By Grace Hancock
Let’s set the scene: it’s the weekend and you’ve rented ATVs with three of your best friends. You’re riding in a nearby wooded area. You’re having the time of your life riding around with your favorite people. Then, the unexpected happens, you lose control of your ATV and crash into a tree. You’re injured, confused, and you don’t know what to do moving forward.
If you find yourself the victim of an ATV accident, here’s what you need to know:
What is an ATV?
An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is a three or four-wheeled vehicle designed to be able to operate in all terrains such as in a forest or on an unpaved dirt road. Occasionally ATVs are used for outdoor work, however, they are primarily used in recreational and sports activities.
ATV Florida Law 2020
Chapter 317, titled Off-Highway Vehicle Titling, of the 2020 Florida Statutes states:
Anyone 16 and younger must be wearing appropriate protective gear when operating or riding on an ATV.
- Anyone under the age of 16 cannot be operating or riding an ATV if they are not wearing a safety helmet and eye protection. The safety helmet must meet the United States Department of Transportation standards.
ATVs can’t be driven on public roads, streets, or highways.
- ATVs cannot be driven on Florida’s public roads, streets, or highways, except as otherwise permitted by the managing state or federal agency. To give an example, a law enforcement officer can use an ATV with four wheels on public roads within public lands while in the course and scope of their duties, whereas a civilian citizen may not.
What Makes ATVs Dangerous?
The biggest factor that makes ATVs so dangerous is an inherent flaw in their design. This flaw causes a lack of lateral stability and crush protection for any riders. To put it simply, ATVs roll over all too easily, which can result in fatalities.
Another factor that makes ATVs dangerous is their weight; an ATV is up to twice the weight of a dirt bike. If you drop a dirt bike, the worst injury that may happen is you’ll break your leg, but if you roll an ATV you run the risk of breaking your neck, back or being on the receiving end of crush injuries.
Because of their design, ATVs are also at risk of tumbling downhills out of control. This could potentially hurt or injure other bystanders.
What to do After an ATV Accident
Take photos of the accident scene.
- If you are unable to take photos yourself, it is important that you have someone nearby take photos of the accident scene for you. If no one is able to take photos, write down the situation leading up to and the factors surrounding the accident.
Look for anyone who may have witnessed your accident.
- It’s easy to confuse details when an accident leaves you injured. A bystander who saw what happened will be able to act as an expert witness and detail to the judge how they saw the accident happen.
Seek medical attention.
- It is important that you seek medical attention, even if you feel uninjured. The adrenaline of the accident could be masking symptoms of an injury, or symptoms can arise days after the accident.
Contact a personal injury lawyer.
- An attorney who specializes in personal injury law will be able to help you pursue compensation for any injuries, emotional distress, and lost wages resulting from your accident.
Your Tampa Bay ATV Accident Lawyers: Hancock Injury Attorneys
When an ATV accident leaves you injured, the last thing you want to think about is the law and medical bills. Our experienced attorneys have helped countless claimants just like yourself navigate the law. We aim for the highest possible compensation amount from an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Whether you’ve been in an ATV accident or simply want to discuss your legal issues with a professional, call Hancock Injury Attorneys today at (813) 915-1110 or contact us for your free case consultation.