| Read Time: 7 minutes | Personal Injury

As ATV use has been increasing in popularity throughout Arizona, including the Phoenix area, so have the number of devastating accidents and severe injuries that often result from these tragic crashes. Even when ATV riders use proper gear, they can still be at risk of suffering catastrophic harm due to these collisions or rollover accidents.

Before you head out on your ATV, understand the dangers of using these vehicles, the safety precautions you should take before getting on an ATV, and the actions you should take if you are involved in a collision due to another person’s wrongful actions.

Reach out to an ATV accident lawyers if you have recently been involved in an accident due to someone’s wrongful actions.

Why Are ATVs so Dangerous?

An ATV is a motorized vehicle designed for dirt roads, not paved highways or roads. These vehicles usually have four balloon-style tires and a seat in the middle, which the rider will need to straddle while steering the vehicle with the handlebars.

However, because these ATVs weigh approximately 600 pounds, have powerful engines reaching speeds of 65mph or more, and have a high center of gravity, they can be easily tipped. When this happens, riders and passengers can easily get thrown off the ATV, or the ATV can roll on top of them. In addition, because these vehicles usually do not have seatbelts, safety cages, or roll bars, these accidents can result in fatal injuries.

Common Injuries Resulting From an ATV Accident

Although an ATV accident can lead to several different injuries, these accidents often produce:

  • Broken bones, including arms, fingers, legs, ankles, elbows, and toes
  • Skull fractures
  • Spinal cord damage and paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Limb amputation
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Severe lacerations
  • Extensive bruising
  • Wrongful Death

Who Should Not Ride an ATV

Arizona imposes no age restrictions for driving an ATV. However, children under the age of 16 should be supervised at all times, and children and parents should follow all manufacturer minimum age recommendations.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend ATV use for children 16 years and younger due to the risks involved with using these vehicles. ATVs can often be too large for smaller kids to handle safely. And because operating these vehicles requires quick decisions such as shifting weight, slowing down, or speeding up in response to the environment, those under 16 are unlikely to make these decisions in time or have the skills to carry them out.

Phoenix Riding Laws

If you are planning on hitting the trails in Phoenix on your ATV, following state laws may keep you safe on your vehicle and prevent accidents.

These riding laws include:

  • ATV travel is limited to trails, roads, and specific areas which are designated for ATV use by the land management agency.
  • ATV travel that results in damage to riparian areas, wildlife habitats, natural and cultural resources, or property and improvements is prohibited.
  • Reckless ATV operation is prohibited.
  • The removal of regulatory signs or placement of these signs is prohibited.
  • The use of an ATV to harass wildlife is unlawful.

Individuals under 18 years old should not operate or ride an Off-Highway Vehicle unless they are wearing a protective headgear that is fitted and fastened properly, designed for motorized vehicle use, and has a minimum United States Department of Transportation Safety Rating.

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Other Safety Requirements You Need to Keep in Mind

Outside of the state laws, you should also know what the recommended safety guidelines are when it comes to ATV use:

  • Wear protective gear, stay prepared, follow safety guidelines and always bring enough water.
  • Always alert a responsible individual about where you are traveling and when you will be back.
  • Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Try not to ride alone, but instead, go with others or consider riding with a club.
  • Never have a passenger with you if you are on a single-rider vehicle.
  • If children under the age of 16 ride, they should be supervised by an adult.
  • Make sure to read the owner’s manual regarding ATV use.
  • Check over your ATV before each trip.
  • Take a safety training course to learn how to operate your ATV safely.
  • Only ride an ATV that is right for your size and age.
  • Only ride during daylight hours.
  • Always operate your ATV at a safe speed on a designated ATV trail.
  • Know basic first aid and how to get help in an emergency.

Type of Gear You Should Wear

In addition, to the proper actions you take on these ATVs, you should also make sure you wear:

  • A U.S. DOT-approved helmet
  • Gloves
  • Proper eye protection
  • Long-sleeved jacket or shirt
  • Over-the-ankle boots to help prevent scrapes and cuts
  • Long pants

Riding ATVs in Phoenix

If you ride in Phoenix or the surrounding areas:

  • Do not wear camouflage clothing.
  • Carry a silver-sided space blanket, a bright trash bag, flares, first-aid kid, snacks, and a cell phone.
  • Make sure you equip your tow vehicle with a survival kit and stow extra water.
  • Check lubricants, fluids, coolant levels, fan belts, and hoses.
  • Bring extra clothes, including rain gear, pants, and a sweater.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Pack a pocket knife and water purification tablets.
  • Bring waterproof matches as well as a lighter.

