You can’t beat the excitement of an ATV ride. Whether you are riding in the Apex area, near Las Vegas, or the Sand Mountain trail in Reno, Nevada has beautiful scenery and outstanding trails for all levels of riders. Many Nevadans also use ATVs and four-wheelers while farming, hunting, or surveying their land.
Although ATVs are both useful and great fun, they are not toys. Riding an ATV comes with risks of serious, and even fatal, injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Nevada ATV accident, contact the experienced NevadaATV accident lawyers at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC to learn about your legal options for seeking compensation.
Common Types of Nevada ATV Accidents
ATVs offer thrills but also all kinds of risks, especially when operated at high speeds. According to federal government statistics, hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries involving ATVs happen every year in the United States.
Common types of accidents include:
Rollovers. A rollover can be a frontal rollover, side rollover, or rear rollover. Riders lack the protection offered by a car, so consequences are usually serious.
Crashing into fences, barriers, objects, or other vehicles.
Driving too fast and losing control.
Crashing on unfamiliar terrain.
Common Causes of Nevada ATV Accidents
While there is no direct cause of all ATV accidents, they are often the result of one or more of the following conditions:
Operating at unsafe speeds
Failure to wear properly fitted helmets, harnesses, or other safety equipment
Riding on paved roads
Not obeying laws or restrictions
A child operating an ATV that is too large for him/her
Young operator without adequate adult supervision
Inexperienced riders. This is a common problem when individuals rent an ATV when on vacation and do not receive adequate training. Experience and skill matter in riding safely. Statistics show that someone who has less experience riding an ATV within the first month is 13 times more likely to have an accident than an experienced rider. Children or teenagers may take chances because they do not understand the risks involved.
Passengers carried on an ATV designed for a single rider. Most ATVs are designed for a single rider. In some cases, a passenger cannot shift their weight as effectively as the driver and will throw the vehicle off-balance.
Operating on trails that are above the operator’s skill level or in unfamiliar areas or terrain
Driving on a paved road. ATVs are for off-road use and do not handle well on pavement.
Operator under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Performing dangerous stunts and maneuvers
Malfunctioning steering or brakes
Poorly designed or manufactured vehicles
Injuries Caused by Nevada ATV Accidents
ATV accidents can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries.
The most common injuries are traumatic brain injury (TBI), traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), internal organ injury, and fractures.
Traumatic brain injuries. These injuries are the leading cause of death and permanent brain damage in ATV crashes. Riding without a helmet or using a helmet that fails to meet performance standards is a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. In recent tests, 62.8 percent of the helmets were not properly labeled, and 43.1 percent of the helmets failed the performance tests. The helmets provided to children are often not fitted correctly, which makes them ineffective.
Head injuries. These include injuries to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head.
Internal organ injuries. Often, the force of the impact throws the rider from the vehicle, or they may strike the handlebars or suffer other violent blows to the abdominal area or back.
Broken ribs. Rib fractures can puncture the kidneys, liver, or lungs.
Back injuries and spinal cord damage. Spinal trauma that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one more of the vertebrae can cause long-term or permanent damage. Lack of restraints, protective clothing, and adequate padding in ATV and motorcycle helmets greatly increase the incidence of both traumatic head and spinal cord injuries in these accidents.
Limb injuries, some of which may include amputation.
Nevada ATV Accidents and Children
Children and teens love the thrills and adventure of off-road ATV events. However, approximately 30 percent of ATV accident fatalities are individuals under the age of 16. In the last ten years, the number of children killed in ATV accidents increased by 88 percent. Children and young teenagers are often not aware of the dangers of these vehicles. An adult who allows a child to ride an ATV without a parent’s permission may be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Who Is Responsible for a Nevada ATV Accident?
The person or entity responsible for your accident depends on the circumstances. Many ATV accidents are the result of negligence, which means a “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
The four basic elements of negligence are that the defendant must have had a duty to the injured person, breached that duty, which caused an accident, and consequently, the injured person suffered damages.
Even if a single-vehicle accident injured you, you may file a product liability claim. If the ATV or a vehicle component was defective, such as tires, brakes, steering mechanism, throttle, or protective equipment, a product liability claim might be the appropriate remedy.
At first glance, accidents may seem to stem from operator error but equipment defects actually caused them. When assessing liability, your attorney will want to consider whose ATV you were riding; were you operating it on public or private property; was another person’s actions involved in the accident, and was the ATV defective or the subject of a recall.
Those potentially liable may include:
The ATV driver,
The ATV owner,
The ATV maintenance company,
The ATV helmet manufacturer.
If a damaged or badly maintained trail caused the accident, the person or organization responsible for maintaining the path could be accountable.
The ATV manufacturer if the ATV was defective or unsafe to drive
Nevada ATV Accident FAQs
When you think about ATVs, you probably think of exciting trailblazing, not devastating accidents. ATVs are a popular form of recreation and transportation in Nevada and all across the United States. ATVs may appear safe, with big tires and a wide body, but riding an ATV can be dangerous.
ATV accidents can cause serious or fatal injuries. The personal and financial toll is enormous. If an ATV accident injured you, you may need help to pay your bills. There are time limits or statute of limitations to filing a claim, so you should consult the experienced Nevada ATV accident attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC as soon as possible.
How does Nevada law define ATVs?
