Dune Buggy Amputations

Dune buggy accidents are not an everyday occurrence primarily because few people ride them. However, among those that do, accidents are fairly common.

The dune buggy usually travels at a great speed over rough terrain. Therefore, rollovers or loss of control of the vehicle are common events that lead to serious injuries, including amputations.Research indicates that the dune buggy can cause severe injuries requiring the amputation of upper extremities, hands, lower extremities or feet.

Below are recent headlines from U.S. newspapers that highlight the severe injuries that can occur with the use of this type of vehicle.

In 2012, a young couple was killed while at a Cozumel vacation spot touring the area. There were five people on the large dune buggy when it slammed into a metal guardrail, killing the couple. The other riders and the driver, who lost control of the vehicle, were only slightly injured.

Allowing minors to operate a dune buggy has often resulted in tragedy. Another dune buggy injury happened to a girl that was only 11 years old at the time of the accident. After losing control of the vehicle, the young lady fell off. She sustained two broken knees and a broken thumb. Additionally, she had deep gashes in her forehead and body due to the glass breaking on the vehicle. She was airlifted to Yuma, Arizona, where she underwent surgery to both knees and had a thigh high cast for 6 weeks. She was told that she would never walk again. Because she was a soccer player, she was obviously devastated. She underwent physical therapy and rehab for two months. Fortunately, the young lady was able to recover a great deal of her mobility in her lower extremities.

Unfortunately, the girl’s story is not uncommon. Worse, many victims die or are seriously maimed by this type of accident. In this case, the cost of the medical attention and rehabilitation she received was high. The cost of such bills presents a problem to many victims as not every person has the insurance coverage to pay for such treatment.

Not all dune buggy accidents are single vehicle accidents and this is one example. A young driver of a dune buggy was killed in Nevada. The dune buggy driver, only 19 years of age, was driving on a dirt road when he lost control of his vehicle and slid into the path of an oncoming truck. Reports indicate that the dune buggy was moving at a high speed rate. The impact was severe. Sadly, the young man was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger was seriously injured and was taken to a Reno Hospital for further evaluation and management. The people in the truck were relatively uninjured.

Some dune buggy injuries are relatively unusual and typical only of dune buggy accidents. An example of an injury specific to this type of recreational vehicle typically occurs to the hand. In most cases it is of the passenger who will instinctively grab the roll bar during a rollover. This results in a crush injury with amputation or avulsion at the level of the metacarpals. The thumb is usually spared but the rest of the fingers are either lost or partially lost. Because of the locale of these rollover accidents, the wounds are often seriously contaminated and there is often a delay of appropriate treatment.

One article indicated that there should be a redesign of the roll bar and better protection of the passenger so that the passenger can’t reach up, grab the roll bar and crush his or her fingers. The U.S. Product Safety Commission has published reminders to help keep the above mentioned type of injuries from occurring.


Please contact our office at (916) 921-6400 if you have any questions regarding injuries that occurred while riding a recreational vehicle.

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