Car Accident Law
People use all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for recreation, sport, and working outdoors. ATVs are a good way to get through rugged trails in places where cars can’t go. While they are fun, ATVs are also dangerous. An ATV accident can cause serious injuries or death.
If you suffer an injury in an ATV accident, you may be able to get compensation to pay for medical expenses and lost income. For more information, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there is an average of more than 700 fatalities and 100,000 injuries involving off-highway vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers, every year.
Some injuries, including head injuries, are preventable by using helmets and protective gear. But many riders use their off-road vehicles without any protective measures. ATV safety training can also reduce the risk of accidents.
Human error causes many ATV accidents. Performance and decision-making errors that cause collisions and crashes can include:
- Riding too fast for the conditions
- Riding doubles on a machine built for one
- Turning too fast and causing a rollover
- Riding under the influence of alcohol
- Rider inexperience
- Reckless riding or showing off
- Operating on the wrong surface or terrain
Like car accidents, liability in ATV crashes can be difficult to determine. If an ATV rider injures someone by operating an ATV negligently or recklessly — speeding, not leaving enough room to pass, swerving, etc. — the victim can file a personal injury claim against the rider for any injuries.
If you suffered an injury on an ATV on someone else’s property, the property owner may be liable for accidents. Under premises liability laws, property owners are responsible for visitors who come onto their property. Property owners may have a duty to warn visitors against certain dangers. The property owner may be liable if a hazardous condition on the land caused the accident.
In some situations, the ATV companies may be to blame. ATV companies try to avoid any responsibility for accidents, even if they know about the dangers. But they may be responsible for any vehicle defects under product liability laws.
Defective ATVs and machine parts can cause accidents. The manufacturer or seller is responsible if a defective vehicle part causes an accident. In a personal injury lawsuit, you would have to show the product was defective in its design or manufacture. The ATV company may also be responsible if it didn’t warn riders about unexpected dangers.
There have been several ATV recalls. ATV manufacturers issue recalls for dangerous products to avoid having to pay injury victim lawsuits. You can check the CPSC recall website to know if your ATV was subject to a recall. Examples of hazards and recalls include:
- Wiring defects
- Fuel leaks
- Lack of a parking brake
- Fire hazards
- Defective steering systems
Many ATV drivers don’t bother to get insurance specifically for their ATV rides if it is not required by state law. Riders who get ATV insurance may have to pay a few hundred dollars a year, but it could offer some help for accidents. Insurance policies can cover bodily injury, property damage, collision, and comprehensive claims, depending on your coverage.
Motor vehicle insurance policies generally don’t cover ATV accidents. Check your insurance policy, which may exclude off-road vehicles. Your homeowners or renters insurance may or may not exclude ATV claims as well. Talk to your ATV accident lawyer about whether your insurance may cover your injuries.
If you’ve been hurt in an ATV accident, an ATV accident lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have a possible claim for financial compensation. An attorney can review your case and identify the parties responsible for the accident, negotiate a settlement to pay for your injuries, or take your lawsuit to court.