All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, are one of Tennesseans’ favorite pastimes. There is nothing quite like getting covered in mud in the woods while bouncing over hills on an ATV. However, along with so many of our seasonal activities, we need to be careful and take extra caution when going out for a ride. We know what risks we pose when we are out for a day of fun. It is very easy for our great day to turn into a tragic one if you do not take the proper precautions when riding your ATV.
What injuries might I sustain when on my ATV?
- Traumatic brain injuries. When you hit your head, or your head is jostled aggressively, it can lead to head injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs are serious injuries that should be seen to by a medical professional as soon as possible. TBIs can cause lesions on the brain that can lead to bruising of the brain, internal bleeding, swelling and pressure, and damage to the nerves in your brain. While some moderate TBIs (such as concussions) may be treated within a few days, more severe TBIs can have long lasting effects if not treated promptly. Symptoms of TBIs include dizziness, confusion, memory loss, loss of consciousness, extreme fatigue, headaches, emotional instability, and amnesia. Helmets are important for this very reason.
- Arm and hand injuries. Your body is exposed to the elements when you are riding an ATV, so when it flips or rolls, your appendages have no real protection from braking. Broken bones or torn ligaments can take months to heal, and even afterwards, you may experience chronic pain or stiffness in the area. Even if these types of injuries are not life-threatening, they can make everyday activities a chore, or even with a severe enough injury, ruin certain hobbies such as playing instruments or painting.
- Leg and foot injuries. As with the arm and hand injuries, leg and foot injuries are also not usually life-threatening, though they can be life-changing. Perhaps you are flung from your ATV, or the vehicle runs you over somehow, you may be lucky enough to only break or fracture a minor bone in your leg or foot. These injuries, if seen to promptly, can heal usually over a few weeks or months when a splint or cast is put into place. However, if you break a larger bone such as your femur, then such a large and serious break may require surgery and implants. The way you walk may be forever changed, or in extreme cases, you may lose your ability to walk altogether.
- Back/spinal cord injuries. Your back is a very important part of your body to protect. It houses your spinal cord, which is the central nexus for the nervous system. Injuring your back or your spinal cord could very well lead to problems for the rest of your body as well. There are two general types of injuries to the spinal cord. Complete spinal cord injuries and incomplete spinal cord injuries. With the former, there is complete loss of function below the site of the injury; and with the latter, there may still be some sensation and feeling below the site of the injury, however movement may still be affected and hampered.
- Paralysis is often the result of spinal cord injuries. Paralysis is a life-changing condition that affects every aspect of a person’s life. Not only will the victim have to deal with the physical symptoms of their condition, but they will also have to deal with the mental and emotional trauma brought on by this chronic and severe condition.
- Broken bones. Broken bones or fractures, while common, are not always so easily treated. Depending on the bone that is broken and the severity of the break, the treatment will vary. For instance, a closed fracture in your arm might be treated with a cast, however if the break is an open-fracture where the bone is piercing the skin, then you need to be treated immediately and the injury may require surgery or implants. The former injury is likely to heal normally, with full function probable for the broken bone; the latter may leave you with life-long pain, discomfort, and stiffness.
- Lacerations. Lacerations or cuts can be dangerous if they are deep enough or they become infected. On an ATV, it is important to wear protective clothing and gear so that you can avoid these more common but still serious injuries. Lacerations can not only damage the skin, but the nerves or muscles there as well. Deep lacerations may affect the function of the injured part of your body for the rest of your life. If your ATV is rusty and you cut yourself on it, then you may be susceptible to tetanus; and if the wound is not properly cleaned, you may end up with an infection that can be life-threatening if not treated correctly.
- Limb loss. Whether due to a break or a deep laceration, amputations are serious and will forever affect you and leave you scarred. Not only will you have to deal with the physical pain of the loss of your limb, but also phantom pain afterward, and life-long medical care. With the loss of your limb, you will have to learn how to live your life differently, whether that means needing movement aids or learning to do everything with one hand.
There are a vast multitude of injuries that you can sustain from an ATV accident. Maybe you just have one injury, or maybe you have many different sorts that will require long and repeated hospital stays. When this sort of injury happens due to someone else’s negligence regarding their vehicle or their property, then you need a tough personal injury attorney who will make sure that the only thing you need to worry about is getting better. Call the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm at 615-425-2500 or you can fill out our contact form, if that’s easier for you. We’d love to set up a free consultation with you at one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.