Summer has arrived! And with it, outdoor enthusiasts are getting out their boats, water-skis, bikes and…. off-road vehicles! The use of off-road recreational vehicles, such as ATVs, for fun and recreation has increased dramatically over the years. It is also not unusual to see such vehicles on public roadways, and for these vehicles to be driven by young people including minors. Over the years, technological advances have made cars and SUVs safer to drive. At the same time, our society’s outdoor recreational culture has given rise to an increasing number of rollovers, crashes, and alcohol-related incidents involving ATVs, especially in the summer months. In my own practice, I am often contacted by individuals who have sustained brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other kinds of catastrophic trauma following an ATV accident.
Off-road vehicles are, in fact, regulated, although there has been a great deal of confusion as to whether they are subject to the same insurance programs as cars. The Off-Road Vehicles Act and its regulations prescribe rules for ownership, use and operation of such vehicles as ATVs. Do you or someone you know use an ATV for recreational purposes? If so, see my article that summarizes the obligations of owners, drivers and passengers. For example, if you are in an accident, you may be entitled to certain auto accident benefits that will cover your income loss, medical and rehabilitation costs. In addition, as a driver, you can be charged with careless driving in the same manner that a driver of a car may be charged.