Who Is at Fault in an ATV or OHV Accident?

July 23, 2015
Who Is at Fault in an ATV or OHV Accident? All-Terrain Vehicles commonly referred to as ATV's or Quads and Off Highway Vehicles or OHV's are used for both recreation and work. Their popularity and use have increased in State and National Parks, as well as farms, for pulling small trailers over rough terrain and reaching remote areas. The inherent design of the ATV and OHV exposes riders and passengers to injury in a variety of ways. Florida regulations describe an ATV as a vehicle less than 50 inches wide, with three or more tires, with a seat that is straddled like a motorcycle. An OHV is a vehicle that is less than 60 inches wide, with four of more tires and has a conventional seat, or seats, like a car. Both are designed for either a single rider or a rider and passenger. They both ride on off road tires and are not permitted on public roads or highways. One exception is unpaved public roads in daylight hours only where speed limits are 35 MPH or less. The Causes of ATV Accidents Nationwide, ATV and OHV accidents in 2012 resulted in over 117,000 persons receiving injuries requiring hospitalization. Many of these accidents produced severe injuries and even deaths. As recently as June of 2015 an 11 year old was killed in Florida as the passenger in a rollover accident on an ATV. Because an ATV or OHV rider is often unrestrained, much like a motorcycle rider, they may be tossed from the vehicle or crushed by the vehicle rolling over. The rugged roads and off road terrain where they operate often have many rocks or trees that make riding hazardous. In many cases the injuries are a result of carelessness by the rider, combined with the lack of a helmet or seat belt. Many of these vehicles are equipped with seat belts but many are not, especially ATV's because of their motorcycle type straddle seats. . Determining Fault Determining if there was any negligence, that resulted in an ATV or OHV accident, can be difficult. Because they are driven off road it is a challenge to prove that an area was improperly maintained, unless it is a designated trail for ATVs and OHVs, where it is reasonable to expect conditions to be safe. If a trail is not properly maintained or inspected and is perilous for riders, the property owner or their insurance company may be responsible for an injury claim. If the ATV is designed improperly the blame could be placed on the manufacturer. In some cases the accident could be the fault of another ATV or OHV. A passenger on the ATV who is thrown from the vehicle, or pinned under it, could claim damages against the driver for unsafe operation or even DUI. Injuries that are typically sustained in an ATV accident may include:
  • Head and traumatic brain injury such as skull fracture or diffuse axonal injury.
  • Neck and spine injuries including paralysis.
  • Internal injuries.
  • Broken bones
Injured in an ATV Accident? If you, or someone you care about, incurred injuries in an accident involving an ATV or OHV, you should contact a skilled ATV accident attorney who has the experience to determine if negligence played a part in your case.. You may be entitled to a significant cash award for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, disfigurement and diminished quality of life. Serious injuries may require a lifetime of medical bills while your ability to earn money has been greatly diminished. An experienced attorney knows the true cost of the accident and will fight to get you what you deserve. Unlike a settlement mill, the attorney has your best interest at heart. Do not wait, because evidence can vanish after a short period of time, due to weather, intentional obstruction or repairs being made. Witnesses can vanish, become uncooperative or suffer sudden loss of memory. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has an experienced ATV accident attorney who is ready to pursue every legal path to recover the settlement you deserve. The attorney will investigate every detail leading up to the incident. Do not settle with the insurance company before contacting Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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