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What Should You Do if You’re in an ATV Accident?

The Tampa Tribune reported in 2011 on an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) accident involving a 19-year-old boy who tried to pop the clutch on his ATV while it was being towed by a truck. The ATV started and flew into the side of the truck – when the truck stopped but the ATV continued going. The accident happened in Sebring, Florida. The boy was taken to Tampa Bay Hospital. The boy was subsequently released.

ATV Laws

Florida defines an ATV as “any motorized off-highway or all-terrain vehicle 50 inches or less in width, having a dry weight of 900 pounds or less, designed to travel on three or more low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control, and intended for use by a single operator with no passenger.”

Minors younger than 16 who ride an ATV are required to have a safety helmet, eye protection and over-the-ankle boots. Minors younger than 16 must also be supervised by an adult and must have in their possession proof that they passed an approved OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) safety course.

ATV Drivers Must…

  • Not be under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs/medications that impair vision or physical motor condition.
  • Not carry a passenger unless the ATV is designed for an operator and a passenger.
  • If operating the ATV between sunset and sunrise or if visibility is reduced, must display a lighted headlamp and taillamp unless the use of such lights is prohibited by other laws, such as a prohibition on the use of lights when hunting at night.

If a crash results in the death of any person or in the injury of any person – which results in treatment of the person by a physician, the operator of each all-terrain vehicle involved in the crash shall give notice of the crash pursuant to Florida Statutes. Section. 316.066. A Certificate of Title is required. ATVs also require a license

ATV Safety Guidelines

According to the Florida Off-Highway Vehicle Safety and Recreation safety includes:

  • Always ride within your abilities.
  • Dress to spill- wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Travel in a group of two or more riders.
  • One rider per machine (unless the machine is designed for two).
  • Riders under 16 years old should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Do not ride a machine that is too big for you.
  • Always provide someone with a ride plan. This should include where and when you are riding, as well as a return time and date.
  • Be in shape to take all the punishments a trail will offer. Be prepared to walk out in case of breakdown.
  • Prepare for the unexpected- your emergency kit should include the items in the Trip Planning Checklist.
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving.
  • Do not drink alcohol and ride.
  • Obey all traffic and information signs.

Where to Ride Near Tampa

ATVs are not permitted to be operated on the public roads, streets or highways. The State of Florida does provide trails for riding ATVs. Some of the trails near Tampa are:

  • Big Cypress National Preserve (Ochopee, FL)
  • Croom Motorcycle Area (Brooksville, FL),
  • Quick Track Motorcross (Lakeland, FL)
  • Sunshine Motorcross (St. Petersburg, FL)

In case of an accident

Follow rules for car accidents:

  1. Check to see if everyone is okay.
  2. Call police and/or 911.
  3. Obtain the names, address, other contact information, insurance information, vehicle license plate numbers, vehicle identification numbers (VIN), company name(s) and driver’s license numbers of everyone involved
  4. Get names, address and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
  5. Photograph the scene before vehicles have moved.
  6. See a doctor right away. Be sure anyone on your bike also sees a physician.
  7. Don’t apologize. Don’t admit fault.
  8. Preserve as much evidence as you can.
  9. While everything is still fresh in your mind, write down everything you can remember about the crash, including what you were doing, where you were going, the people you were with, the time, the weather conditions, and anything else that comes to mind.
  10. Consult with an attorney.
  11. Do not talk to anyone except your doctor or attorney about the accident or your injuries.
  12. Do not sign anything unless you completely understand what you’re signing and it has been explained to you and explained to you by your attorney.
  13. Do not accept any settlement offer without first consulting with an attorney.

Special considerations for ATV accidents. Many of these accidents involve minors.

1. Insurance – Insurance issues for ATV accidents are discussed in another blog.

2. Try to determine the cause of accident.

  1. Rollover
  2. Some obstacle
  3. Rough terrain
  4. Types of vehicles involved.
  5. If minors or adults were involved.
    • Determine if the rider (s)
      • Were wearing a helmet
      • Had eye protection
      • Over the ankle boots
  6. If a minor (someone under the age of minority – 18) was involved determine who the supervising adult or parent is and notify them.
  7. If a minor under 16 was involved determine if they had proof of having taken an approved safety course.
  8. Determine if the ATV had a passenger.

How our law firm can help?

If anyone you know is a victim of an ATV accident or thinks their pain might be someone else’s fault, let our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case. Our team of lawyers works with medical professionals, valuation experts, technical experts and other lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death please call us at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (1-888-936-3264) or email us at: info@brookslawgroup.com.

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