An ATV driver and passenger are out for a ride when suddenly, without warning or explanation, flames burst from the vehicle. If the riders are lucky, they notice the fire start and are able to unbuckle their safety harnesses and get out of their ATV before it is engulfed in flames. If not, the outcome is tragic.
As ATVs become more and more popular – and increasingly powerful -- so are their hazards. While long known as potentially dangerous because the vehicles can flip or roll over, more riders are becoming aware of the problem of spontaneous combustion. YouTube is loaded with videos of ATVs abandoned and left in a ball of flames.
The New York Times reported at least 180 fires involving just a single model, the Polaris RZR, with numerous serious burn injuries and four deaths. There apparently have been at least 1,000 reported incidents of ATV fire incidents with vehicles damaged due to melting or burning.
Polaris Industries Inc., based in Minnesota, has issued at least 10 recalls for its RZR model – pronounced “razor” – over fire hazards. As ATV lawsuits have been filed, experts have testified that the products contain defects that have caused the fires. There has also been testimony that Polaris tried to conceal the problems.
Kline & Specter, with a long and successful history of litigating auto and product liability cases, is currently handling one recent case that occurred in central Pennsylvania when the ATV occupied by man and a teenager went ablaze. The passenger suffered burns and the driver, who risked himself to get the teenager out of the ATV first, suffered more serious injuries. He sustained second- and third-degree burns over his neck, back and arm. He was hospitalized and lapsed into a coma.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports numerous recalls of Polaris ATVs, many following reports of fires damaging vehicles and injuring riders. The side-by-side seated ATV driven by the injured riders in central Pennsylvania was a Polaris 2021 RZR 1000. That model sells for about $20,000, while some sell for as much as $30,000.
Kline & Specter, with more than 40 attorneys, has the expertise to litigate ATV fire incidents that have caused serious injury. We handle cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. For cases outside those states, Kline & Specter works with local attorneys in each state as applicable. We provide free case reviews and work on a contingent fee basis, meaning we only get paid if and when you are financially compensated.