Attwood Marshall Lawyers can help you make a claim for compensation for a quad bike accident, writes Compensation Law Accredited Specialist, and firm Partner, Jeremy Roche.
Quad bikes are a major cause of death and serious injury in rural communities across Australia. In the past 8 years, there were 136 fatalities from quad bike accidents in Australia (ie. 17 quad bike deaths per year). Almost half of those fatalities were workers. There have been innumerable accidents where quad bike riders and passengers have suffered serious injury. Given the number and severity of quad bike accidents in Australia, it is imperative that we continue pushing for further quad bike safety regulation. Education is key.
Quad bikes are increasingly prevalent in Australia (particularly in Queensland) and are used for a variety of reasons:
- For general transport around a property or farm;
- For use in farm work and/or employment tasks on farms;
- For private recreational use (eg riding for fun on a private property or purpose-built recreational quad bike tracks;
- For transport on a road (if the quad bike is conditionally registered and insured to ride on a road in a limited capacity);
- For recreation/tourism (whether individual or group) by way of paying a quad bike tour business;
Common Types of Quad Bike Accidents
- Crushing accidents;
- ‘Coathanger” accidents;
- Falls and dislodgements;
- Tipping accidents (eg. too much weight on one side).
Why are Quad Bike Injuries So Severe?
Quad bike accidents often cause serious injuries (such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, severe head or brain injuries, crush injuries, quadriplegia/tetraplegia), and death.
Quad bike riders are not encapsulated in a vehicle (like the driver of a car or truck) and they do not have anywhere near the same physical safety protection around them.
Quad bike accidents often involve the heavy quad bike rolling onto the rider, crushing the rider, dislodging the rider into a ditch, ‘coat-hangering’ the rider (eg. when the rider rides into a wire fence at speed), tipping over the edge of a track/cliff, or a high impact collision with another vehicle or stationary object. The rider is largely unprotected and often unseatbelted!
Primary Causes of Quad Bike Accidents
- Rider inexperience – few riders are properly trained;
- Rough, steep, sloping, or obscure terrain where dangers such as big pot-holes, sudden drops, obstructions, mud, or similar hazards, are difficult for the rider to see and safely respond to.
- Poor weather conditions (heat, rain, mud, etc);
- Recreational quad bike riders often ‘push the limits’ and ride fast and/or dangerously in the pursuit of enjoyment. Quad bike riders often take more risks than drivers of other vehicles (eg a car or truck on the road);
- Quad bike riders often feel that they are not bound by normal road rules or safety guidelines and are free to speed, attempt jumps/manoeuvres, drive dangerously, or drive whilst intoxicated, without any risk of penalty or police intervention.
- Minors over 8 years old are permitted to ride quad bikes despite not always having the faculty, maturity or experience to ride safely.
- Those working with quad bikes often tow a load behind them (eg material, chemicals) which increases the risk of tipping and rollovers.
- Quad bike riders who carry passengers are at greater risk of having an accident;
- Dangers associated with riding up or down slopes, near track edges/cliffs;
- Poor quad bike maintenance;
- Lack of pre-determined safety rules and a pre-ride safety inspection.
Compensation Claims for Quad Bike Injuries
Injured quad bike riders may be entitled to compensation depending on the cause of the accident.
- Workers Compensation Claims;
- For those injured at work in the course of their work duties;
- Motor Vehicle Compensation Claims;
- For those injured in a motor accident due to the negligence of another;
- Public Liability Compensation Claims;
- For those injured on someone else’s property, during a private/paid quad bike tour, on a public track, by a third party, or similar, due to the negligence of another;
- Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Claims;
- For those with TPD insurance (inside or outside of the super) who are unable to return to work (or their pre-accident work) as a result of the injuries suffered;
- Breach of contract claims;
- For those who are injured whilst quad bike riding as part of a paid/ professional quad bike riding tour/recreation park due to that business’s negligence (eg. failing to reasonably provide safe quad bike tour services).
- Product Liability Claims:
- For those who are injured due to a faulty product (eg faulty quad bike, or mechanism on the quad bike).
Those injured in a quad bike accident due to a failure on the part of another to exercise reasonable care (ie. negligence) may be able to claim lump sum compensation for general damages (pain and suffering), past and future treatment costs, past and future income loss, past and future care and assistance costs, and past and future out of pocket expenses.
Time Limits for Claims
Claims must be made within 3 years of the accident (or for minors, within 3 years of their 18th birthday) or the claim will be statute-barred (extinguished).
There are earlier procedural time limits to comply with depending on the type of claim.
If you have been injured in a quad bike accident, we strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible so as to comply with strict time limits.
How to Improve Quad Bike Safety
- Mount a crush protection guard (ie. a roll cage) on the quad bike;
- Wear helmets (rider and any passengers) and protective clothing;
- Wear seatbelts;
- Operate the quad bike at a safe speed;
- Undertake “active riding” techniques.
- Take a beginner and an advanced quad bike safety riding course;
- Do not overload the quad bike (with passengers/materials/towing attachments);
- Before riding, ensure you have undertaken a risk assessment to identify potential hazards in the area you intend to use the quad bike;
- Develop rules (eg pre-ride vehicle check, speed limits, no go areas, check-in times, etc);
- Remain vigilant for hazards;
- Consider the conditions (eg rain, mud, heat, etc) before riding;
- Never take passengers (particularly children);
- Undertake regular maintenance on the quad bike by a qualified person;
- Never ride a quad bike under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or heavy medication;
- Always let someone know where you are and carry a phone or two way radio.
- Ensure rider complacency does not become an issue;
- Strictly monitor and safely control recreational use (eg a group of people riding quad bikes together on a property).
- Ensure quad bikes ridden by minors under 16 are not adult-sized quad bikes and are age appropriate and designed for that minor’s safe use.
- Consider banning children under 16 from quad bike use altogether whether as a passenger or rider (despite the current quad bike age restriction in Queensland being a ban on children under 8).
How can Attwood Marshall Lawyers help?
If you have been injured because of the actions or negligence of someone else, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Attwood Marshall Lawyers can help you every step of the way. Contact our Personal Injuries Legal Department on 1800 621 071 for free, no obligation legal advice about claiming benefits, compensation and our No Win, No Fee service.