What Is a Recreational Vehicle? 

A recreational vehicle (RV) is not a clearly defined category. It includes vehicles used for camping such as motor homes, camper vans, fifth wheels, and toy haulers. (1)  

RVs have been growing in popularity. As of 2023, “8.9 million people own an RV in the United States, with 30 million being considered RV enthusiasts.” (2)

Using an RV is not just for retirees. Senior citizens only make up 10% of RV users. The popularity of RVs among those aged 21 to 35 has increased over the last few years. In 2023, “38% of RV drivers are millennials.”  (3) 

What Are the Common Causes of Recreational Vehicle Accidents?

RV accidents can happen often, so pay attention to some common causes of these accidents.

Various RV accidents occur for a variety of reasons, including driver error, equipment failure, and road conditions. 

Driver error. This is a fundamental concern in any serious RV accident. Just as with other vehicle accidents, when drivers forget to signal, speed — or get distracted or fatigued — serious accidents can result. 

Equipment failure. This also can play a significant role in RV accidents. For example, in campers with slide-out systems to expand rooms using electrical switches. These rooms have been known to spontaneously retract, resulting in asphyxiation by crushing occupants. 

Road conditions. If a road is not properly marked or maintained, it can cause an RV accident. Weather, too, is an important factor. For example, storms and wind can create hazardous conditions for the RV. This type of vehicle is often not best suited to these conditions. “A lightweight, tall, flat-sided vehicle can really take a hit from side winds in particular.” (4)

Remember, while “RVs have about 1/3 the fatality rate of all other vehicles, suggesting that they are safer,” this does not mean fatalities cannot and do not occur, or injuries are any less serious. (5) 

The lower fatality rate may be explained by the fact RVs are driven more slowly than other vehicles, and they are higher off of the ground. (6)

If you or a loved one have been injured in a RV accident, contact us today for a free case review.

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Specific Causes of RV Accidents  

Here are some specifics of the common causes of accident involving RVs: (7)

  • Blind spots. These occur because of the way RVs are designed. Improper use or failure to adjust mirrors can exacerbate the problem.
  • Distracted drivers. Accidents happen when a driver’s focus is shifted away from the road. Eating, drinking, talking, texting, or adjusting the radio can all lead to accidents.
  • Driver fatigue. Driving long distances on straight stretches of highway late at night or spending too many hours behind the wheel without breaks, can lull drivers to sleep.
  • High winds/wind gusts. Weather, where winds are over 20 miles per hour, can cause the RV to sway or become unstable. 
  • Impaired drivers. Alcohol and drugs negatively affect a driver’s reaction time. Any impairment can also affect any decision-making ability.
  • Inexperienced drivers. No special training or licensing is required to drive an RV. There are no set number of practice hours needed to get behind the wheel.
  • Miscalculated turns or stops. RVs are long, tall vehicles and require different stopping distances than cars. The mass of the vehicle is critical in stopping and calculating turns. 
  • Overloaded RVs. Knowing a vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is necessary to load it correctly. Overweight and unbalanced loads stress the brakes and suspension systems, contributing to instability. 
  • Unevenly loaded trailers. Improperly loaded trailers cause trailer sway, a side-to-side motion leading to the violent whipping or tossing of trailers.
  • Speed. This is not just driving too fast; it is also failing to adjust for the road, traffic, or weather conditions. 

Common RV Accident Injuries

No matter the cause, RV accidents can result in serious injuries and fatalities. Common RV accident injuries include: (8)

  • Death — Just as with any vehicle accident, this can result in the most serious of injuries.
  • Head trauma — Over a million people annually suffer injuries to their head. And it often leads to permanent disability.
  • Spinal cord injuries — Injuries to your spin can leave you paralyzed. Millions of Americans live with some form of paralysis, often from injuries.
  • Fractures — Broken bones can be more serious than you might think. They can even lead to death.
  • Facial injuries — These can be painful and disfiguring. They can affect the way you see, smell, or taste.
  • Cuts — Lacerations are wounds to your skin caused by sharp objects and blunt trauma. These can be very serious, especially if they get infected.

RV Accident Statistics

Information about the frequency and severity of these types of RV accidents can help you understand the importance of seeking legal assistance.

Here are some sobering RV accident statistics: (9)

  • On average, 26 people per year lose their lives in RV related accidents.
  • Annually, 75,000 hospitalizations result from RV accidents.
  • Head injuries are the most frequent injuries sustained in RV accidents. 
  • Trailer sway causes 500,000 accidents per year.

These statistics make it clear why filing a lawsuit may be the best way to obtain justice and compensation after a serious RV accident injury. 

Turn your RV accident setback into a comeback. Contact us today to understand your legal rights.

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Filing a Lawsuit

A key consideration in filing an RV accident lawsuit is selecting the right attorney to represent you. Here, hiring someone with experience in personal injury lawsuits is advisable. 

After nearly 40 years of practicing personal injury law, Weitz & Luxenberg has an entire personal injury team focused on the needs of our clients. Our team is dedicated to your best interests. 

W&L has experienced attorneys who know the law and understand the New York legal process. We guide you through every step of the process, with both compassion and an appreciation for your unique situation. 

First, a W&L attorney evaluates your claim to determine if you should file a lawsuit. Once W&L has determined your options, W&L team members investigate and gather evidence regarding your claim. 

We then file the legal paperwork for your lawsuit. Additionally, W&L prepares to represent you in court or negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Who Can File a Lawsuit 

Anyone who has been seriously injured in an RV accident, and did nothing to have caused the accident, can have us file a lawsuit on their behalf. Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, the RV driver, a passenger, or a victim can file a lawsuit. This includes victims of the accident who were in other vehicles involved — or even pedestrians. 

Types of Damages

The goal of your RV accident lawsuit often means you want to get awarded monetary compensation and damages.

If successful in an RV accident case, you may receive monetary damages for:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Property damage.
  • Loss of income. 
  • Pain and suffering. 

The amount of money you recover depends, in part, on how badly injured you were by the RV and the circumstances causing your injury.

How W&L Can Help

W&L has a winning track record in personal injury cases. Here are some of our wins: