A rider stepping down from an ATV that has ridden through rough terrain.

With its mountains, rivers, and other scenic areas, Utah is often considered best states for off-roading. The state has rules and regulations to keep off-highway vehicle (OHV) users safe, and Utah has lowest rates of OHV fatalities in the country.  While Utah’s efforts have made OHV riding relatively safe, it’s still possible to suffer a severe injury while off-roading. If another party’s negligence leads to a serious ATV or other OHV accident, you could spend months recovering and missing out on your career and family life.

How Can a Salt Lake City ATV Accident Attorney Help After Your Accident?

An ATV accident can happen in a few seconds. These crashes can be very disorienting, and for many people, it isn’t clear what went wrong or who might have been responsible. Some assume their accident was unavoidable or simply a risk that comes with off-roading. Some people may believe they were responsible, while others wonder if another person or entity could be at fault.

Determining fault is crucial if you have medical bills, lost income, and other damages from the accident. Your ATV accident attorney will review your case and may investigate further to gather evidence and learn what happened. If we find that another party’s negligence caused your accident, we can then pursue compensation.

What If You Can’t Afford an ATV Accident Attorney?

At Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers, we don’t ever want an injured person to think they can’t afford to find out if they have a case or not. That’s why we offer free consultations – we’ll review your accident to identify any potentially liable parties, then explain your options for seeking compensation. If we do take your case, we don’t charge you anything upfront but work on a contingency basis. That means when we win or settle your case, we’ll take an agreed-upon fee from the final settlement.

What If You Can’t Prove Fault in Your Accident?

Never assume you can’t prove fault in your accident until you’ve consulted an attorney. In many cases, our investigators are able to find additional evidence to demonstrate the responsible party’s culpability. However, evidence can be lost or destroyed over time, so please get legal advice as soon as possible.

Is It Possible For Two Parties to Share Fault in an ATV Accident?

Yes. Utah uses modified comparative negligence rules for personal injury cases, including ATV accidents. As long as the injured party is less than 50 percent responsible for their injuries, they can recover damages from the other party, but these are reduced by the injured person’s degree of fault. If you were 10 percent at fault, you would lose 10 percent from your final award, for example.

In many ways, modified comparative negligence is helpful to plaintiffs (injured parties seeking relief in the court system). Unlike in contributory negligence states, one small mistake will not completely bar you from recovery. If you have a skilled attorney, they can show that your share of fault is minimal, and you may be able to recover a significant portion of your damages.

However, sometimes we meet people who really didn’t contribute to the accident at all, yet the other party or the relevant insurance company claims they did. This is an aspect of modified comparative negligence that insurance companies try to take advantage of. If the facts of your accident are unclear, they may claim that you were all or mostly at fault. If successful, this strategy could relieve them of having to pay you anything. If not, they may still be able to reduce the damages they owe you by shifting some percentage of responsibility to you. The best way to prevent this from happening is to seek help from an ATV accident lawyer.

Who Decides Fault in an ATV Accident?

In a court case, a judge or jury will ultimately decide fault in a Salt Lake City personal injury claim, but most of these cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will negotiate with the other party or their insurance carrier in the hopes of achieving a fair settlement. When this is possible, it can save you a lot of time and stress versus a lengthy trial.

One of the benefits of collecting as much evidence as possible and building a strong case for a potential trial is that it helps us negotiate with the other party or insurance company. Often when they understand what a strong case we have, they will agree to a reasonable settlement. However, if the other party is unwilling to make a fair agreement, we can proceed to trial and fight for your right to compensation.

Who Might Be At Fault in an ATV Accident?

Depending on the specifics of the accident, there may be a number of potentially liable parties in your ATV accident. Sometimes people assume an accident is the driver’s fault or no one’s fault, but there could be other possibilities. Here are some examples:

  • Where did the accident occur? If it happened on private property due to a hazard – an unexpected hole in the ground or obstacle on a trail, for example – the property owner might be liable. In some situations, the property owner’s insurance may cover the accident, but this is highly dependent on the facts of your case.
  • Did you rent an ATV from a business? Many businesses rent ATVs or other OHVs to tourists looking to explore the area. Typically they will ask customers to sign a waiver or release indicating the business is not responsible for injuries or damage in an ATV accident. However, it’s important to understand that a waiver doesn’t cover every possible situation where a person might get hurt on an ATV. The business still has a responsibility to provide the customer with a reasonably safe product – in this case, the ATV. If your accident happened because the ATV was in poor condition and should have been fixed prior to use, the business could still be liable.
  • Are there other drivers involved? Sometimes we see collisions between two ATVs or OHVs, and in other cases, ATVs on public roads may be struck by a car. If we find evidence that the other driver caused the accident, we can seek compensation from their liability insurance. In these situations, it’s important that you speak with an attorney right away because the other driver and/or their insurance carrier may blame you for the collision. If there are no witnesses or differing recollections of what happened, it will be essential that we locate other types of evidence before they’re gone.
  • Was there an unexpected problem with your ATV that caused the crash? Occasionally we find that a defect in the ATV or one of its components led to a mechanical failure that caused an accident. If a defective product is to blame, we may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer. Occasionally there may also be a potential claim against a manufacturer of safety equipment, such as helmets or goggles, if it fails to work as promised, causing the user to suffer more severe injuries.

Will Your Own ATV Insurance Cover Your Injuries and Property Damage?

Possibly. It depends on the specific type of policy and its limit. A liability policy covers your liability to others – for example, if you hit someone while riding your ATV – but not your own injuries. However, if your policy includes Medical Payments coverage (MedPay), you can use that for your medical bills up to the policy limit. Collision coverage should apply to property damage, such as repairing or replacing your damaged ATV.

Can You Drive an ATV on the Road in Utah?

In some cases, yes, but your ATV must be “street legal,” and you can only drive on public roads that indicate OHV use is allowed. As of January 1, 2023, anyone who wants to ride an OHV on public roads, trails, or lands must take an education course first. OHVs include ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles.

What Are the Requirements to Make an ATV Street Legal?

Your ATV must have safety features, including headlamps that meet certain specifications, taillights, rear reflectors, turning signals, a horn, and more. There are also requirements for the size of the seats and tire tread depth.

Once you believe your ATV meets the standards, you will need to submit it for a safety inspection. If anything doesn’t fit the criteria, you can fix the issue and have it inspected again.

After passing the inspection, you are required to register your ATV if you plan to drive it on any public street. You’ll be given a license plate similar to those used on motorcycles, and you’ll need to buy liability insurance that meets state requirements before driving on any roads.

Get Help From a Salt Lake City ATV Accident Law Firm

If you or a loved one have been injured in an ATV accident, it can be difficult to determine fault or get an insurance company to honor their policy. Please contact Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation about your accident. Call 801-810-9999, and we will review your case, identify any liable parties and insurance coverage, and explain your options for pursuing damages.

Questions you might have in your mind

So you met with your insurance provider, but you aren’t satisfied with the amount your insurance company wants to hand over to you after a car accident. What do you…

There are times when, despite your best efforts, an insurance company just won’t make an offer large enough for you to cover everything you need. So what do you do?…

Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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