Off-road vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be a ton of fun. Operating ATVs comes with a lot of risks, too. These enjoyable and useful vehicles can cause severe and fatal injuries. After an ATV accident, filing a claim may be necessary for financial and physical recovery, and, in these cases, you should consider hiring our ATV accident lawyers at Impact Legal. An attorney can help you answer the legal questions you may have following an off-road vehicle accident, including:
- Do I need a lawyer after an ATV accident?
- Do I need insurance for my off-road vehicle?
- Can I seek compensation if I wasn't wearing a helmet?
- What legal remedies are available after an ATV accident?
- How do I pay my medical bills after an accident?
If you have any questions like the ones above, continue reading today's blog, or call/text us today at 602-345-1818.
What Is an ATV?
ATV stands for all-terrain vehicles. They are used for recreation or as utility vehicles. Arizona laws do not refer, specifically, to ATVs; the laws refer to these vehicles as OHVs (off-highway vehicles). OHVs come in all shapes and sizes – they can have two wheels or four. There are a few types of OHVs in Arizona, including:
- Dirt bikes
- Trial motorcycles
- Other types of off-road vehicles
ATV Accident Data
Unfortunately, often ATV accidents are extremely serious, resulting in death or life-altering injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 1982 and 2016, there were 14,653 ATV-related deaths. In 2016, there were more than 100,000 reported ATV-related ER visits. Many of the injuries involved two riders on one single-rider vehicle.
Common OHV Accident Injuries
OHV accidents are often very serious, resulting in life-altering injuries. This makes treatment for these types of injuries typically long-term and costly. Medical expenses may include long-term care, chronic rehabilitation, multiple surgeries, and expensive medications. Some common ATV-related injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Bone injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Cuts, bruising, and scrapes
- Knee and leg injuries
- Internal organ damage
Common types of ATV accidents range from speeding accidents to accidents on paved roads to accidents involving two riders on single-rider vehicles. A common type of OHV accident includes accidents with children.
Determining Fault – Do You Have a Case?
The law of negligence comes into play when determining fault in an ATV accident in Arizona. According to this law, anyone who does not take reasonable care when operating an ATV or OHV, causing another person's injuries (both physical and financial) is liable for those injuries and may be subject to pay for damages.
Determining who is liable for the accident is highly dependent on the facts of the specific case, so it's advisable to discuss the details of your accident with your ATV accident lawyer. Some general examples of accidents where another person may be responsible are:
- Equipment Failure - Equipment-related accidents happen fairly often due to manufacturing errors and recalls. Accidents caused by equipment malfunctions and failures can be difficult to prove. An ATV accident attorney can help you navigate these tricky cases.
- Negligent Premises - Depending on the circumstances of your ATV accident, a negligent property owner may be to blame. From unmarked property barriers to loose gravel and ditches, property owners may be liable for ATV-related accidents.
- Improperly Maintained Vehicles - Rented
Arizona Laws for Off-Road Vehicles
In this section, we'll review Arizona OHV laws that you should know. If you have additional questions about ATV and dirt bike laws in AZ, please reach out to us.
Where Can I Ride?
The two state laws that outline where you can ride your OHV are Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1174 and 28-1179. The first law prohibits the following:
- Operating OHVs with reckless disregard to safety of persons and property
- Driving an OHV in a way that damages wildlife habitats, riparian areas, cultural or natural resources
- Driving on routes that are closed by government regulation or by private property where there is proper posting
According to the law, you can operate an OHV on roads, routes, or trials that rules, regulations, and signage indicate are open to such vehicles. If you disturb or harm natural resources, wildlife areas, or private property, you are in violation of the law, and you may face charges.
Riding on Arizona Roads
You can drive your ATV on roadways if you have made it “street legal,” which the law states is done by ensuring your vehicle has all proper features and equipment, including working brake lights, a horn, a fuel tank cap, and a rearview mirror. Additionally, you will have to have a license plate attached to the rear of your OHV and a license plate light. You are required to have a Certificate of Title, an OHV decal, and a driver's license to ride on public roads and highways.
Do I Have to Wear a Helmet
For safety reasons, you should wear a helmet when operating an OHV, however, not everyone is required by Arizona law to wear a helmet. Only operators and passengers under the age of 18 are required by law to wear helmets. Read more about helmet laws in AZ on our blog.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an ATV Lawyer
If you've been hurt while riding an OHV, consult our ATV accident lawyers for free. We'll review your case at no cost to you, and advise you on next steps. To set this free case review up, call or text us at 602-345-1818. You may also fill out our online form, and we will reach back out to you.