Truck Accident Case

We took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.

Many people enjoy getting off-road and having fun on all-terrain vehicles.  Splashing through mud and driving over bumpy trails can be a fun way to spend a weekend.  But when an ATV is defective, it can cause serious – even life-changing – injuries.  Polaris Industries Inc. has been penalized by the federal government for manufacturing defects in its RZR and Ranger models that have caused burns and other injuries.  Polaris ATV injury lawsuits have been filed.

Product liability claims can be initiated against retailers, manufacturers, and marketers when consumers are injured by using a defective product.  Any design or manufacturing defect that makes a product unreasonably dangerous to a member of the public can result in legal liability for the manufacturer and/or seller.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a Polaris ATV, you could be entitled to financial compensation.  A federal government investigation revealed that Polaris knew some of its ATV models were potentially dangerous and posed fire hazards, but the company was slow to report these defects as required by law and issue recalls.  To find out if you have a viable Polaris ATV injury lawsuit, contact the skilled and experienced attorneys at Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501.  The initial consultation is free.

Why Choose Us

Stephenson Rife has an outstanding reputation for winning injury accident lawsuits and securing the largest payouts possible.  Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of legal experience and has won many large personal injury claims totaling millions of dollars.  Recently named a Super Lawyer in Indiana, Attorney Mike Stephenson is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in the stateHe has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials and has handled litigation in 18 states around the country.  State and local polls by peers have listed Mike as one of Indiana’s top lawyers, including a poll of 14,000 attorneys in which he was chosen to be among the top 5% of the attorneys in his area of practice.

The legal team at Stephenson Rife, including Attorney Brady Rife, an experienced Indiana delivery truck accident lawyer, takes case preparation seriously and prepares each case as though it may be tried in court.  Some of the firm’s most successful cases include winning a $48 million settlement against a large corporation in a fatal vehicle crash in New Mexico and a $14 million settlement against a national trucking company in Illinois.  We have achieved outstanding case results.  Not surprisingly, we have many satisfied clients.

Whether your injury was caused by a vehicle defect or another driver, we aggressively represent clients who are injured in accidents.  We will always fight for the maximum compensation possible.

How We Can Help

An Indianapolis product liability attorney can fight for the damages you deserve.

There are many ways our law firm can help clients build a strong case against defendants in a product liability claim.  We will:

  • Gather and review evidence
  • Interview eyewitnesses
  • Review police and accident reports
  • Gather and analyze medical records
  • Collect surveillance video, when available
  • Research applicable statutes and case law
  • Hire expert witnesses, if needed
  • Prepare you and attend depositions with you
  • Draft and file all necessary paperwork with the court
  • Negotiate aggressively on your behalf during mediation
  • Argue your case before a jury, if necessary.

Every case is different, but no matter what your circumstances, we will create a legal strategy and build a powerful case to help you get the justice you deserve.

Polaris Penalized for Defects

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minnesota, (Polaris) has agreed to pay a $27.25 million civil penalty.

According to the announcement, the penalty settles charges that Polaris failed to immediately report to CPSC that models of RZR and Ranger recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) had defects that could create a substantial product hazard or that the ROVs created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.  Polaris manufactured and distributed roughly 133,000 model year 2013-2016 RZR 900 and model year 2014-2016 RZR 1000 ROVs (RZRs).

The federal agency said that Polaris received information that the RZRs could catch fire while consumers were driving, posing fire and burn hazards to drivers and passengers.  But Polaris failed to immediately notify CPSC of the defect or risk posed by the ROVs as required by federal law.  By the time Polaris did report the defect and risk, the company had received reports of 150 fires, including one fire that killed a 15-year old passenger, 11 reports of burn injuries, and a fire that consumed ten acres of land.

Between December 2013 and July 2016, Polaris received 36 reports of fires associated with its model year 2014 Rangers, and the company made two design changes to the Rangers to prevent the heat shields from becoming loose and falling off, the announcement stated.  In July 2016, Polaris reported the fires on model year 2014 Rangers to CPSC and announced a recall of 42,500 model year 2014 ROVs in September 2016.  Subsequently, CPSC and Polaris announced another recall of 51,000 ROVs in April 2017.

