An Experienced Minnesota ATV Accident Lawyer Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions
June 15, 2023 – Paul W. Schroepfer & Robert A. Correia
Are you a Minnesotan who enjoys outdoor adventures on ATVs (all-terrain vehicles)? ATVs have become increasingly popular in our state, particularly over the past three years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand and share the desire to get outside, breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature in a way only an ATV can provide. Unfortunately, as reported by MPR News on December 2, 2022, the popularity of ATVs took a human toll over the past three years, with 67 Minnesotans dying in ATV accidents. Tragically, out of the 67 lives lost, 12 were children under the age of 18. These harrowing statistics demonstrate that ATV accidents can occur despite safety measures, raising various legal issues and questions.
With this in mind, our ATV accident lawyer at Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A., has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive about ATV accidents. Read on as we discuss the risks and common causes, safety precautions, and how we help our clients who have suffered in ATV accidents protect their rights and pursue fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
Have you or a loved one sustained severe injuries in an ATV accident? Call us at (612) 333-3343 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. When we’re done, you’ll understand your rights, you will know your options and the best game plan for pursuing justice for your case.
Most Frequently Asked Questions About ATV Accidents
1. What Causes ATV Crashes?
Because they are designed for riding on rough and unpredictable terrain, ATVs pose significant danger if not handled responsibly. Common causes of ATV accidents include:
- Poor visibility due to weather conditions: ATV riders need to be especially aware of their surroundings when visibility is poor due to weather conditions such as fog, rain, or snow.
- Riding on unfamiliar terrain: ATV riders should be familiar with the terrain they are riding on before operating an ATV. Riding on unfamiliar terrain can lead to crashes due to hidden obstacles or unexpected changes in the terrain.
- Speeding: ATV riders should always operate their vehicle at a safe speed. Speeding increases the risk of crashing, making it more difficult to control the ATV.
- Alcohol use: Alcohol use is a leading cause of ATV crashes. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, making it difficult to operate an ATV safely.
- Lack of safety gear: ATV riders should always wear appropriate safety gear, such as helmets, goggles, and protective clothing. Wearing safety gear can help to prevent injuries in the event of a crash.
- Mechanical Defects: Unfortunately, many ATV injuries are sustained due to poorly designed, assembled, or manufactured ATVs which can lead to serious injuries and fires. ATV riders should always exercise due diligence in maintaining any ATV and inspecting it prior to each use.
Proper training, using safety gear like helmets and protective clothing, and following the manufacturer’s guidelines for operation can all help prevent accidents. In Minnesota, ATV operators born after July 1, 1987, must complete an approved safety course before riding on public lands.
2. How Common are ATV Accidents?
As noted, ATV accidents in Minnesota have become increasingly common over the past three years, primarily due to the pandemic. With numerous off-road trails and a vast network of interconnected lakes, our state is an attractive destination for recreational off-road riders, contributing to many accidents. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there were 23 fatalities and 318 injuries related to ATV accidents in 2020 alone.
3. What are the Risks of an ATV Accident, And How Do I Protect Myself While Riding an ATV?
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 100,000 ATV-related injuries and 700 deaths occur yearly in the U.S. ATV accident risks include head and neck injuries, broken bones, fires, and even death. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as gloves, eye goggles, and sturdy shoes, to protect yourself while riding an ATV. Consider taking a Minnesota ATV safety course to learn vital skills like controlling the vehicle, assessing potential hazards, and never riding an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol. By following these precautions and being aware of the risks, you can enjoy the thrill of ATV riding and remain safe.
4. What Should I do Immediately After an ATV Accident Happens to me or a Loved One?
The first few ensuing minutes are critical if you or a loved one are involved in an ATV accident. Immediately assess injuries and call for medical help. Even if you feel fine, obtain a medical evaluation from a professional to detect any hidden injuries. If possible, move the ATV to the side of the road or trail to prevent further accidents, then file a police report, exchange contact information with any other parties involved, and take photos/videos. ATV accidents can inflict trauma on everyone involved, but taking the proper steps can help ensure the best possible outcome.
