All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be a lot of fun. They can also be quite dangerous. Due to their tendency to tip over, the injuries that result can be very serious, from broken bones to paralysis and death. Because these vehicles can climb rough terrain and travel at high speeds, an accident leaves drivers and passengers reliant upon their helmets and clothing for protection. The most serious injuries occur when ATV drivers and passengers get thrown from the ATV, then get pinned under the heavy machines.
Minnesota is home to several ATV manufacturers, including Polaris and Arctic Cat. The types of ATVs that individuals throughout Minnesota enjoy riding include three-wheelers, four-wheelers and side-by-side vehicles like the Yamaha Rhino. The Yamaha Rhino is an example of an ATV that has been under a great deal of scrutiny for years over a design that makes rollover very easy. Because these vehicles don’t provide a great deal of protection to the driver and/or passengers, some of the accidents have been fatal.
There are a number of causes behind ATV accidents. One is reckless operation. If a person is a passenger and the driver recklessly operates the ATV, the driver can be held liable for the passenger’s injury or death. Intoxication can also play a part in ATV accidents. It is just as illegal to drive an ATV drunk as it is a car, and the consequences can be just as deadly. Unfortunately, many parents allow their children to operate full-size ATV’s without taking into account the level of skill and maturity required to keep such a vehicle stable. A parent can be held responsible if they have negligently entrusted an ATV to a child who loses control of the vehicle.
Two more causes for ATV accidents are faulty designs or defective parts. There are cases when the design may make rollover easier or when a mechanical failure can occur at the worst possible time. For instance, a person can be climbing a hill on their ATV, and a mechanical failure due to a manufacturing issue causes the ATV to stop. The vehicle can then roll backwards, overturn and land on the driver and/or passenger. If anything like this has happened to you or a loved one, you need to contact a Minnesota ATV accident lawyer as soon as possible.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regulates ATV use in the state.
- A driver’s license is required to operate an ATV along or on public road rights-of-way.
- Operators between 12 and 15 must have a safety-training certificate and be accompanied by an adult 18 or older who possesses a driver’s license to operate on public lands.
- In order to be issued a safety training certificate, operators under 12 must have completed a safety training course and be able to reach and control the handlebars and reach the footrests.
- No operator under 12 can cross public roads or drive on public roads and lands; an operator at least 10 years old may operate an ATV up to 90cc on public lands if accompanied by parent.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2006, anyone born after July 1, 1987, and who is 16 or older, must complete an independent study course component of ATV safety training before operating an ATV on public land.
- An ATV may only be operated with a passenger when a parent is carrying one passenger under age 16, a person age 18 or older carrying one passenger age 16 or 17, and a person 18 or older is carrying one passenger age 18 or older.
Investigating ATV Accidents
At the Meshbesher Law Firm, we will conduct our own independent investigation into the ATV accident to identify exactly what happened and who is at fault. After an accident, it is important for you to seek immediate medical attention so that there is a medical record of your condition. You should write down as much information as you can about the accident and get the names of any witnesses. You should be sure to call a Minneapolis ATV accident attorney as soon as possible so you can file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is brought too late after the accident, the claim may not proceed, no matter how serious the injuries are.
Contact A Minnesota ATV Accident Attorney
ATV accidents happen for a number of reasons. When the accident is due to someone else’s negligence, whether it’s another person or the manufacturer of the vehicle, it is important to hold them liable for the mistake that led to your family’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or funeral costs. The Meshbesher Law Firm is here to help you; call us at 612-349-5215 for a free consultation.