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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Product Liability on Monday, August 24, 2020.
Kristensen LLP Files 2nd Lawsuit Against Polaris Industries for Product Liability and Negligence

When we engage in certain activities – whether for work or for fun – we need to purchase and use the proper equipment to accomplish our goals while also keeping us safe. Whether the hobby is fishing, which often requires a fishing pole and a life jacket, or biking, which requires a bicycle and a helmet – there are always essential pieces of equipment needed to participate that help us have fun, and also stay safe while doing so. The use of Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) is a growing hobby that is being enjoyed by more and more people in the great outdoors. As with any hobby, though particularly one which involves fast speeds and natural terrain, it’s incredibly important to be using the right equipment for the job to ensure the safety of all parties involved.

 

When consumers purchase their UTVs, they do so from manufacturers who understand the function of these vehicles. They aren’t intended to be used at slow speeds on paved tracks and predictable conditions – they’re very much intended to be used at speeds ranging from 10 to 20 to 50 miles per hour – or more – all while in natural outdoor conditions, which can include rocks, inclines, declines, and water. For this reason, they’re designed with these needs in mind, and it’s the responsibility of manufacturers to communicate with consumers when it comes to what their products are and are not designed to do.

 

Polaris, on the other hand, provided their UTV users with a vehicle that did not fit the needs of the activity it promised them that it could.

 

When it comes to using UTVs, it is not uncommon for the vehicles to flip or roll. While that may sound alarming, the reality is these vehicles are designed for that event in mind, and built to protect the driver. To address this possibility, they are designed with safety features to facilitate this occurrence happening without unnecessary injuries – which includes the frame of the vehicle itself, the roof, as well as other possible features such as netted windows to keep arms and legs inside the vehicle.

 

Polaris, however, designed a vehicle without the standard protective roofing – which ultimately resulted in the injury of a consumer who was using their product as he believed he could, based on the guidelines set by Polaris.

 

UTVs are expected to travel at high speeds, though in this specific instance, it was traveling no more than 20 miles per hour – well within the expected range for safe usage. The UTV came off its wheels and rolled, and instinctively – as is common behavior – the rider stabilized himself with his hands. Without the safety nets on the roof, his hands were free to exit the vehicle, and were crushed during the roll, causing immense damage to his hand, fingers, and wrist.

 

Unfortunately, he is not the only victim. If you or someone you know has been injured by a Polaris vehicle, or any UTV, contact our firm so we can seek justice on your behalf.