$10 Million

Settlement for Teen Victims of UTV Rollover

The Case: A 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl had joined their 14-year-old friend on a rural farm property for the weekend. The girls were passengers on the UTV, and were accompanied by an adult parent—and owner of the property—of the 14-year-old friend, who was driving.

Many safety provisions were ignored or overridden. The girls were not given helmets, nor were they instructed on how to operate the UTV before taking off. Though the UTV was affixed with manufacturer markings instructing that no one under the age of 16 should operate the vehicle, the 14-year-old friend was driving. No one wore restraints—in fact, the driver’s seatbelt was buckled behind the children in order to bypass the manufacturer’s speed limitation.

The UTV rolled over, throwing one of the girls from the vehicle. She died at the scene. The other passenger suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to the hospital.

The Outcome: Much of this case hinged on interpretation of the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Act, also known as Chandler’s Law, and whether it applies to UTVs. Passed by the South Carolina Legislature in 2011, the act establishes crucial safety requirements and regulations for children who operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The global settlement represented the full policy limits of all liability and umbrella policies insuring the defendants and a multimillion-dollar personal contribution by the defendants.

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