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Texas Teen Killed in Rollover Accident

Losing a child carries with it an unimaginable grief. Yet this is the sad reality for a small east Texas town (Nederland), now mourning the loss of a beloved 16-year-old who was killed in a rollover accident earlier this month.

The victim, Stevie Ray Hergert, was just weeks away from starting her senior year of high school and a potential career as a model. Stevie was killed when she lost control of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) she was riding; she was crushed when the vehicle flipped over, causing fatal brain injuries.

Texas Law

Texas requires that safety equipment be used only on ATVs that are being operated on public property or a beach. Specifically, they must simply have a brake and muffler system in good working condition, and must also have a headlight and taillight if being operated at night. Anyone who rides ATVs on public property or a beach must also be wearing a safety helmet and eye protection, and they are also limited in how many passengers they can carry, depending upon the ATV.

The Dangers of ATVs

Vehicle rollover accidents like these leave drivers and passengers with very few options of avoiding injury, even if they are wearing seatbelts—and ATVs are no exception. Because they are often used on off-road courses instead of streets, and they are built with low-pressure tires, they operate more similarly to motorcycles than cars (although they are designed to be safer because of the stability offered by having four wheels).

However, it is the terrain they are designed for (rough), which, arguably, makes them especially dangerous, and they are notorious for rollovers. They are also missing the typical security measures present in a car (such as a roof) to protect riders from significant brain injuries if the vehicle does rollover.

Many people also do not realize that different ATVs are more appropriate for various age and sizes. As a result, riders under the age of 16 are involved in more than one-third of all ATV accidents and injuries. Specifically, these injuries include:

  • Concussions, brain injuries;
  • Burns;
  • Dislocations and fractures; and
  • Neck injuries and whiplash, amongst others.

However, many ATV and other rollover accidents happen as a result of actual auto defects, such as in the event of a tire blowout. Experts have also reported that ATVs do not respond well to steering inputs, often quickly transitioning from severe understeering to severe oversteering. More information on why they are prone to rollover accidents is available here.

Our team of trial lawyers and accident reconstruction engineers have handled numerous accident cases– many of which have involved catastrophic injuries and wrongful death–throughout Texas and the United States. We regularly work with medical experts to ensure that you receive the best medical treatment available. We can also locate and obtain financial assistance for our seriously injured clients so that they can focus on recovering without having to worry about how to cover medical and cost-of-living expenses prior to the resolution of their case.

Contact the team at Zehl & Associates for a free consultation at 1-888-603-3636. We are prepared to assist you today.