Mechanical Failure Caused ATV AccidentProduct Liability
An ATV accident occurred in north Lakeland resulting in the death of a 5-year-old child. Joshua Heard was operating an all-terrain-vehicle near 3705 West Socrum Loop Road when the passenger side tie rod end broke. The accident that followed caused the vehicle to roll over several times. Immediately prior to the accident, the vehicle had traveled over a grass mound. Mr. Heard suffered several broken ribs, while his son Eli Heard, died. Eli was riding directly in front of Mr. Heard as a passenger and was wearing a soft helmet at the time of the accident.
Product Components Should Be Designed And Manufactured To Withstand More Force Than Normally Experienced
Despite the fact that every ATV manufacturer places warnings on their vehicles, including age and size restrictions, a product liability claim can exist even when there is a “foreseeable misuse” of the product and either a manufacturing or design defect causes an injury. Therefore, even though it was probably not safe for a child to ride without a dedicated seat, the injury or death would not have occurred but for the mechanical failure that should not have occurred. In a product liability claim regarding this incident, an argument can be made that the ATV suspension and steering components should have been adequately designed and manufactured to withstand the forces involved on use on dirt roads and over grass mounds.