All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) accidents result in nearly hundreds of deaths and over an estimated 150,000 injuries each year. Alcohol, excessive speed, poor judgment and driver inexperience are cited as the leading causes of crash. Accidents occur on roadways, highways, and public and private trails. In 2017 the Consumer Federation of American reported that 349 people dies in ATV related fatalities.
There are many potential causes of ATV accidents. Often, ATV operators crash into trees, property, motor vehicles or other stationary objects. Accidents can also result from unexpected dangerous hazards on private properties and public trails. Cars, trucks and other vehicles can impact ATVs, causing serious and catastrophic accidents.
Inexperience is another major fact in many ATV injuries. Children make up a substantial portion of those injured each year, about 30,000. Age plays a major factor in ATV use and injuries. The experience, age, size of ATV and power can all contribute an injury.
The most popular manufactures of ATVs are Polaris, Honda, Artic Cat, Bombardier, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. ATVs are very popular and used in motor sport events. ATV tours of national parks and at other tourist destinations are common. ATVs are very popular in Missouri where they are commonly used for recreation on private and public land. Sometimes ATVs are also used for work, most commonly in rural areas for agricultural purposes.
All-terrain vehicle accidents can result from improper servicing and maintenance of the ATV, manufacturing defects, or design defects. One of the most dangerous aspects of ATVs is the possibility of a rollover. ATVs do not offer any security in the form of a roof or roll bar to protect the driver or passenger.
In far too many crash scenarios, innocent ATV operators and passengers are struck by a vehicle driven recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
ATV accidents can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Back and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and trauma
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Your legal rights after an ATV accident
Whether you were a driver, a passenger or an innocent bystander, victims of ATV accidents have legal rights. ATV drivers who cause accidents can be held liable for money damages if they are found to be negligent in the operation of the ATV. Vehicle owners can be held liable if they entrusted the ATV to an underaged or incompetent driver. Property owners may be held liable if they were aware that ATV operators used their property, and a known danger existed on that property at the time of the accident. However, property owners may have protection from liability under a recreational property statute if the property is outside a city, over ten acres and no fee is charged.
ATV accident claims, and lawsuits allow an injured person to pursue just and fair compensation for physical and psychological injuries that result from the crash. Typical injuries include disability, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Since ATV accidents injuries can lead to extremely high medical bills and cause loss of income for extended periods, lawsuits can also seek to compensate victims for lost wages. If you are self-employed, you can seek lost profits.
In the case of fatal ATV accidents, victims’ families may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. In such cases, families pursue compensation for the loss of their loved one. The claim may include lost wages, or profits, the victim’s pain and suffering before death, and the loss of the individual for family members. The elements of loss in a wrongful death case include services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support. Cost of the funeral expenses may also be recovered.
No Cost Evaluation
If you or a loved one have been injured because of an all-terrain vehicle accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Gump & Faiella, LLC, our experienced injury attorneys have handled ATV cases. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Gump & Faiella are highly knowledgeable in personal injury litigation and have decades of experience in injury law. We fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation from the people that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the just and fair compensation you need to rebuild your life.
In the event of a wrongful death, no amount of compensation will replace your loved one. At Gump & Faiella we handle death claims with compassion and understanding. We know how to present your claim in a dignified way and work with you to identify your damages and document your loss. In addition to money compensation, legal claims may change the future behavior of individual and corporate defendants.
In the event you or a loved one has been injured because of a ATV accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Gump & Faiella by filling out our No-Risk Free Consultation form, or call (800) 264-3455 and speak with one of our attorneys.
Missouri ATV Law Primer
- The state of Missouri carefully regulates ATVs. No person under the age of 16 shall operate an ATV in Missouri unless he or she is accompanied by or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian or is accompanied by an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian.
- An ATV must be registered with the Department of Revenue. No one under the age of 16 is allowed to register an ATV.
