When thinking of the risk of automobile injuries, All Terrain Vehicles or ATVs may not immediately come to mind for consideration. However, ATVs made up a considerable amount of the reported deaths in the state of Florida between 1982 and 2014; about 29% according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's report (CPSC), making Florida one of the top 10 states for ATV fatalities. And while ATVs are mostly used recreationally, the risks associated with these off-highway vehicles can be fatal and they are not toys. It is important to protect yourself and your loved ones by staying up to date on safety information both general and specific to your vehicle.
There are many misconceptions about how to operate an ATV safely, as so much of the time, the safety recommendations provided by the ATV safety institute are directly contradicted. Many people believe that there is no need for any sort of training to operate an ATV because there is no license requirement to drive. However, this may not be recommended. In fact, the CPSC recommends that potential drivers of all ages should participate in a hands-on ATV safety course from a certified instructor before driving on their own. Courses are offered by the ATV safety institute, as well as some local ATV rider groups, state agencies, or 4H chapters in our community. It is equally important to remember to maintain and wear riding gear. Your riding gear should always consist of a helmet, but is recommended to include goggles, boots, gloves, long sleeves, and long pants. Additionally, while it is lawful in Florida for children under the age of 16 to operate an ATV with appropriate safety gear and course certification, it is not recommended by the ATV safety institute. With that said, it is not any safer of an option to allow children to ride as passengers with a driver, and it is strongly discouraged. Of course, it is fundamental to follow the general rules of operating any heavy machinery; do not drive drunk, exhausted, or on drugs, etc.
Many insurance companies offer insurance for your ATV, which can protect you in an accident. It can be very helpful for covering the cost of medical expenses and damages to your vehicle. There are also plans that include comprehensive coverage that helps cover the cost of damages caused by something other than a collision, such as a fallen tree or fire. Some companies also offer ATV liability insurance, which helps protect you in the event that you cause an injury or damage to another's property. It is important to note that while you are required by law to have proper title and registration information in the state of Florida, it is not necessary to have insurance on off-road vehicles.
If you or a loved one are injured as a result of reckless driving, you may be entitled to a personal injury claim similar to that in an automobile accident where negligence is suspected. For example, you may be able to pursue damages in instances where an ATV driver is suspected of driving under the influence, without proper training or vehicle maintenance, or in a way that is overly aggressive or extreme. If you have suffered as a result of another's carelessness, a personal injury attorney from our law firm can help. The personal injury attorneys at Moody Law can pursue justice on your behalf.
Though, safety is not only the responsibility of the riders. Manufacturers can be held liable when the product is found to be defective or poorly made. Evidence that an injury or wrongful death was the result of a faulty product such as a failed brake or acceleration system, broken or loose parts, or other breaks can help you make a case against a manufacturer for a product liability claim.
If you have been involved in an ATV accident or have been affected by personal injury through the use of an ATV, please contact the attorneys at Moody Law. We provide a free legal consultation to clients who have been injured or harmed. The attorneys at Moody Law have been serving Central Florida and the surrounding communities of Polk County, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Haines City, for over three decades. If you would like to discuss your claim with an experienced professional and receive advice regarding the steps you can take to ensure your legal rights are protected, please contact our office to arrange a meeting with one of our attorneys. Hospital or home visits can be arranged to accommodate your needs.