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I was injured while operating an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) on a trail. I was backing up on a hill when the ATV tipped over because the back fender detached. Can I sue the company that made the ATV? I had a drink a couple of hours before the accident. Does that matter?

 

A:

Published: 7-14-12

It appears that if the fender should not have detached while the ATV was backing up, you can bring a products liability case against the manufacturer because of a design defect.

As for the drink you had prior to the accident, the manufacturer can argue that you misused the ATV because it was not being used in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions, i.e., not operating the ATV after consuming alcohol.

However, that does not mean you do not have a case.  We would need to know facts surrounding your accident, i.e., how much you drank, how much time passed between you having the drink and accident, how fast or slow you were backing up, and why you were backing up, etc.

We would also have an expert inspect the ATV in terms of its design, instructions, and/or warnings which are important factors that go into the analysis of a dangerous defective product case in Pennsylvania.

Therefore, it is important that you speak to a Pennsylvania or New Jersey defective or dangerous products lawyer about your products liability case to determine whether you have a case. 

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