Anyone in upstate New York could drive a utility terrain vehicle, regardless of age, and with no need for a driver’s license, although there are some restrictions for drivers under the age of 16. Like in car accidents, the driver of a UTV may be financially responsible for damages of passengers who are injured or killed due to the driver’s negligence. UTVs require advanced driving skills because of the terrain on which they are used. However, many UTV accidents involve drivers in their early teens who lack the necessary skills.
Such an accident recently claimed the life of a 17-year-old girl who was a passenger on a UTV, during a ride on a dirt trail. Reportedly, the incident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. on a recent Saturday in upstate New York. According to law enforcement, a 13-year-old girl was operating the UTV. Along with the girl who lost her life, a 12-year-old was also a passenger on the vehicle.
The accident report indicates that the driver left the trail to ride on an adjacent field, but allegedly failed to maintain control of the UTV when she attempted to make a turn. The vehicle rolled over and landed on top of the partially-ejected 17-year-old passenger, causing fatal injuries. The driver and the second passenger were rushed to an area hospital. Officials noted that none of the teens wore helmets or seat belts.
The relationship between the teenagers involved in the case is unclear. However, personal injury or wrongful death claims can typically be filed against negligent or reckless drivers who cause UTV or car accidents. An attorney with experience in dealing with vehicle accidents and the legalities of navigating civil lawsuits can provide advocacy for the plaintiffs throughout the ensuing legal proceedings in pursuit of monetary judgments to cover damages.