5. How Can I Tell If I Have a Valid Case to Pursue Legal Action?
If you’ve been involved in an ATV accident, you may wonder if you have a valid case to pursue legal action. First, consider whether someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident. Were there any rules or laws broken that contributed to the incident? Did someone fail to maintain equipment or engage in reckless behavior? What is the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life? Have you lost wages because you cannot work? Seeking legal advice from a Minneapolis personal injury attorney can help you determine if your case is valid and your potential options.
6. How Can an ATV Accident Lawyer Help me Recover Damages From the Other Party Involved?
ATV accidents can cause severe injuries and significant property damage, leaving you to cope with the consequences. As a legal professional, an ATV accident lawyer has the knowledge and experience to evaluate your case, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement with the other party’s insurance company. When you hire an ATV accident lawyer, you can focus on your healing and recovery while they handle the legal aspects of your case.
7. What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect to Receive If I Have Been Injured in an ATV Accident?
First, you can receive compensation for medical expenses incurred from the accident, including:
- Emergency services
- Physical therapy
Secondly, you can expect compensation for lost wages and any future loss of earning potential. Lastly, you may be entitled to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. However, every case differs, and compensation depends on the severity of the injuries and other factors. Seeking the help of an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney can help ensure you receive just compensation.
8. If a Family Member Has Been Killed in An ATV Accident, What Rights Do I Have Under The Law?
Losing a family member is never easy, but losing them in an ATV accident can be devastating. Knowing your rights under the law is critical if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. Consult with a knowledgeable, experienced ATV attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to purse compensation for both the economic and human loss of a loved one.. While nothing can undo the tragedy of losing a loved one, understanding your family’s legal rights can at least help ease the financial burden during this difficult time.
9. Are There Any Special Laws Related to ATV Accidents That May Affect My Case?
Minnesota has several ATV laws that can significantly impact your personal injury case. ATV riders must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license unless supervised by someone over 18. ATV riders under 18 must wear a helmet. Minnesota law also requires riders to stay on designated trails and strictly prohibits driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although these laws may seem straightforward, they can create complexities in a personal injury case. Seeking the guidance of an experienced ATV accident attorney well-versed in Minnesota’s ATV laws helps ensure that you receive fair compensation.
10. What Mistakes Should I Avoid When Dealing with Insurance Companies After an ATV Accident?
Dealing with insurance companies following an ATV accident can be daunting, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the process. Remember, as a for-profit business, the insurance company aims to minimize payouts. To avoid costly mistakes:
- Do not admit fault in the accident, as this can impact your ability to receive compensation for your injuries
- Do not sign any settlement documents or agree to any settlement offers without consulting with an attorney or reviewing the terms closely.
As we mentioned, gather as much evidence as possible immediately following the accident, including taking photos, videos, and obtaining witness statements to support your claim.
11. How Long will it Take to Get Results From My ATV Accident Case?
The aftermath of an ATV accident can cause significant stress and trauma, and it’s natural to want to know how long it will take to obtain results. While the answer may vary based on the specifics of your case, multiple factors can impact the timeline, including:
- The extent of your injuries
- The complexity of the case
- The court schedule
Rest assured that with the help of an experienced attorney, you can work towards a fair and timely resolution. At every step, you’ll have someone on your side fighting for your interests and working tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.
12. How Important is it to Hire a Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer with Extensive Experience in Handling ATV Accidents Cases?
Few experiences are as terrifying as an ATV accident, so seeking professional help from a lawyer with extensive experience handling these cases is vital. They can provide valuable insight into the types of compensation you may be entitled to and anticipate potential roadblocks. With compassion and understanding, a Minneapolis personal injury attorney can ease your stress and anxiety as they help you navigate the legal process with confidence and peace of mind.
Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A.: Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results
ATV accidents can have serious, life-altering consequences. It’s essential to understand your rights and what compensation may be available if you or a loved one sustains injuries in a Minnesota ATV accident. At Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A., we work for you. We collaborate with you and fight tirelessly on your behalf for just compensation for your ATV accident. With over 70 years of combined experience, our personal injury attorneys have the experience and skills to pursue justice for you. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from an ATV crash, we can help. Call us at (612) 333-3343 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.
Copyright © 2023. Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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