Design defects and the inherent dangers of all-terrain vehicles have once again come into national focus after a tragic incident involving the 8-year-old daughter of songwriter and entertainer Jamie Lynn Spears.
According to investigators, Maddie Aldridge was behind the wheel of a Polaris all-terrain vehicle while her parents watched about 100 yards away. The child reportedly made a sharp turn to avoid a drainage ditch, which caused the ATV to overcorrect and enter a pond on the family’s property in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.
“The ATV and child were instantly submerged in the water right before [her parents’] eyes,” authorities wrote in an initial investigation report. “Within seconds the child’s mother, stepfather and other family members reached the pond, dove in and attempted to rescue the child to no avail. The child was trapped and secured by the seatbelt and the ATV’s safety netting.”
Thankfully, recent reports indicate that the child is now conscious and talking, and her condition is improving. While the child was still in the hospital, Polaris issued a statement wishing her a speedy recovery.
“Self-serving media statements will only get ATV manufacturers so far,” says attorney Wes Ball, of Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball, a law firm that represents individuals who have been injured in ATV accidents. “The truth is that it’s too easy for these manufacturers to ignore their products’ inherent dangers. Hundreds of people die and thousands more are injured by the flawed products.”
Just-released statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission paint a grim picture about ATV dangers:
- More than 14,100 people have died as a result of ATV crashes and rollovers since the CPSC began keeping records in 1982. Of those deaths, more than 3,100 were children under age 16.
- Meanwhile, more than 97,000 people required emergency room treatment in 2015 as a result of ATV crashes and rollovers. An estimated 28 percent of those injuries involved children under age 16.
- Texas leads the nation in ATV-related fatalities, with 780 reported since 1982.
ATV design and safety issues are so grave that Inez Tenenbaum, former chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has called them one the “deadliest” products that the commission oversees.
Clearly, manufacturers like Polaris are not swayed by government regulators or the rising number of deaths and injuries caused by their products. When manufacturers and retailers refuse to take responsibility, Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball trial lawyers are prepared to represent individuals injured by dangerous products. Our aggressive approach to product liability litigation ensures that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers are accountable when their products cause serious and fatal injuries.