Traveling in the Backcountry Tips

For those who take ATVs on infrequently traveled roads and trails, including the backcountry:

  • Try to provide a map of the area where you will be traveling to someone you know.
  • Try not to go ATVing alone, as two people are always better than one when getting a vehicle unstuck, guiding a driver through tight spots, or getting out of challenging jams.
  • Make sure to take at least one gallon of water per day, per person, and five extra gallons with you.
  • If you get stuck, stay with the vehicle and only walk if you know exactly where you are and how far it is to get help.

Drinking and Riding

Unfortunately, drinking and riding an ATV is nothing new. Due to the freedom often involved with riding an ATV, many drivers decide that they can have a cold alcoholic beverage before hitting the road on their ATV.

However, many fail to realize that it is against the law to operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is considered a DUI accident if one should occur. This is because drugs and alcohol can impair reasoning skills, muscle coordination, brain function, and thinking—abilities required to operate an ATV safely.

Mine Shafts

In Arizona, thousands of open mind shafts exist, and sadly around 30 individuals pass away every day from an incident involving mine land features. That is why as you are operating your ATV in the open areas and on trails, you must keep an eye out for these shafts as accidents continue to occur on these abandoned mine lands.

Common Phoenix ATV Accidents and Your Legal Options

Even though ATV accidents can occur for many reasons, some of the more common causes of these tragic accidents include:

  • Operating the ATV at excessive speeds
  • Not maintaining the vehicle properly
  • ATV defects
  • Operating an ATVs on dangerous roads and terrains or unfamiliar trails
  • Inexperienced riders
  • Operating the ATV carelessly or performing reckless stunts
  • Failing to follow the laws of the state

This list contains some of the more common causes of ATV accidents in Phoenix. However, if you suffered harm in an ATV accident due to another person’s wrongful actions for a reason not indicated above, do not let this stop you from reaching out to an ATV accident attorney. These lawyers can not only review the circumstances of your accident and determine if you have a viable case, but they can also figure out the legal options you should pursue.

Determining Liability in a Phoenix ATV Accident

If a Phoenix ATV accident harmed you, you may hold numerous parties liable for the injuries and losses you endured, including:

  • The other at-fault ATV driver.
  • The manufacturers or designer of the ATV or the defective part that caused the accident
  • The driver of the ATV, if the injured individual was a passenger on the ATV, and the driver was operating the vehicle negligently or recklessly.
  • Property owners, if the area contained hazardous conditions that caused the ATV accident.

Yet, if you want to determine who you can hold liable for your harm and injuries following an ATV accident, it is usually recommended you reach out to an experienced Phoenix ATV accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can look into what happened and who caused the accident, then hold these individuals accountable for the harm and losses suffered.

What Financial Damages Can You Pursue After Your Phoenix ATV Accident?

Suppose you endured severe injuries in a Phoenix ATV accident because of another individual’s wrongful action.

In that case, you may pursue financial damages, including economic and non-economic damages, which include payments for:

  • Medical bills resulting from doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency services, medications, assistive medical devices, and surgeries
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
  • Personal property damages
  • Replacement domestic services
  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Reputation loss
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

As a result, if you want to figure out which of these damages may apply to your case, you should discuss your ATV accident with an experienced ATV attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can determine which of these damages may apply to your legal claim, create the most convincing legal arguments on your behalf, and help you go after the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

Work With an Experienced Phoenix ATV Accident Attorney and Fight for the Justice You Deserve

Although ATVs are a fantastic way to explore Phoenix and the surrounding areas with your friends and family, these vehicles are not without risks. Those involved in an ATV crash can be left with debilitating injuries, extensive pain, and medical bills that can forever change their life.

That is why if you suffered injuries in an ATV accident because of another person’s reckless, intentional, or negligent actions, you should reach out to an experienced Phoenix ATV accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Once hired, your lawyers can:

  • Go over the facts of your ATV accident, figure out if you have a valid legal case, and determine what legal action you can take.
  • Answer all the questions you have regarding the accident and your legal options.
  • Thoroughly analyze the accident and secure the evidence necessary to prove fault and the extent of your damages.
  • Make sure that legal files and motions are prepared correctly and submitted to the appropriate court before time expires.
  • Hire experts to validate your claim, including accident specialists, financial experts, medical professionals, and others.
  • Deal with the other side and handle all the settlement discussions
  • Proceed to trial if settlement negations are going south and fight hard for the maximum compensation you need.

Before you get on an ATV, you want to ensure you do everything possible to stay safe. However, even with all these safety precautions, devastating accidents can still happen. For these reasons, if your life or the life of a loved one was disrupted by an ATV accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hutzler Law today for a free case evaluation and find out how these lawyers can help you fight for your rights.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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