Nevada law permits the recovery of damages when someone has been injured in an accident with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or off-highway vehicle (OHV) and the other person is at fault. The process for getting compensation after an ATV injury is the same as for a Nevada car accident, motorcycle accident or truck accident.
If the driver of the ATV was negligent, the injury party is usually entitled to "compensatory damages" for:
- Medical bills,
- Physical therapy bills,
- Long- or short-term care,
- lost wages
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, or
- wrongful death.
Additionally, if the accident was caused due to a defective product (such as the ATV itself or any part), or because the other driver was drunk or reckless or in violation of a Nevada law, the injured person may be entitled to punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
To help you better understand Nevada's laws on ATV accidents, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. How Do I Recover Damages After an ATV Accident?
- 2. How Much Money Can I Get After an ATV Accident?
- 3. Nevada Laws for All-Terrain and Off-Road Vehicles
- 4. How Old Do I Need to Be to Drive an ATV in Nevada?
- 5. Common ATV Injuries in Nevada
- 6. Preventing ATV Injuries in Nevada
- 7. Related Types of Injuries
In Nevada, drivers are responsible for obeying all driving-related laws, including those applicable to all-terrain and off-road vehicles. If a driver fails to obey the law, or is otherwise negligent or reckless, he or she will be liable for getting into an accident.
The injured party can file a lawsuit for "compensatory" damages such as medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering. If the driver was drunk or acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of other riders and pedestrians, the claim may also include punitive damages.
The injured party will usually hire an experienced Nevada personal injury attorney to contact the negligent driver or the driver's insurance company. The lawyer will attempt to settle the claim out-of-court. If an agreement can't be reached, the lawyer will file a lawsuit in a court of appropriate jurisdiction.
In general, lawsuits for ATV accidents must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the accident. Two years is Nevada's statute of limitations for ATV accidents.
The injured party's lawyer will introduce evidence such as:
- The official accident report by the Nevada Highway Patrol or other law enforcement agency,
- Insurance company reports,
- X-rays, MRIs or other test results,
- The testimony of the injured person's doctors, and
- Law enforcement and eyewitness testimony (including that of the injured person).
There is no set rule for how much you can recover if you have been injured in an ATV accident in Nevada.
As long as the other driver is at least 50% to blame for the accident, Nevada's comparative negligence law allows you to recover something.
The jury will first determine what your "compensatory" damages are. Your compensatory damages are usually the sum of:
- Your actual out-of-pocket monetary losses to date (including medical bills and lost wages, if any),
- Costs you are reasonably certain to bear in the future because of your injuries (for instance, future medical bills and lost earnings), and
- "Non-economic" damages (such as disfigurement or pain and suffering).
You may also be entitled to punitive damages if the accident resulted from an intentional act, a drunk driver, a defective product, or a driver who acted in conscious disregard of the safety of others.
If you were partially to blame for the accident, the jury (or judge or insurance adjuster) will reduce the amount of the award by the percentage of your fault.
Example: Joe is riding a motorcycle off-road when he is struck by a stoned ATV driver, Kevin. Joe's shoulder is dislocated and one of his arms sustains compound fractures in several places. He ends up with medical and physical therapy bills totaling approximately $30,000. He also has to miss two months of work, at a net cost (after deducting amounts he received as disability pay) of $5,000.
Joe's Las Vegas injury lawyer sends Kevin's insurance adjuster the statements of several witnesses who say they saw Kevin smoking a bong before getting into the ATV. He also sends photos of Joe's injuries, along with a letter from Joe's therapist in which the therapist lays out the pain and suffering Joe is going through and the likelihood of permanent scars.
As a result of the evidence, Joe's Las Vegas personal injury lawyer is able to negotiate a settlement of $50,000. Joe can either accept the offer, counter-offer for more, or take the case to trial in hopes of doing better.
Our Las Vegas injury attorneys offer free consultations to help people injured in an accident involving an ATV understand whether they have a case and how much they may be able to recover.
If a vehicle was manufactured and designated for “off-road” or “non-road” use only, it may not generally be driven on Nevada public streets or highways -- even if it has safety equipment.1 However, city and county governments may designate small portions of public streets for access to or from off-road areas only.
Additionally, you may drive an ATV on a public street when:
- You are crossing the highway. You must come to a complete stop before crossing.
- You are loading or unloading the off-highway vehicle onto or off of another vehicle or trailer. You must load or unload the vehicle as close as practicable to the place of operation of the off-highway vehicle;
- It is an emergency. You can only do this, however, if it is impossible or impracticable to use another vehicle or if a peace officer directs the operation of the off-highway vehicle.