- Your ATV must have an equilateral triangular emblem, and a lighted headlamp and tail lamp if used on a road. Additionally, you must have a braking system in good working condition, an adequate muffler system and a U.S. Forrest Service qualified spark arrestor.
- Under Missouri law, ATVs may not travel upon the highways of the state except for governmental operations, for agricultural purposes between sunrise and sunset, and by handicapped people under limited circumstances. Section 304.013 Missouri Revised Statutes.
- ATVs may not be driven on the roads or streets of a city or town unless specifically allowed by local resolution or ordinance. You can check local ordinances here.
- When operating on roads ATVs must be operated at speeds less than 30 MPH and the operator must have a valid operates license.
- It is a crime to operate an ATV in a careless manner so as to endanger persons or property; or
- While under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances; or
- Without a securely fastened helmet. Section 304.013.4 Missouri Revised Statutes.
Insurance: Collecting Money in an ATV Accident Case
- ATVs may be insured under an “auto insurance” policy.
- ATV’s may or may not be insured under farm or home owner’s insurance policies.
- An insurance company may claim an ATV accident is not covered, but skilled legal counsel may be able to establish that coverage applies
- Never accept an insurance company’s decision as the final word on whether or not an insurance policy provides coverage for injuries.
- Our firm has fought and won compensation from insurance companies for victims of ATV injuries who where told there was no insurance coverage.
- Always wear a properly fitted helmet.
- Stay at a safe speed, and reduce your traveling speed at night, in reduced visibility, and around curves.
- Dress appropriately for the conditions.
- Cold weather, rain and snow can quickly cause operating conditions that are unsafe. Lower your speed, and if conditions worsen return home or stop and call for help.
- Check conditions of trails on which you plan to travel.
- Stay off public roadways.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol—and never be a passenger with a driver under the influence.
- ATV owners should maintain it properly and perform service regularly.
- If you’re renting an vehicle, choose a reputable rental shop or tour company. Make sure the employees explain how to operate the vehicle before you head out.
- When purchasing a tour ask about safety and support services and check the companies record with the better business bureau.
- Don’t use a cell phone while operating an ATV, distracted driving is dangerous.
- Keep a phone or other communication device with you always.
- For more safety tips check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission ATV Information Center.
Popular Missouri ATV Trail Locations & Names
If you are going to ride an ATV consider using an ATV park or dedicated motor sport trails. Popular ATV trails are located in:
Joplin, MO J & D Off Road Park
Framinton, MO Washita Offroad Trails
Marble Hill, MO Outlaw Off-Road Park
Park Hills, MO St. Joe State Park
Centerville, MO Sutton Bluff Recreation Area
Lincoln, MO The Walters Ranch
Grain Valley, MO Valley Mix
Elkland, MO 3d World Farm Trails
Bonne Terre, MO Big River Sand Drags
Kahoka, MO GooseHoller ATV Park
Patterson, MO Leejak Off Road Ranch
Halfway, MO Legends Paceway
Rolla, MO Mitchells’ Motorcross Park
Halltown, MO Possum Hollow MX
Fulton, MO Potawatomi Offroad Park
Richwood, MO Romp MX
Pineville, MO Rusch Springs Ranch
Old Appelton, MO Sky High MX Park
Canton, MO Smurfwood Trails
Cameron, MO Soggy Bottom Camp
Elkhead, MO Sogg Bottom MX
Gallatin, MO South Big Creek Ranc, LLC
Seymour, MO Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch
Poplar Bluff, MO Bricks Off Road Park
Buffalo, MO Buffalo MX
Chadwick, MO Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV Use Area
Caufield, MO Cloud 9 Ranch
Deepwater, MO Cooper Creek ATV
Columbia, MO Finger Lakes State Park
Jawdin, MO Flat Nasty Offroad Park
Adrian, MO KC Moto
Foley, MO Letz Go Nutz Offroad Park
Merwin, MO Midwest Extreme Park