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Youth Injury in ATV Wreck Spurs Lawsuit

07.03.16 07:03 PM – Andy McDonald

A Richmond home owner is being sued after a 13-year old girl crashed an ATV on his property.

According to Madison County Circuit Court records, Chris Thiele of Moran Summit Road is the defendant in a complaint filed by Phillip Johnson and Bethany Lee Johnson on behalf of their daughter, who is a minor.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred in May 2015 when the 13 year-old girl crashed into a tree while driving a Yamaha Grizzly ATV. The girl suffered head trauma and other injuries as a result, court documents state.

The complaint asserts the defendant was negligent for two reasons. First, court documents include a disclaimer stating: “NEVER operate this ATV if you are under age 16.” Secondly, the brief cites KRS 189.515 (5), which states that children under 16 shall not operate an ATV accept except under direct parental supervision.

The lawsuit alleges the defendant showed the driver where the brake and gas pedal were located before allowing her to drive the vehicle, court documents state. The complaint suggests the defendant was obligated to provide more supervision than was provided, and that he “breached the duty of reasonable care the defendant owed to the injured plaintiff” in allowing her to ride the ATV.

The parents of the injured girl are suing for hospital and rehabilitation costs, past and future pain and suffering, past and future impairment, future impairment of ability to earn a living, a permanent, partial disability, attorney fees, as well as expenses for treatment, both past and future.

The problem of ATV accidents is especially acute in the Commonwealth, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Kentucky ranks 5th in the United States for deaths associated with ATVs, trailing California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, in that order.

In 2014, there were an estimated 93,700 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries. An estimated 26 percent of those involved were children younger than 16, according to the agency.

The 2014 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries produced by the CPSC states that 87 percent of ATV-related injuries are categorized as treated and released, and a plurality of those injuries were categorized as abrasions, contusions and fractures.

The plaintiffs in the case are represented by attorney Jimmy Dale Williams of Richmond.
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