ATV riding is a thrilling way to explore Florida’s rural and remote areas, but these vehicles can also be hazardous for drivers and passengers alike. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports there were 171 ATV crashes where a driver or passenger suffered incapacitating injuries in a recent year. Sadly, 24 accidents were fatal.
Because ATVs are more difficult to control than other vehicles and lack many safety features, drivers and passengers often suffer severe injuries when crashes occur. If someone else’s negligence contributed to your injury, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Here, the personal injury lawyers at Brooks Law Group explain what to do after an ATV accident. Call or contact us today to learn your legal rights in a free case evaluation.
Florida ATV Laws
Here are the most important regulations you should know before riding an ATV in Florida:
- ATV operators must be licensed.
- An ATV is defined as any off-highway vehicle with a motor 55 inches or less in width, has a dry weight of 1,500 pounds or less, is designed to ride on three or more low-pressure tires, and is made for recreational use by one or more people.
- Any ATV driver or passenger under age 16 must wear eye protection and a helmet meeting U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards.
- Anyone under age 16 using an ATV must be supervised by an adult.
- ATVs cannot be used on public roads, streets, or highways unless permitted by the state or federal agency managing those roads.
- Any ATV crash resulting in the death of a rider or passenger, or that results in a rider or passenger having to be seen by a doctor, must be reported to local authorities.
You can learn more about Florida ATV laws by reading the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Off-Highway Vehicle Guidebook.
Can You File a Legal Claim After an ATV Accident?
Unless you’ve purchased a separate insurance policy related to your ATV, any injuries you sustain will not be covered by your standard Florida auto insurance. However, you may still be able to file a claim against another party to recover compensation for your injuries.
For example, you may have a claim against the property owner where the accident occurred. Alternatively, you could have a valid claim against the rider of another ATV that collided with you. It’s wise to speak with an experienced ATV accident lawyer to determine your next steps.
What Should You Do if You’re in an ATV Accident?
If you were hurt in an ATV accident, here’s what to do next:
- Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention for anyone who is injured.
- Take pictures of any injuries you sustained, the damage to your ATV, and the surrounding area before moving the vehicle.
- Obtain the names, addresses, other contact information, insurance information, vehicle identification numbers (VIN), company name(s), and driver’s license numbers of everyone involved.
- Get names, addresses, and phone numbers for any witnesses.
- Don’t admit fault.
- Talk to an experienced Florida ATV accident lawyer to learn whether you could be entitled to compensation.
- Don’t talk to anyone except your attorney about the wreck.