A rollover crash in an Ogden suburb last month injured seven children, ages nine to twelve, all of whom were aboard a UTV without adult supervision. Three of the victims were not seriously injured and were quickly released from the hospital, but three others were admitted in serious condition.
The seventh child was reported to be in critical condition at a Salt Lake City hospital after the crash and was expected to need surgery for head injuries.
UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles) have become increasingly popular in recent years. While some of these small vehicles superficially look like souped-up golf carts, they’re tough and powerful all-terrain vehicles capable of operating in rugged environments.
Many of them can haul more than half a ton. It’s believed that more than 400,000 are sold annually, and sales are split, with about half of all units going to commercial use and the other half to recreational use.
But there are concerns about their safety. In 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that occupants of these vehicles face a significant risk of injury from ejection and rollover crashes, and the agency has been working on improved safety standards.
The CPSC estimates that in 2014 more than 93,000 people were injured and 674 killed in UTV crashes. Children under the age of sixteen accounted for about 12 percent of all victims.
Full details of exactly what happened in the May 30 crash, if they’ve been determined, haven’t been made public. What’s known is that the crash happened on a Pleasant View street (at the intersection of 800 West and 3650 North) and that none of those in the vehicle were old enough to legally operate it (the minimum age is sixteen).
It’s been suggested by some that the parents might face negligence charges, perhaps because the UTV may not have been street-legal by Utah standards, or because none of the children were wearing required helmets or seat belts, or because the children should not have been allowed to use the vehicle.
So far, no charges have been filed.
This is far from the only case of a UTV crash leading to serious injury or death in Utah. A UTV rollover and fire killed two women near Moab last year. Only a week later, a ten-year-old died in another crash. And those in the UTV are not always the victims: Earlier this year, a UTV driven by a man who might have been drinking struck and seriously injured a teen on a dirt bike. It’s unfortunate but true that similar tragedies happen in Utah frequently.
When you’ve been hurt in a crash with a UTV, the same principles that apply to car and truck crashes will apply. The attorneys at Craig Swapp & Associates have years of experience with Utah automobile accident law, and they can help you prepare your case as you move to recover damages from the parties responsible for your injuries.
Call us today at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. You can also launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website for quick answers to many of your questions.