One year ago this February, 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.
A Quick Reaction does not Always Equal Safety
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.
Louisiana ATV Laws
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:
- All ATVs have to be titled and registered, with the exception of ATVs used solely to support agriculture.
- ATV owners will receive a sticker that must be placed on the vehicle. Renewal of ATV registration occurs once every 2 years, through the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Riders must not operate ATVs in state parks.
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).
Personal Injury Attorney at Law
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.