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Our Michigan ATV accident lawyers represent victims of off road vehicles (ORV).  These vehicles are mostly driven for for fun but they also carry significant risks  of injury to both drivers and passengers. We have won large settlements for both adults and children injured in these recreational crashes.

What is considered an ATV in Michigan?

The State Michigan defines an ATV as “a 3- or 4-wheeled vehicle designed for off-road use that has low pressure tires, has a seat designed to be straddled by the rider, and is powered by a 50cc to 500cc gasoline engine or an engine of comparable size using other fuels.”

An ORV is defined as a “motor driven off-road recreation vehicle capable of cross-country travel without benefit of a road or trail, on or immediately over land, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain.”

State law requires that the vehicles be registered with the Secretary of State.  It also requires that all riders under 16 years of age complete an approved ORV Safety Course and carry the Michigan ORV Safety Certificate with them at all times while riding on public lands.

A helmet is required in most situations for drivers and passengers of off road vehicles.

ATV Accident Statistics

Michigan is ranked as the fourth highest, in the nation, for ATV crashes and deaths. In 2017 alone, there were over 93,000 injuries in the United States that resulted in emergency room visits.  The majority of those injury patients are treated and released home by the hospital, but approximately 15% are admitted to the hospital for treatment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that from 1982 to 2017 there were 470 off road vehicle accident deaths in Michigan.  In 2017, there were 13,426 ATV accidents that resulted in 96 fatalities and 2,437 injuries.  Children under the age of 16 are most likely be injured or die in an ATV accident.  Over 50% of reported  injuries are to children under the age of 14 years old.

Most Common Causes of ATV Accidents

A typical adult-size ATV can weigh in excess of 750 pounds and can travel as fast as 75 miles per hour.  Occupants do not have the same protections as in regular vehicles and lack many of the safety devices used to prevent injuries in cars and trucks.  Serious injuries in these accidents often result from:

  • Permitting an unqualified child to drive the vehicle
  • Failing to properly supervise a minor driving an off road vehicle
  • Reckless and negligent driving, including speeding and horseplay
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol
  • Operating under the influence of drugs
  • Improper training or no training at all
  • Lack of proper safety precautions
  • Mechanical defects and poor ATV maintenance

The bar chart below shows the total number of off-road vehicle and ATV actions prior to crashes on public roadways in Michigan in 2018.

According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, the majority of accidents happen due to speeding too fast.
Michigan OTR & ATV crash actions chart - Buckfire Law

  • Speeding: 69
  • Other: 69
  • None: 37
  • Careless/negligent driving: 32
  • Failed to yield: 28
  • Reckless driving: 15
  • Unable to stop in assured clear distance: 8
  • Disregard traffic control: 7
  • Improper lane use: 5
  • Improper turn: 4
  • Improper passing: 2
  • Improper backing: 2

Serious Injuries Caused in ATV Crashes

Serious and catastrophic injuries often result from off road vehicle crashes, including:

  • Brain injuries, including closed head injuries, concussions, skull fractures, and brain bleeds;
  • Spinal cord injury, causing quadriplegia, paraplegia, and paralysis;
  • Broken bones and fractures to the arms, wrists, hands, legs and feet;
  • Facial injuries, including to the jaw, orbital, and teeth;
  • Back and neck injuries, like herniated and bulging discs and nerve damage
  • Knee injuries, including ACL and MCL tears;
  • Shoulder trauma, like a torn rotator cuff;
  • Death caused by fatal crashes with objects or other vehicles.

ATV Accident Settlement Example

Our 14-year-old client went with another the family to their cabin in northern Michigan. The parents took out their ATVs for a group of kids to drive.

There was no training or supervision provided to the teenagers. During the ride, the ATV flipped over and our client suffered a traumatic brain injury and orthopedic injuries.

A negligence lawsuit was filed against the parents who provided the ATV. Their homeowner’s insurance company paid a settlement of $350,000.

Can I file an ATV Accident Lawsuit?

You can file an ATV accident lawsuit in Michigan if another person or entity if your crash was caused by the negligence of another person or entity.  Potential defendants include adults for failing to supervise minors, other vehicles that hit or strike an off road vehicle, or a property owner that has dangers on the property that cause an injury.  The lawsuits seek compensation payouts for the injuries and losses resulting from the accident.

Can I Sue if my Child was Injured in an ATV Accident?

Children are too often the victims of off-road vehicle accidents.  A child can be injured due to lack of supervision by a parent or ATV owner or from the negligence of the vehicle operator.

If your child was hurt in an ATV crash, you may be able to sue the owner of the vehicle or the person who let your child ride on it.  Quite often, this may be a relative, neighbor, or family friend and it can present an uncomfortable situation.  However, the claims for compensation are made strictly against the homeowner’s insurance company.  This provides the child with settlement and pays the medical bills without requiring the ATV owner to pay any money out of pocket.

How much are ATV Accident Settlement Amounts?

There is no set amount or typical amount of any type of personal injury settlement.  Every case has its own unique facts with respect to both liability and injuries.  Other factors include whether the ATV rider was also partially negligent for the crash and if there is insurance to pay a settlement.  If you want to sue a friend or relative after a crash, you will be pursing the insurance company money to pay the compensation award and typically will not be trying to get any money personally from the person you are suing.

ATV accident settlements include payment for pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, medical bills and lost wages.  There is no limit to the amount that can be claimed and most often the end result is determined by the severity of your injury and the amount of the insurance company policy limits.

In cases involving a fatal ATV accident, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.  These cases seek damages for the pain and suffering from the time of accident until death and compensation for the loss of companionship of the decedent.  Claims for medical bills, lost income, and funeral expenses can also be claimed in the lawsuit.

Contact our Michigan ATV Accident Lawyers

To find out if you have a case, call our experienced law firm today to tell us what happened to you or our loved one.  We will let you know if you are entitled to a settlement and if so, we will start working on your case immediately.

We do not charge any legal fees unless there is a settlement for your case.  We also pay all of the costs and expenses of the case.

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