Recreational Product Defects
Recreational products can provide unparalleled enjoyment for users and may have health benefits as well, particularly in the case of bicycles or exercise equipment. Unfortunately, if these products are defective they may cause serious injuries to unsuspecting consumers.
As experienced trial attorneys, we at Arnold & Itkin LLP understand just what it takes to effectively handle lawsuits against manufacturers for defective products. If a defective recreational product has caused injury or the loss of a loved one, we may be able to assist you in holding the manufacturer, retailer, distributor or other responsible party accountable. We welcome you to contact a product liability lawyer at our firm for a free review of your case.
Defective All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
With their smaller size and alleged ease of operation, ATVs have become hugely popular among children, teenagers, and young adults. These motorized vehicles are perfect for navigating rough land and are widely used for farm and ranch work as well as for recreational purposes. The number of injuries linked to these vehicles, however, is extraordinary. In 2002 alone, 44 children were killed in ATV accidents. These children were all below the age of 14. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 form the majority of ATV accident victims. In the same year, more than 30,000 people were rushed to emergency rooms around the country for treatment of ATV accident related injuries.
Most ATV accidents involve the rolling over of the vehicle. When an ATV with a high center of gravity turns at even moderate speeds, the vehicle could topple over. Most riders faced with the potential rollover of an ATV, instinctively stick a leg out to brace themselves and prevent the vehicle from toppling over. This is a futile action that can cause serious injuries; the weight of the vehicle will cause it to topple over regardless, possibly trapping the rider's leg.
Because an ATV packs so much force into its small frame, most of the injuries resulting from an ATV accident involve
- Crushing of body parts
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
Amputation is frequently needed to prevent the risk of a crushed limb becoming gangrenous, and paralysis can occur when there is injury to the spine. Most injuries are restricted to the head and neck region.
Research suggests that current ATV safety standards are simply not enough to prevent rollovers and crashes. ATV manufacturers have, for many years now, gotten away with ignoring regulations for age appropriate use of a vehicle. The only changes that have been made to the design of these vehicles are warning labels that come in the form of easy-to-miss fine print advertisements, hard-to-read warning stickers, and user's manual warnings. Needless to say, this has done little to lower the rate of ATV accidents.
Yamaha Rhino Rollovers: ATV Rollover Accidents
When it was first introduced in 2003, the Yamaha Rhino's off-road capabilities excited consumers; however, soon, reports of rollovers and injuries began to pile up. The Yamaha Rhino was designed to compete with other ATVs being produced at the time, including the Kawasaki Mule. It features powerful acceleration and a small turning radius.
Unfortunately, the Rhino's design comes with a higher center of gravity and shorter wheel base than other ATVs, which makes the vehicle prone to rollovers, especially while turning. Yamaha initially did little to enhance the safety features of its ATV; instead the company suggested sloped, rough terrain was to blame. However, these vehicles are marketed as "all-terrain vehicles" and as such the company has a responsibility to ensure that its product can safely operate on any type of terrain. As the result of repeated accidents, Yamaha began offering free repairs.
Defective Exercise Equipment
Many people utilize exercise equipment as a good supplement to their workouts. Things like elliptical machines, treadmills, and exercise balls can be a great way to enhance any exercise routine. Unfortunately, these products can be defective and cause serious injury in some cases. While some products are simply considered dangerous, some actually get issued a recall from the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Exercise machines can often be complicated and made of complex mechanical parts in order to function. For this reason, manufacturers must include operating instructions as well as warnings on the packaging, or else they will be guilty of failure to warn.
Another piece of exercise equipment that has posed a fall hazard in some cases is the exercise strap. These straps are usually made out of fabric or a type of elastic material and are used for doing pull ups and sit ups. In some cases, these straps can break or become unfastened which poses a fall hazard to those using them. If you were injured while using exercise equipment of some kind then you very well could be entitled to a product liability claim.
Snowmobiles are a type of motorized sled used to travel on snow as recreational vehicles and for search and rescue practices. Many riders also use these vehicles for racing and tricks.Those who ride them are not protected by a cab, but sit in the open like you would on a motorcycle. Many times there is just one rider, but snowmobiles can typically fit two. Snowmobiles can go where not many other vehicles or people on foot can go.
Some snowmobiles have been recalled due to various defects. Since these are in fact vehicles made up of complicated mechanical parts, these parts can fail. Sometimes the part that fails is the direct fault of the product manufacturer. Certain Ski-Doo snowmobiles were recalled because the axle was assembled wrong. Some Arctic Cat vehicles had suspension arms that could crack, causing the vehicles to lose control.
Trampoline Defects: Recent Recalls
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently issued a recall of a Trampoline exclusively sold at Walmart stores. 92,000 of the Sportspower BouncePro 14' trampolines are being taken off of the shelves because they pose a fall hazard to consumers. This product was manufactured in China and sold at Walmart stores around the country. The product has been in stores since 2009. This particular trampoline is surrounded by a mesh net. Consumers were reporting that this net would break, which allowed children to fall through and become injured.
Sportspower, the maker of the product, received 17 reports of the net breaking and 11 reported injuries. Those injuries included things like broken bones, back injuries, neck injuries and contusions. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is not recalling all of the units, but only those with UPC codes 68706404210 and 68706404244. These numbers are printed clearly on the box. Consumers who have purchased these trampolines should cease use immediately and call Sportspower about their defective product to receive replacement netting.
Contact an Attorney Regarding a Defective Recreational Product
It can be difficult to understand what options you have after an accident or injury caused by a defective recreational product. That is where our knowledgeable lawyers come in. We can inform you of your legal rights, can answer your questions and can address any concerns you have—all to assist you in making the right choices about your case.
Contact a product liability attorney to find out more about recreational product defects.