The Product Liability Act in Indiana

The Product Liability Act is codified in Indiana Code Title 34-20-1-1 et seq.  It gives the definition of a defective product under state law and explains how the law is applied. The Act includes:

  • Section 34-20-1-1 (all actions brought by consumers against the sellers and manufacturers)
  • Section 34-20-2-1 (elements of a product liability case)
  • Section 34-20-2-2 (inadequate warning notices)
  • Section 34-20-2-3 (strict liability)
  • Section 34-20-4-1 (definition of defective products).

A defective product in Indiana is defined as a product:

  • That a reasonable person couldn’t foresee as being harmful;
  • That causes an unreasonable level of danger to the those expected to use the product;
  • That has not been packaged or labeled with adequate warnings; and
  • That doesn’t provide appropriate instructions on how to use the product.

Our attorneys can help you assess if your injury falls under the Product Liability Act and whether you may be entitled to financial damages.

ATV Accident FAQs

A product liability attorney in Indianapolis answers your questions.

Our attorneys have represented hundreds of clients in personal injury and product liability cases, and we hear a lot of the same questions over and over.  We’ve listed some commonly asked questions with answers here.  We hope it’s helpful.

  • There are roughly 30,000 off-road vehicles registered in Indiana.

  • Common injuries in an ATV accident include thermal burns, broken bones, head injuries, neck and back injuries, and internal bleeding.

  • Polaris manufactured and distributed about 133,000 model year 2013-2016 RZR 900 and model year 2014-2016 RZR 1000 ROVs (RZRs). In addition, Polaris manufactured and distributed approximately 93,500 model year 2014-2015 Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS and CREW 900 off-road vehicles, according to the announcement from CPSC. The federal agency said the it received reports that the RZRs could catch fire and the Rangers contained a defect that created a substantial product hazard and/or an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death because the heat shield could fall off the vehicle, posing fire and burn hazards.

  • All ATVs/ORVs owned by Indiana residents must be registered with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Registration costs $30 for three years.

  • There have been 285 deaths and hundreds of injuries due to ATV accidents in Indiana since 1982.

It is imperative that ORV and ATV owners follow safety precautions and rules for use in Indiana to prevent unnecessary injury.  If you own a Polaris, be sure to familiarize yourself with information about design defects and recalls.

Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Registration and Regulations in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) publishes a document that lays out the enforcement rules and responsibilities for ORV and ATV use in the state.  Conservation Officers patrol rural areas to enforce ORV regulations.  These include:

  • If you operate an ORV on public property in Indiana, it must be registered. The only exception is a vehicle that is properly registered in another state and operated by a resident of that state.
  • All ORVs purchased after December31, 2003, must be registered.
  • Registration is $30 for three years.
  • Registration can be completed at all Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) license branches or online at MyBMV (www.in.gov/bmv).
  • Upon approval of the application, the DNR will issue two registration decals and a Certificate of Registration containing the vehicle number.
  • Registration decals must be attached to both sides of the forward half of the vehicle.
  • The pocket-sized Certificate of Registration must be carried on the vehicle and made available for inspection by law enforcement officers.
  • Cities, towns, and counties have individual laws pertaining to ORVs. Check these before riding. (may require helmet, insurance, restrict roads, etc.) 
  • Persons under 14 years of age may operate an ORV only if (a) they are supervised by a person who is at least 18 years of age or (b) they are operating on property owned or controlled by the person’s parent or guardian.

Statute of Limitations for a Product Liability Claim in Indiana

An Indianapolis product liability lawyer will handle all the paperwork for you.

The statute of limitations on a product liability claim is two years from the date of the injury in Indiana or within 10 years after the delivery of the product to the initial consumer or user.

This means an accident victim should act quickly to hire an attorney after being injured so there’s time to review evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare a strong case.  The clock starts from the date of the accident or injury, with just a few exceptions.  If you miss this window of opportunity, you risk having your case dismissed by a judge.

Our Polaris ATV Injury Lawsuits Attorney Can Help.  Call Us Today.

If you or a loved one has been injured while using a Polaris ATV or other off-road vehicle, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  Polaris has already been hit with millions of dollars in civil penalties for manufacturing and failing to report in a timely manner the defects in their RZR and Ranger models.  To find out if you qualify for financial damages after a Polaris injury, call our skilled product liability attorneys at (317) 680-2501.  The initial consultation is free.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Indiana Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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