In February of 2017, Jamie Lynn Spears’ 8-year-old daughter was in a traumatic ATV accident on her family’s Kentwood, Louisiana property. The child, Maddie, suffered critical wounds when she swerved her off-road vehicle in order to avoid a drainage ditch, reported TMZ, citing the Sheriff’s Department of Tangipahoa Parish.
Louisiana’s state laws regarding ATVs currently do not put restrictions on riders’ ages and they do not mandate drivers’ training, although the state does recommend training. Had there been laws in place to help children stay safe on ATVs, the accident may have been prevented.
Maddie was said to have been submerged underwater for at least several minutes, while Spears’ and husband Jamie Watson tried to free her from the ATV. The young girl’s parents had made it to the scene of the accident within seconds after the crash; however, due to the vehicle’s netting, seatbelt, and weight, they were unable to bring her above water immediately, says TMZ.
When paramedics arrived several minutes later, they were able to free Maddie from the off-road vehicle and lift her out of the water. Nonetheless, the young girl was unconscious and had to be airlifted to a hospital in New Orleans that was about 80 miles from the property.
A source told Us Weekly that “Jamie’s got to be losing her mind” and that “Maddie grew up riding ATVs.” The source added, “Something must have gone way wrong.”
The accident occurred at roughly 3 p.m. local time on Sunday, February 6, 2017. TMZ first reported Maddie’s condition upon arrival at the hospital as “extremely serious.” According to the media outlet, by Monday afternoon, Maddie was reported as critical but stable.
Because Louisiana does not currently have minimum age requirements for off-road vehicles, Maddie’s ATV accident begs the question: “Did something really go wrong or did a young person simply not know how to handle a potentially dangerous vehicle?” Following this celebrity family crash, I think it is a perfect time for residents of Louisiana to consider whether or not young riders should be of a minimum age, and what laws might help keep riders and their passengers stay safe.
The following is all that is mentioned currently in state law regarding ATV riding in Louisiana:
Additionally, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) website states that there is no specific agency that regulates ATVs, offering only a suggestion to enroll in a safety-training course for ATV riding (which, as stated, is not mandatory).
As a Personal Injury attorney, I have seen many scenarios like this and worse. Children and adults have suffered injury or even death due to accidents that may have been prevented, had there been laws in place regulating activities involved in the situation. I make it my business to help families deal with these kinds of tragedies, but despite my personal involvement, I wish these accidents would never happen.
If you have been involved in an accident in which you’ve suffered a personal injury in Louisiana, or if you’re wondering what remedies you and your family may be entitled to after an accident, please reach out. My law office, Tony Tramontana Attorney at Law, specializes in complex cases like those involving ATV accidents and other personal injury situations.
Please fill out the form on this page or call me at 318-340-1515 to receive a free consultation. I want to hear your story. I am here to help you get you the help and compensation you deserve.
In the past, people rode motorcycles as symbols of freedom. But as motorcycle ridership has continued to increase, it's clear more and more Louisianans are riding motorcycles to save money as well.
This increase in ridership has also resulted in more motorcycle accidents. The state has one of the highest accident rates in the nation. Can anything be done to curb the fatality rate? What should riders involved in crashes do to avoid legal problems? As an attorney who sees far too many accident victims, these are questions we try to answer in this blog:
Louisiana state had 1,951 motorcycle crashes in 2015- 80 of them fatal. This is about even with 2014, when there were 1,934 accidents and 83 deaths. 2013 was the most dangerous recent year, with 2,024 accidents and 86 fatalities.
State police blame the high accident numbers on poor automobile driver training as well as lack of motorcycle awareness. When accidents occur, it is common to hear the refrain, "I never saw them."
It is time to put an end to this high number of motorcycle accidents and deaths. There is no reason that someone should wind up seriously injured or dead because they chose to ride a motorcycle in Louisiana.
State laws have tried to curb the casualty rate. Since 2004, motorcyclists have had to wear a helmet, with the goal of protecting riders from fatal head injuries in the case of an accident. But this only helps reduce fatal accidents; what is being done to prevent motorcycle accidents in the first place?
Louisiana State Police are leading the charge to prevent motorcycle accidents through an ongoing road safety program. Known as the Louisiana Motorcycle Safety, Awareness and Operator Training Program, this initiative has helped over 200,000 motorcycle riders gain knowledge of how to protect themselves and others on the roads. Students learn how to maneuver a vehicle in all types of situations and weather conditions and they receive advice on the proper clothes to wear to avoid getting hurt. Class sizes are relatively small (about a dozen students) which means no one should feel intimidated about attending.
Students can expect to spend a total of almost 16 hours in class and on the driving range in the Basic Course. The Intermediate Course is eight hours. Last, Advanced students receive five hours of motorcycle education.
Louisiana residents involved in motorcycle accidents should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Injured parties might be able to receive a court-ordered damage award to help cover such things as medical bills and lost wages. Contact Tramontana Law, a Louisiana personal injury firm, for more information on how a motorcycle attorney can help accident victims.