured ranges from 8 months to 14 years (the cutoff age for trauma being directed toward a children’s hospital). Forty percent of the injuries are fractures and 20 percent of the injuries involved the skull, brain, spine, or other internal injuries. Moreover, about half of the fractures require surgery.
The primary vehicles involved in causing serious injuries are dirt bikes, which account for approximately 45% ; ATVs, quads, and other vehicles make up the rest. Far too many children fail to use proper safety equipment and or lack the safety training in the first instance. The study suggests that the lack of adequate regulation and enforcement is of great concern.
Applicable California Law
As a result of the negligence or reckless conduct of others, many are seriously injured or wrongfully killed. Therefore they have personal injury claims, and or their heirs have potential wrongful death or survivor actions against the responsible parties (see my prior Blog post for California’s Wrongful Death Laws). Many off-road enthusiasts fail to understand that even while driving off-road that they must follow the same rules of the road regardless of whether they are off-road or not. Unfortunately, many of the wrongdoers fail to carry adequate insurance coverage, or any insurance at all (see my prior Blog post on California Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Law).
Basic safety training and proper use of safety equipment can greatly reduce the risk of serious brain injuries, spine injuries, internal injuries, or broken bones requiring surgery. Motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, or ATV accidents can cause life altering injuries or death. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in any accident before taking any action talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.