Drunk Driving Suspected as Female Passenger is Hurt in Suffolk ATV Wreck

By Jim Hurley, Suffolk Injury Lawyer

Accidents involving alcohol that leave innocent victims dead, paralyzed or seriously injured, occur with an alarming regularity in Hampton Roads.

They usually impact the drivers or passengers of cars or trucks but alcohol can also cause deadly accidents on the water or in other scenarios. Police say they believe alcohol was a factor in an ATV accident in the City of Suffolk on Saturday, according to media reports.

Police are investigating an accident involving an ATV in the 1100 block of Audubon Road on Saturday night, WAVY.com reported. A call came into emergency communications just after 6 p.m. on Saturday. An initial investigation found an ATV was driven by a man with an 80-year-old woman passenger on board. The accident was reported approximately a mile off a public road on farmland.

Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel treated the driver and the passenger. The media report said the female passenger was airlifted by Nightingale helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.  Her injuries were reported to be non-life threatening. The driver and passenger were reported to be unrelated.

Police said they believe alcohol was a factor in the ATV accident. The investigation is continuing and charges are pending, reported WAVY.

ATV accidents can be as serious and are often more serious than car accidents because there is less protection on an all-terrain vehicle than in a car.  ATVs can also travel at high rates of speed, and rollover accidents are not uncommon.  Even when ATV riders wear helmets and other protective gear, they can suffer serious and permanent injuries.

If you are a passenger who has been injured in a vehicle accident, you may have grounds to sue against an insurance policy held by a driver. Passengers are seldom to blame for accidents. In cases in which a driver is drunk, passengers may be able to sue for additional damages. In the past, it could be hard to get insurance coverage if you were injured on an ATV. A recent court ruling means you may be covered on an underinsured motor vehicle coverage.

We hope this passenger makes a recovery from her injuries. ATVs are widely used in rural Virginia and North Carolina and accidents occur with some regularity. A report compiled in 2015 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found there had been 13,043 ATV-related fatalities occurring in the United States between 1982 and 2013.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers helps the victims of motor vehicle accidents across Virginia. See our resources on auto crashes here. If you or a loved one has been injured as a passenger, you have rights. Call us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.


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