ATV riding is one of Somerset County’s most popular outdoor recreational activities. In fact, it is one of the most popular activities across the state of Pennsylvania as well. Unfortunately, according to the most recent available data, Pennsylvania is fourth on the list of states with the highest number of ATV accident fatalities.
There is widespread awareness of the dangers of ATVs, especially when it comes to children driving ATVs. Pennsylvania has ATV laws, but they are not as strict as some other states. For example, children are allowed to operate ATVs (with some specified restrictions including those related to engine size) without a state safety certificate so long as they are on their parents’ property. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not care about safety certificates or engine size restrictions as they recommend that no child under the age of 16 operate an ATV.
Pennsylvania ATV laws
Pennsylvania requires that ATV operators wear helmets and children under 8 years old are not permitted to operate an ATV on state owned property. Children ages 8 to 15 may only operate an ATV on their parent or guardian’s property unless they take an ATV safety course and receive a safety training certificate. 8 and 9 year olds are limited to operating an ATV with an engine size of 70cc or less. Insurance coverage is required for ATVs that are operated anywhere outside of the owner’s property. These are just several of a number of Pennsylvania’s ATV laws and municipal ordinances may call for other ATV laws in addition to state laws.
Common causes and factors in ATV accidents
- Dangerous property or trail conditions
- ATV defect
- Inexperienced operator
- Lack of safety training
- Negligent operation
- Another driver’s negligent operation
- Negligent supervision
- Too many riders at once
- Operator under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Types of ATV injuries
ATVs are dangerous because of their high center of gravity and propensity to roll over. ATVs may become easily unbalanced, especially when there is more than one rider. Injuries due to being thrown from the vehicle or pinned under an overturned vehicle include cuts and lacerations, dislocations, broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, other back and neck problems, and death. Severe injuries can cause paralysis and limited brain function requiring long term treatment and medical care.
Our ATV accident lawyers at SMT Legal know how physically, emotionally, and financially devastating ATV injuries can be for the injured person and his or her family. If your ATV accident injuries were caused by someone else’s fault, you deserve to be compensated. Common injury and damages recovery includes property damage, medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. When ATV accidents result in fatalities, wrongful death claims and/or survival actions may be available in order to compensate the decedent’s estate and his or her close family members.