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Each Year Thousands are Killed or Severely Injured as a Result of an ATV Accident
Whether you were riding a 4-wheeler, 3-Wheeler, or any kind of off-road vehicle, the injuries from any type of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident tend to be severe.
As a personal injury lawyer, Humberto Enriquez recognizes that the steps that follow after an accident are never clear, especially when it’s a unique situation such as riding or driving an ATV. If you were recently injured, you need a legal team who will guide you in the right direction and help secure a compensation that covers your medical bills and other damages. Our law firm successfully represents victims in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM.
Texas and New Mexico Have Distinct Regulations When it Comes to Operating ATVs
Drivers of ATVs are expected to ride with caution. Texas and New Mexico have regulations to help ensure the safety of riders as well as the community. Both states recognize ATVs as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs).
With a large group of ATV riders in the southwest, regulations in Texas and New Mexico are not as strict in comparison to other states.
Texas regulations include:
- Drivers under the age of 14 must be directly supervised by a parent or guardian, or person over the age of 18.
- Texas law does not differentiate between an adult-sized ATV and a child-sized one.
- There are courses that teach driver safety but no course or license to operate an ATV is required.
- ATV registration is not required.
- ATVs cannot be driven on public roads, with the exception of drivers who are: farmers or ranchers traveling no more than 25 miles, public utility workers, or law enforcement officers.
New Mexico has the following laws in place:
- New Mexico residents are required to register their OHV at any Motor Vehicle Division Field Office.
- Drivers may not operate any type of OHV in a manner that damages the environment, plants, animals or creates excessive noise.
- Regardless of age, no one may drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Riders under 18 must: wear a helmet, wear protective eyewear, be visually supervised, and complete a certified OHV course to obtain a safety permit.
- Riders under 18 cannot carry a passenger, even if the OHV is designed for two persons.
Common Causes of Accidents
ATV accidents can happen to new drivers as well as seasoned ones. There are many causes when it comes to riding an all-terrain vehicle. The most common causes of accidents include:
- Carrying passengers
- Reckless driving
- Faulty vehicles
Startling Statistics Involving ATVs
Riding an ATV is undoubtedly a fun pastime for avid riders and even beginners. However, when it comes to falling or being thrown off an ATV, an individual’s life may be forever changed. Here are some statistics that summarize the impact of ATVs in America:
- Texas leads the nation with the most fatal ATV accidents.
- The highest number of accidents reported take place in July.
- In 2015, roughly 28% of accidents involved individuals under 16.
- The area most severely injured is the head and neck.
- On average, 564 adults die from an ATV accident yearly.
- The average weight (600 lbs) of an ATV impacts the severity of accidents.
ATV Accident Injuries
Injuries can range from minor scrapes or bruises, to severe bodily damage, often times even fatal. Most injuries occur to the arms, head, and neck. Other injuries that result from ATV accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Broken arms
- Broken legs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Torso damage
Does My Insurance Cover Damage?
Unlike motor vehicles, ATVs are not covered by auto insurance companies. You will need to determine if your injury is covered under another form of insurance. For example, if the accident was caused by a defective condition on the land, you may be able to seek a settlement from the property owners’ insurance. Very often, defective conditions are a reason that causes vehicles to crash. Therefore, if the accident was the result of the property that you were riding on, then the property owner’s insurance may apply.
On the contrary, if you know the accident was an error on your part, you will have to try to determine if the negligent ATV operator is covered by some type of insurance policy, such as a homeowner’s insurance policy. Alternatively, the owner of the ATV could also be responsible. The owner of the ATV should not have allowed the rider to use the ATV because they were a minor or were otherwise incapable of operating the vehicle.
Another option is to seek damages by suing the responsible party personally. The downside to this option is that it’s extremely challenging to get an adequate settlement from a private individual’s insurance if they are not covered by an insurance policy.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in an ATV Accident
Following an ATV accident, the steps that follow will make a difference in your health and ability to recover. You should seek medical attention right away. If you were a passenger on the ATV and have a clear reason to believe the driver was negligent, you should report the incident to the police. Similarly, if you were struck by another ATV or moving vehicle, you should contact the police. Do not leave the scene until the police arrive. If you are incapable of moving, ask a witness to take photos of the scene. You will also need to gather their name, phone number, and insurance information (if applicable). After seeking medical attention, consult with an ATV accident attorney. As your legal team, we will take the steps necessary to protect your rights.