A jump seat offers a great way to add passengers to UTVs. The jump seat can offer adjustable seating that doubles the vehicle's passenger capacity.
However, following a UTV accident, you may end up with serious injuries that leave you wondering whether you may have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Can You File an Injury Claim After a UTV Accident if You Rode in the Jump Seat?
You may have the right to file an injury claim any time someone else’s negligence caused an UTV accident that resulted in injuries.
Your lawyer will examine several criteria to determine whether you have a claim:
- Did the liable party bear a duty of care to you at the time of the accident? In a UTV accident, the seat manufacturer, vehicle driver, and UTV manufacturer all bear you a duty of care.
- How did the liable party violate that duty of care to you? For example, poor manufacturing on the jump seat could cause it to separate from the UTV, leading to a devastating accident.
- How did the violation lead to your accident? To establish that you have the right to file an injury claim against a specific party, you will need to show that you had an accident because of that act of negligence.
- What injuries did you suffer in the accident? As the passenger on a jump seat, you may have substantial injuries from your UTV accident, which could entitle you to significant compensation.
You can file an injury claim when you suffered injuries in the jump seat of a UTV due to someone else’s negligence. A lawyer can help guide you through the process and give you a better idea of what to expect as you file your claim.
Determining Liability After a UTV Accident
To file an injury claim after a UTV accident, you must establish who caused that accident. The party that bears liability for the accident committed an act of negligence that injured you.
Talk to a lawyer about your UTV accident and its contributing factors. Your lawyer may ask several questions to help determine who likely bears liability for your accident.
Did a mechanical failure lead to the UTV accident?
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A mechanical failure on a UTV, especially at a dangerous moment, could prove catastrophic. Engine failure, tire blowouts, or brake failures can all prove catastrophic.
A mechanical failure in the UTV could leave the manufacturer liable for the incident and any damages that occurred. If the mechanical failure occurred in a specific component of the UTV, especially one that the owner had replaced recently, the manufacturer of that component, or the mechanic who took care of the installation, could bear liability for the incident.
Did your UTV include any recommendations against adding a jump seat or other modifications?
Your lawyer may look carefully at any policies or recommendations that came with the UTV to ensure that the owner had the right to add the jump seat and that it did not violate the instructions provided to UTV owners.
In some cases, the UTV might not have the necessary supports or equipment to add additional passengers, or those additional passengers might exceed the weight limit the UTV can reasonably carry.
If the owner of the UTV violated the policy in the owners' manual or instructions, the owner could bear liability for the incident.
Was the jump seat installed correctly?
Your lawyer may want to look closely at who installed the jump seat on the UTV. In some cases, your lawyer may also want to bring an expert witness to look over the installation and ensure that the individual who installed it did so correctly.
Suppose the UTV owner had the jump seat professionally installed. In that case, the mechanic who installed the jump seat might bear liability for an incorrect installation or problems caused by the installation: using the wrong bolts, failing to tighten them properly, or not bolting the jump seat down in every necessary location, for example.
Furthermore, your lawyer may want to examine whether the jump seat had the necessary equipment to fit on the specific UTV. In some cases, owners may try to make a solution work even though the jump seat does not fit the UTV. Unfortunately, this strategy can substantially increase the risk of a damaging accident.
Did the jump seat separate from the UTV or cause additional damage during the accident?
A safe jump seat should offer as safe an experience as possible to everyone who rides in it. In some cases, however, the jump seat may not meet necessary safety standards. As a result, the manufacturer of the jump seat may bear liability for the accident.
Did the driver’s negligence cause the UTV accident?
Often, UTV accidents will result from driver negligence. The driver may, for example, attempt to take the vehicle into an area it cannot safely access, especially with passengers in the jump seat, or try to engage in dangerous maneuvers. In a multi-vehicle accident, even an off-road multi-vehicle accident, driver distraction can increase the hazards faced by both parties, as can trying to attempt dangerous tricks.
In cases where the driver’s negligence caused a UTV accident, you may need to pursue compensation through the driver’s off-road vehicle insurance policy.
