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Idaho ATV Attorney

ATVs (also known as UTVs or Quads) are a fun way of enjoying the outdoors here in Idaho. We use them on farms, ranches, and trails on BLM and forest lands. These vehicles are often used to move cattle, perform farm work, and view the beautiful scenery that we enjoy here in Idaho. However, ATVs and similar vehicles can be dangerous and often lead to terrible injuries. At Racine Olson, we’ve handled these types of cases for injured people. We’ve seen the types of terrible injuries that can occur when these vehicles are not properly maintained or are operated negligently. Racine Olson, with its offices in Boise, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls, has handled these cases since the 1940s. We know the intricacies of such cases and are able to see them through to the end.

Negligent Entrustment

Attorneys in this unique area of law need to be aware of all different theories of liability in order maximize their clients’ recovery. One such theory concerns negligent entrustment. This legal theory provides that an owner or person who controls the vehicle, and who is responsible for it, may be held liable for it, “may be held liable for damages resulting from use of the vehicle by another under the theory of negligent entrustment,” if the owner or person who controlled the ATV “knew or should have known that such use may create an unreasonable risk of harm to others.” Kinney v. Smith, 95 Idaho 328, 508 P.2d 1234 (1973). The most important element or factor that the court looks at to determine liability under this theory is whether the defendant had the right or the ability to control the vehicle’s use. Lopez v. Langer, 114 Idaho 873, 875, 761 P.2d 1225, 1227, (1988). The effect of this rule is to make the owner of the ATV, quad, or UTV responsible for the negligence of the person operating the vehicle. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule and ways that it must be applied. However, it can be an important and effective tool in maximizing recovery.

Negligence

The most common theory of liability in Idaho is negligence. This requires that a plaintiff, or injured party, show that the defendant, or the wrongdoer, owed the injured party “(1) a duty, recognized by law, requiring a defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the resulting injuries; and (4) actual loss or damage. Alegria v. Payonk, 101 Idaho 617, 619, 619 P.2d 135, 137, (1980). This can generally be simplified to the overarching principle that everyone in our society has a duty “to use reasonable care to avoid injury” to other people in situations where it is reasonably foreseeable that his or her actions could lead to injuring another. Kirby v. Sonville, 286 Or. 339, 594 P.2d 818, 821 (1979).

This theory of liability means that many actors may be responsible for an accident. It may be the owner of an ATV. It may be the person who built the ATV trail. It may be that the person who built the bridge or roadway where the accident occurred is responsible. One needs to have experienced lawyers like those at Racine Olson in Idaho on their side to explore all of the options.

Maintenance

One can never overestimate the importance of maintaining these vehicles in proper working order. In one case this firm handled, an ATV was improperly maintained, and the front brake was not working. The machine was then loaned by a relative to take hunting. The relative borrowing the machine attempted to stop the ATV, was unable to, and suffered severe injuries including facial trauma. This led to many surgeries and even emotional struggles for the injured party. It is easy to see just how this type of incident could happen and how easily it could have been avoided.

Injuries

When one considers the types of injuries that can occur from these types of motor vehicles, concerns are real. For instance, in the case discussed above, the injured person suffered severe facial injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can also occur. These often lead to the complete disappearance of the loved one that was present before the terrible injury occurred. Personality changes happen which include violent temper outbreaks from an otherwise patient and kind person. Such injuries can cause people to shut themselves away from the people and activities they once loved. Others have difficulty concentrating and seem to be constantly agitated.

Other injuries include neck and back trauma. These often include broken vertebra, ruptured disks, bulging disks, and spinal cord trauma. Symptoms of these types of injuries include pain, numbness, tingling in the arms or legs, or even paralysis. It goes without saying that if you or your loved one is suffering from these symptoms, medical attention should immediately be sought.

Expert Witnesses

ATV accidents and ATVs in general can be complicated. It’s not enough to have a lawyer who has ridden an ATV. You need to have a firm like Racine Olson that can find the appropriate experts to support the case. Experts can make or break a case, and this includes people like accident reconstruction experts, human factors engineers, and physicians. We know that. We’ve been here in Idaho for a long time and we have handled cases from Boise, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Pocatello and all places in between.

We know how to help. We know the stress you’re under. We’ll be happy to take the burden of the legal stuff off your shoulders. We’ll return your phone calls and talk whenever you need to. In short, we’ll help solve the problem. Give us a call. Problem solved.

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