All-terrain vehicles (ATV) are a type of off-highway recreational vehicle with three or four wheels. Nevada law defines them as “a motor vehicle that is designed primarily for off-highway and all-terrain use. The term includes, but is not limited to: (a) An all-terrain vehicle; (b) An all-terrain motorcycle; (c) A dune buggy; (d) A snowmobile; and (e) Any motor vehicle used on public lands for the purpose of recreation.”
What is the law in Nevada regarding ATVs?
ATV riders must abide by the laws, primarily for safety. Also, if someone who fails to abide by the regulations while operating an ATV may be liable for the accident and injuries.
You must register your ATV and display the registration decal on the vehicle. Some exceptions to this requirement include an ATV registered or certified in another state and in Nevada for not more than 15 days;
You don’t need to have a driver’s license to operate an ATV. However, Nevada ATV operators must receive a certificate of operation to drive an ATV on highways.
Drivers cannot operate vehicles specifically designated for off-highway use, which most ATVs are, on public streets or highways.
Nevada’s law does not require insurance for ATVs or any other off-highway vehicle. However, if you are financing an ATV, the lending institution may require insurance.
You must be at least 16 years old to operate an ATV.
Unless a rider is operating an ATV on the highway, wearing a helmet is not required (although experts strongly recommend it.) However, some privately owned areas do require that all riders wear helmets, so you should check out any restrictions before riding in a privately-owned area.
Where can people ride an ATV in Nevada?
There are many areas of desert land in which you may operate an ATV. There is a great deal of federal land in Nevada, in fact nearly 85 percent is owned federally, and many locations regulate ATV use, so it is best to check out the rules before riding.
Can you file a claim for an ATV accident in Nevada?
If you’re injured in an ATV accident in Nevada, depending on the facts, there are various claims that you might have the right to pursue to recover compensation. The primary issue is who is at fault for the accident. Driver negligence is a significant cause of ATV accidents. If you are a passenger on an ATV, you may have a claim against the driver. If you were riding someone else’s ATV, you might have a claim against the owner. Another important question is, what insurance coverage, if any, is available.
Even though operators drive ATVs on all types of terrain, dangerous areas such as steep drop-offs, potholes, blind corners, and other hazards can lead to an accident. The landowner or person responsible for maintaining the trail could be responsible.
Product liability claims are the basis for some accident cases. ATV manufacturers have a legal duty to make sure that vehicles are safe for their intended use. If the vehicle, or any component of the vehicle, is defective, designers and manufacturers may be liable.
People are often concerned about going to trial. Many personal liability cases settle out of court. However, if the parties can’t reach a settlement agreement, they may have to proceed to trial.
What type of compensation might you receive for a Nevada ATV accident?
Some accidents result in permanent, life-altering injuries. You and your family face physical and emotional suffering. You may lose the ability to work temporarily or permanently. Meanwhile, you face immense medical bills. You could have the right to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
What if I signed a waiver before my Nevada ATV accident?
Before undertaking a potentially risky activity like riding an ATV, many people, including visitors to the Las Vegas and Reno areas, sign a liability waiver indicating that they assume the risk of injury or death. Such waivers contain language stating that you cannot seek damages, even if the injury arises from the operator’s negligence. Companies that operate ATV tours or rent ATVs may ask you to sign a waiver before allowing you to participate in the activity.
In Nevada, a liability waiver constitutes an enforceable contract if:
The average person can easily understand it;
Its terms are clearly legible and not buried in fine print or obscured; and
It does not attempt to waive liability for something more than ordinary negligence, such as gross negligence.
Ordinary negligence exists when a person or entity fails to fulfill a legal duty and fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would act under similar circumstances.
Gross negligence generally constitutes the failure to take even a slight degree of care. It is a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Depending on the circumstances, a Nevada waiver of liability may be enforceable if it excuses someone from ordinary negligence—but it cannot excuse gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts. What’s the difference? Call us to find out which standard applies in your case.
In addition, in Nevada, minors cannot enter into a liability waiver.
What evidence might support your Nevada ATV accident case?
If an ATV accident injured you, seek medical care without delay. Many injuries do not show symptoms immediately, and prompt medical care may prevent worsening injuries. When you consult with an attorney, bring as much information as you have, including police reports, copies of medical bills, photographs or videos of the accident scene or your injuries, and contact information for witnesses. Preserve such evidence because documents go astray and witnesses’ memories fade as time passes.
What is the statute of limitations for Nevada ATV accidents?
In Nevada, the statute of limitations for ATV injuries is two years. There are some exceptions to this rule, so it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
How can your Nevada ATV accident attorneys help me?
Were you injured in an ATV accident? Even if you have signed a waiver of liability, you may still be entitled to compensation. At Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, an experienced, compassionate Nevada ATV attorney can explain your legal options, gather the necessary evidence, and work to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
Did You Suffer an Injury in a Nevada ATV Accident?
If an ATV accident injured you or someone you loved, speak with an experienced Nevada ATV accident lawyer as soon as possible. There are deadlines for filing claims. The dedicated Nevada personal injury attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC have the skills and experience ATV accident victims need to recover the compensation they deserve. For more information or a free consultation, contact us online or call (702) 382-9797. We are here for you.
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“Benson & Bingham handled my case so quickly and professionally. After my car accident left me hurt and shaken up, Dana and Alexis did everything they could to get my situation back to normal. I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs proper representation.” -Holly H.