What Should You Do After a UTV Accident While Riding in the Jump Seat?
After a UTV accident, getting medical attention should always top your priority list. In the resulting scramble, you may struggle to figure out what to do next and how to best protect your right to compensation.
Contact a lawyer.
Contact a lawyer whenever you suffer injuries in a UTV accident due to any negligent party. A solid understanding of the compensation you should reasonably expect for your injuries can make it easier to determine how to navigate your next steps, including protecting that right to compensation.
Follow the instructions laid out by your medical care provider.
Listen carefully to any instructions given by your medical care provider as you recover from your UTV accident injuries. Your medical care provider will try to offer you the best odds of making a full recovery from your accident. If you fail to follow those instructions, it can make it very difficult for you to make that full recovery.
Failure to follow those instructions could leave you, not the insurance company or other liable party, responsible for further damages. For example, if you walk on a broken leg before your doctor gives the go-ahead, it could slow your healing and even leave you, in some cases, with a permanent limp or other limitations.
Track your ongoing medical costs.
Make sure you keep up with all of the medical bills associated with your UTV accident, including your co-pays and deductibles. You may want to start a file with all those bills or keep careful notes of exactly what you have paid. You may discover that those medical bills add up quickly, especially if you sustained severe injuries in the accident.
If you file a personal injury claim for the UTV accident, your medical bills can help establish the extent of your injuries and the financial damages you faced.
How Does a UTV Accident Claim Progress?
If you suffered injuries in a UTV accident, start by talking to an injury attorney as soon as possible. A UTV accident lawyer can tell you how the claim will likely proceed, from who likely bears liability for your UTV accident to how you can best protect your overall right to compensation.
The Investigation Stage
The investigation will reveal the conditions that caused the accident to the extent of your injuries. Your lawyer may want to review any witness statements from the accident, including statements from all other passengers and the driver of the UTV, if possible. An expert witness may look over the UTV to determine whether it had any mechanical damage or other problems that may have contributed to the accident.
In addition, your lawyer will want to carefully evaluate the extent of your injuries and the financial losses you sustained. An injury claim aims to help provide essential compensation for the financial and non-financial damages associated with your UTV accident.
Looking over your medical records, bills, and any other losses associated with the accident can give your lawyer a better idea of how much compensation you should reasonably expect. Then, they can pull that information together as part of a compelling injury claim.
While your lawyer investigates the UTV accident, the liable party's lawyer or insurance company may also investigate. You may have to provide information about your medical recovery and any ongoing challenges you might face during that process.
The Negotiation Stage
Once both sides have had a chance to investigate the UTV accident, the negotiation stage begins. In many cases, if an insurance policy covers the liable party, you will get a settlement offer soon after the UTV accident. In many cases, however, that offer may fail to reflect the full extent of the damages you actually sustained in the UTV accident.
Always have a lawyer look over any settlement offer you may receive to help you better determine whether that offer fairly reflects the compensation you should expect for your injuries.
You have the right to continue negotiating if the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable settlement. In many cases, it can take several rounds of negotiation for you to arrive at an agreement that fits your needs after a UTV accident.
Going to Court
Sometimes, you may go to court over a UTV accident claim. Most UTV accident claims settle out of court. Going to court substantially increases legal costs for the liable party, often without lowering the amount the liable party or the insurance company will reasonably have to pay out for the accident.
However, if you do have to go to court, having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference in your ability to recover the compensation you really deserve for your UTV accident injuries. Your lawyer can help lay out the compensation you deserve and fight to help you get it in court, clearly presenting the damages you sustained because of the UTV accident.
Talk to your lawyer about the odds that your UTV accident claim will have to go to court and what you can do to maximize your odds of recovering what you deserve after your accident.
Contact a UTV Accident Lawyer After Your Accident
If you sustained injuries in a UTV accident, working with a UTV accident lawyer can improve the odds that you will recover reasonable compensation for your injuries.
Contact a UTV accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to gain vital support and insights as you move forward with your UTV accident claim.