The Legal ABCs on ATVs
I recently had the opportunity to attend the excellent Talk Trauma Conference, hosted by London Health Science Centre. I found the most impactful and inspiring aspect of the conference to be the final speaker of the day, who told the harrowing story of her adolescent son’s long recovery after he was catastrophically injured when he crashed his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on the family farm. The speaker also spoke about the unbelievable toll such an incident has upon her family. The presentation was heart wrenching to say the least and it caused me to reflect on these potentially life altering accidents.
ATVs and other recreational vehicles are a lot of fun. I know this first-hand because I grew up riding them on my family members’ farms throughout my childhood. There is a rush that comes with feeling the power of the vehicle in the open air that was a big draw for me. I still recall the excitement of riding a four-wheeler by myself for the first time.
Unfortunately, the elements that make ATVs so much fun are also those which make them so dangerous. They weigh hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, can be unstable, and often have no roll-bar. As a result, many ATV accidents, even at relatively low speeds, leave the rider with severe injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. This raises a very important question: What do you do if you or someone you know has been injured in an ATV or recreational vehicle accident?
Ontario’s ATV accident law is complicated. If the ATV is insured by a motor vehicle insurance liability policy, the injured party may be eligible for benefits to offset expenses like medical and rehabilitation costs, and income loss. However and unfortunately, some ATVs are uninsured. This creates a complicated scenario, where the injured person must look to another insurance policy for benefits. In many cases, no other policy can be accessed.
In the event that someone else was at fault for the ATV accident, whether fully or partially, the injured person may also commence a lawsuit against that person for their damages. The injured person may be able to recover lost income, medical and therapy expenses, and compensation for their pain and suffering.
It is essential that someone who is injured in an ATV accident contacts a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This will ensure that their legal rights are protected while the injured person focuses on their rehabilitation.