From dirt bikes to dune buggies, All-Terrain Vehicles (or ATVs) are fun and exciting. They can also be dangerous, and an ATV accident – such as a wipe-out, the ATV flipping over, or a crash – can cause severe personal injuries requiring weeks or months of recovery.
The most common personal injuries after an ATV accident are:
- Fractures and breaks to the knees, lower legs, ankles, and feet.
- Fractures and breaks to the shoulders and upper arms.
- Head injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to brain damage.
- Injuries to the lower back and spinal column, which in a worst case can cause partial or full paralysis.
- Internal injuries including fractured ribs, organ damage, and internal bleeding – these are some of the most dangerous personal injuries, as they can be fatal if not treated immediately.
When Do I Need a Lawyer After an ATV Accident?
In Ontario, many of your medical expenses after suffering a personal injury in an ATV accident are paid by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, or OHIP. However, OHIP does not cover costs such as drugs, long-term expenses, or loss of income during your recovery time.
With ATVs being used as off-road vehicles, there is some question of whether they are considered motor vehicles under the law. Although all ATVs must be insured – and many ATVs are covered under their owner’s auto insurance policy – the legal landscape after an ATV accident causes a personal injury can be complicated.
In regards to your insurance policy, the circumstances of the accident are of paramount importance. The level of injury and recovery time is used to help determine statutory compensation. Also, if you were injured and failed to wear a helmet, or had been drinking beforehand, this would lower the compensation you would receive. In a worst-case scenario, your insurance provider might declare you to be entirely at fault for the accident or reject your claim on a technicality, leaving you without support and facing a long appeals process.
If medical expenses and lost income are not covered under your insurance policy, one of the biggest questions in terms of compensation is who owns the ATV and whether negligence was involved. In many cases, the owner of the ATV is liable for the compensation regardless of who is driving it, particularly if they were negligent in the vehicle’s maintenance. Likewise, if the ATV was made with defective parts that contributed to the accident, the company that manufactured it would be liable for any harm done.
The best way to navigate this complex legal landscape is to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified personal injury lawyer can determine what compensation is due, ensure that your insurance documents are in order and your claim is filed on time, that you are receiving the correct amount of compensation if your claim is accepted, and if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary, represent you in court to get you the compensation you need.
What Should I Do After an ATV Accident?
For best results after suffering a personal injury in an ATV accident, there are a number of steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries you may have suffered, and ensure that they are documented. If you are on a known ATV trail, get your vehicle off the trail if you can to avoid endangering other drivers.
- Remain on the scene and gather as much information as possible. This includes noting the circumstances of the accident and documenting the scene, including taking pictures. If there is another ATV involved, get the contact and insurance information of its owner. If the police are involved, you will need the contact information of any officers on the scene and a copy of the police report.
- Inform your insurance company of the accident and file a claim.
- Document how your life has been impacted by your personal injuries. This includes any pain and suffering, no matter how small, as well as any impairment to your daily routine, from work to recreation.
Why Lerners after an ATV Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury after an ATV accident, Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our qualified lawyers have the experience with ATV and auto insurance you require to help navigate the legal landscape, and get the compensation you need and deserve. And if you cannot come to us – if you are recovering in the hospital or at home and are unable to travel – we will come to you, as well as provide a free initial consultation.