ATV Handlebar Defect Causes Injuries to Riders

Synopsis

Plaintiff John Doe borrowed a relative's brand new ATV for a short ride in his neighborhood. His girlfriend, plaintiff Jane Doe, accompanied him as a passenger. As plaintiffs were riding back to their home, the ATV's left handlebar grip suddenly came off the handlebar. As a result, John Doe lost his grip on the left handlebar of the ATV causing the ATV to turn unexpectedly to the right. In the process, the thumb lever throttle on the right handlebar of the ATV became depressed causing an unexpected acceleration and loss of control of the ATV which caused the ATV to crash into a row of mailboxes and a trailer before ejecting plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs sued the manufacturer and distributor of the ATV under theories of products liability and negligence related to the failure of the handlebar grip. Plaintiffs claimed that the handlebar grip failed to adhere to the handlebar due to a lack of adhesive, use of incorrect adhesive, or use of insufficient adhesive. Defendants argued that plaintiffs misused the ATV and ignored warnings against operating the ATV with a passenger, operating at excessive speeds, and operating on paved surfaces.

Injuries/Damages

Jane Doe suffered burns on the left side of her body as well as a fractured shoulder and elbow, rib fractures, and a dislocated right foot.

John Doe suffered serious abdominal injuries which impacted his spleen and intestines. John Doe underwent numerous procedures, including removal of his spleen and removal of portions of his intestines and colon. John Doe also suffered from a post-traumatic chronic pain syndrome, abdominal pain, lumbar spine pain, and left shoulder pain. Due to John Doe's injuries and functional limitations, a vocational consultant opined that in a best case scenario he would be able to work part-time in a sedentary job.

John Doe's damages included past medical expenses of $220,000, a life care plan, loss of household services, and lost earnings capacity. Jane Doe's damages included past medical expenses of $11,000 and lost earnings. Plaintiffs also sought non-economic damages.

Result

Plaintiffs settled with defendants before trial for a total of $750,000.