Utility task vehicle (UTV) crashes may not make the headlines on a daily basis, but they occur regularly in Texas. Individuals use UTVs for work and play, and while these vehicles are relatively safe when operated properly, they pose a significant risk when drivers are careless or reckless. Unlike passenger vehicles that are fully enclosed, drivers and passengers in UTV vehicles are exposed to the elements, creating the risk of more serious injuries in a crash. Drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries.
If you were hurt in a UTV crash, the next best step after receiving medical care is to contact a Houston personal injury lawyer. Your injuries may cause you to stay in the hospital for a long period of time, go through multiple surgeries, require pain management, and need physical rehabilitation before you regain full feeling and function. If the accident left you physically impaired or disfigured, you may not be able to return to your job or a similar position, reducing your earning potential. You will need an experienced attorney to help you receive compensation for all of your expenses and lost earning capacity.
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we will help you fight for the maximum compensation possible after a UTV crash. Call us today at (281) 283-8500 to find out how we can help you.
What is a UTV?
UTVs are small four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles that fit two to six individuals. Many of them have roll-over protection, which is a cage around the driver and passenger seat areas, and most have a cargo box or area in the back of the vehicle. They are also regularly called a side-by-side (SxS), utility terrain vehicle, recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV), and recreational utility vehicle (RUV). While people may use these names interchangeable, they are not synonymous depending on the manufacturer and model. However, they do all fit into the same category of off-road vehicles with hauling capabilities.
While UTVs can look a lot like all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), they are quite different. Most ATVs only carry up to 200 pounds of cargo in addition to driver and passengers’ weights. UTVs, on the other hand, are made to carry equipment and supplies for workers. In addition to driver and passengers’ weights, UTVs can often handle upwards of 1,000 pounds, depending on the model.
UTVs are typically customizable depending on the work that needs to be done. While they can come in sporty models that focus on recreational use, there are many that are work-specific and not intended for fun.
Where You Find UTVs
Since these vehicles are specifically made for off-road conditions, they are more commonly found in areas without paved roads, like parks and nature reserves. Workers in various industries may use UTVs to travel to off-road worksites quickly and with equipment. UTVs are also used recreationally like ATVs, which means individuals use these vehicles on their private land, on public courses, and may take them on public roads and highways.
Common Causes of UTV Accidents
UTVs are sturdy, trustworthy vehicles, but they cannot make up for reckless or careless driving or extremely poor weather and terrain conditions. UTV accidents are more likely to occur when operators:
- Take sharp turns
- Fail to stop at stop signs
- Do not follow the rules of the road
- Drink and drive
- Are distracted
- Are inexperienced
- Drive during poor weather
- Drive through overly rough or dangerous terrain
- Fail to wear seatbelts or harnesses
Issues Resulting from UTV Crashes
Like in all vehicle accidents, those who have been hurt must determine who is responsible for their injuries. If you were injured during a UTV crash and are not sure who would be liable, speak with a personal injury lawyer right away. The operator who caused the accident may have an insurance policy that will cover your injuries. However, if they do not have a relevant auto insurance policy, you will need to file a personal injury claim against the driver.
UTVs may also be driven by workers who were doing their jobs at the time of the accident. In this situation, you may need to look to the worker’s employer and not their personal insurance coverage for recovery. An attorney can help you determine if the operator who caused the accident was an employee, and if so, the business you need to work with to recover compensation. If your accident was caused by a worker, there is more likely to be an insurance policy. However, you may still need to file a personal injury claim against the business.
Our Experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you suffered injuries in a UTV crash, do not hesitate to reach out for legal help. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys have the legal knowledge, years of experience, and resources needed to investigate your accident, determine responsibility, gather evidence, and if necessary handle your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Call us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation and learn how we can help you.