- You are on a designated highway trail connection. If a portion of the highway is designated as a trail connector for a trail authorized for use by off-highway vehicles, you may drive an ATV on it for not more than 2 miles.2
If you're not sure whether your vehicle is designated for off-road use only, you can usually find the designation in the owner's manual or by a U.S. DOT label attached to the frame of the vehicle. Only two-wheeled motorcycles may be converted to on-road use. Other OHVs may not be converted.
While there are no driver license or minimum age requirements for ATVs operated off-highway in Nevada, some age restrictions or other requirements may apply depending on the county or city in which the ATV is used.
Additionally, all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) and motorcycles operated on public lands must have a muffler, spark arrester and working headlights and taillights for nighttime use. Children under 16 operating off-highway vehicles must be supervised by an adult.
For more information, please visit the Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles "riding" page. And for a list of roads and public lands where you can ride ATVs -- including where to ride an ATV in Las Vegas and Clark County -- please see the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Off-Highway Vehicles page.
Most ATV accidents do not result in death, however there are serious medical problems that can arise from these accidents. Common non-fatal ATV accidents include:
- traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- other brain injuries or permanent concussions,
- catastrophic injuries,
- spinal cord injuries,
- head and neck injuries,
- dislocations, and
- chest and abdominal injuries.
TBI can occur when an ATV rider hits her head during an accident, crash, or rollover. TBI is particularly troublesome because an injured party may not even appear to have suffered from a brain injury.
ATV-related injuries can have lifelong consequences: years of medical care; physical therapy; occupational rehabilitation.
In addition to physical injuries, ATV accidents can have a severe impact on emotional and mental health. These injuries should be taken just as seriously as physical ailments. An experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer can ensure that you are justly compensated for your ATV-related injuries.
A common ATV accident in Washoe County and Clark County involves the all-terrain vehicle flipping or rolling. In this case, the driver is often thrown from the vehicle and can even be pinned underneath the ATV. Furthermore, most people are not aware that ATVs are not meant to carry additional passengers other than the driver. When more than one individual is on the ATV, there is an even greater risk of injury.
Keep in mind that ATVs are generally not as stable as other vehicles and are therefore not meant to be used on normal, paved roads. It is not hard to see that children are at greater risk for potential injury because certain skills have not been fully developed. Children lack physical strength, proper motor skills, and the cognitive skills needed to operate an ATV accurately.
ATVs pose a substantial risk to any rider. Although rules and regulations have been put into place, the dangers are still present. It is in your best interest to be aware of all of the safety guidelines and other policies associated with ATVs and the state of Nevada.
People who ride ATVs are often outdoor types who like to challenge themselves and/or nature. Some of our clients in this category find themselves needing representation for other vehicle accidents, such as Nevada bicycle accidents or Nevada bus accidents. Or they want help for injuries they suffered in a Nevada amusement park accident or a Las Vegas roller coaster accident.
Still other of our clients retain us to help them get compensation for Injuries at Burning Man or Injuries at Electric Daisy Carnival. Even when it seems that something was "just one of those things," we can often get compensation. Whether you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident or were a victim of food poisoning, the promoter or a vendor may be liable. We can help you determine whether you may be legally entitled to reimbursement for medical and other expenses.
And then there are Las Vegas' many attractions for thrills enthusiasts -- such as racing sports cars or shooting guns -- that require signature of a Nevada waiver of liability. Often this deters people from seeking recovery when they are injured -- but it shouldn't. Even when you have signed a liability waiver, you can still recover damages if the facility or its employees were grossly negligent.
Don't be put off from seeking legal help just because you did something that carried the risk of injury. It doesn't mean the injury was your fault!
Our Las Vegas injury attorneys can often help our clients put together a compelling case despite the apparent odds against them. If you have been injured while having fun, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can fight for you.
Injured in an ATV accident? Call us for help...
If you were injured in an ATV accident in Nevada, we invite you to call our compassionate Las Vegas or Reno personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.
Our experienced Nevada personal injury lawyers under how difficult it can be to recover from an ATV accident. Often, the wrongdoer tries to make the injured party feel responsible for his or her injuries. But we know that isn't always the case.
Even if you're not sure if you have a valid case, we invite you to talk to us. You have nothing to lose and if we take your case, you will pay no money unless and until you win.
To schedule your free consultation, fill out the form below, or call us at 702-DEFENSE. One of our Las Vegas ATV lawyers will get back to you promptly to help you determine whether you should sue for your ATV injuries.
Pedestrians injured by an ATV may wish to read our article on pedestrian knockdowns in Nevada.
- NRS 490.090 (1).
- NRS 490.090 (2).