While ATV riding has become a popular form of recreation in Virginia, these vehicles come with risks, including overturnings, rider ejections, and collisions. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 1,600 ATV riders died in accidents nationwide over one recent three-year period. The CPSC estimates that over 500,000 off-highway vehicle riders sought emergency care for injuries suffered in accidents over that period.
Many ATV accidents occur due to the negligence of other motorists. If you’ve suffered a serious injury from an ATV accident in Virginia caused by someone else’s carelessness, you may have the right to pursue compensation. Let D. Michael Mullori, Jr., Attorney at Law help you seek the financial relief you need.
Mike Mullori has represented personal injury plaintiffs throughout Virginia for over two decades. He vigorously protects the rights and well-being of accident victims, working hard to help them through the complex accident recovery process. When you turn to Mike for help after an ATV accident, you can expect to work directly with him throughout your case.
If you were hurt in an ATV accident caused by someone else, you deserve to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Mike Mullori for a free consultation and learn how a Prince William County ATV and off-road vehicle accident lawyer could make a difference in your case.
What Is an ATV or an Off-Road Vehicle?
An ATV or all-terrain vehicle is a motorized vehicle designed for off-highway travel. An ATV has four low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires with a saddle seat and handlebars like a motorcycle. ATVs either have a single seat for the operator or a tandem seat designed to accommodate the operator and a passenger behind the operator. Manufacturers classify off-road vehicles with side-by-side seating for the operator and passenger as utility terrain vehicles (UTVs).
ATVs are often used for recreational purposes in rural or forested areas. However, they are also a means of transportation around large tracts of property not easily traversed by traditional motor vehicles.
What Are the Virginia ATV Laws, Guidelines, and Restrictions?
Virginia law regulates the use of ATVs in the state. Important regulations, guidelines, and restrictions for ATVs include:
- ATVs with engines displacing more than 50 CCs must be titled. However, Virginia does not require registration for ATVs.
- Operators must be age 16 or older, except children between ages 12 and 16 may operate ATVs powered by engines displacing no more than 90 CCs, and children under age 12 may operate ATVs powered by engines displacing no more than 70 CCs.
- Riders may not operate ATVs on public highways or other public property unless authorized by proper authorities. Riders also will need authorization to cross a public highway by the most direct route.
- ATVs may carry passengers only if designed and equipped to do so.
- ATV operators must wear protective helmets.
What Are the ATV Insurance Requirements for Virginia?
Because operators may not ride ATVs on public roads in most cases, Virginia law does not require ATV owners to purchase insurance. However, many insurance companies offer liability policies and other coverages for ATV riders. The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that ATVs do not qualify for coverage under homeowner’s insurance. Although you do not need insurance to operate an ATV in most cases, some private ATV trails may require riders to have insurance before entering the property.
What Are Common Causes of ATV, Off-Road, and Four-Wheeling Accidents?
ATVs are often used on uneven or unstable terrain, which can increase the risk of accidents. Some of the most common causes of ATV, off-road, and four-wheeling accidents include:
- Speeding or taking curves too quickly
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Reckless riding or horseplay
- Operator inexperience or operating an ATV too powerful for the operator’s experience or skill level
- Leaving designated ATV trails
- Drowsy riding
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted riding
- Carrying a passenger on an ATV not designed for passengers or carrying multiple passengers
- Riding along a steep bank
- Inadequate ATV maintenance
- Design or manufacturing defects
What Are Common ATV Accident Injuries?
An ATV accident can cause various injuries, from minor to severe. Some of the most common ATV accident injuries include:
- Skin injuries, including lacerations, abrasions, degloving injuries, or burns
- Crush injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Ligament sprains/tears
- Muscle and tendon strains/tears
- Broken bones
- Perforation injuries
- Spinal injuries, including herniated spinal discs or spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Head injuries, including facial scarring or eye damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic amputation or limb loss
What to Do After an ATV Accident
After an ATV accident, you can take steps to protect your rights and your health. You should take the following actions:
- Report the accident to the property owner or notify law enforcement.
- Exchange information with other riders or motorists involved in the accident.
- Seek prompt medical attention to have a doctor examine you for injuries you may have suffered in the accident.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment recommendations and medical restrictions.
- Keep copies of bills, invoices, and receipts of your medical expenses, costs of ATV repairs, and other expenses related to the accident.
- Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you miss time from work or earn less income while recovering from your injuries.
- Start a journal to record your recovery, documenting physical pain, emotional distress, or difficulties with daily life you experience.
- Avoid discussing the accident, your injuries, or your ATV accident claim on social media. Refrain from posting photos or videos of yourself while undergoing treatment for your injuries.
Finally, contact an ATV accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss the next steps you should take to pursue financial relief for your injuries and losses and hold those at fault for the accident accountable.