For many people, Kentucky is a terrific place to operate an all terrain vehicle (ATV). Moderate weather conditions here allow for ATV use during nearly every season. Some people use them to get to remote locations to hunt, and others simply ride them for pure excitement. They’re even used for mining, logging and agricultural purposes.
ATV Accident Injuries
Some ATVs can weigh 500 pounds and approach 70 mph. Riders are vulnerable and exposed to injury. ATVs have a high center of gravity along with a short and narrow wheel base. There aren’t any doors, or air bags, and most do not have seat belts. ATV riders are likely to injured in just about any ATV crash. Severe injuries that a person might suffer in an ATV accident can include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Organ damage.
- Multiple fractures.
- Facial and dental fractures.
Kentucky ATV Injuries and Deaths
As per the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), injuries and deaths from using ATVs aren’t uncommon. Most of the time, those are caused by rolling over, flipping over or collisions. The CPSC has determined that about half of all ATV accidents that result in injuries occur when the driver of the vehicle isn’t wearing a helmet. Kentucky has been ranked fifth in the nation in ATV deaths. Of all of the injuries that were suffered in 2016, about 29 percent of them were to the hands and arms. About 27 percent were to the head and neck. Fatality and injury numbers for 2017 aren’t available yet. As per age groups, here’s how they break down in 2016 on a national basis:
- All ages totaled 101,200 estimated injuries.
- 26,800 were younger than 16 years of age.
- 13,900 were under 12 years of age
Any ATV that is operated in Kentucky must be titled. There is no registration requirement like with a car, truck or motorcycle. ATVSs must have a vehicle registration number with 17 characters on it. Motor numbers aren’t accepted.
Kentucky ATV Restrictions
After being compared to other states, the disproportionate number of Kentucky ATV accidents, injuries and deaths got the attention of the Commonwealth’s legislature. As a result, Kentucky Revised Statutes section 189.515 was enacted. Here’s a general overview of the statute.
- Nobody can operate an ATV on a public highway, roadway or right-of-way.
- If an ATV is operated on private property, the operator must have permission from the owner.
- If the ATV is operated on public property, that property must be approved for use by ATVs.
- At all times when the ATV is in motion, anybody who is 16-years-old or older who operates an ATV on public property must wear headgear that has been approved by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Numerous exceptions to this general rule are found in the statute itself.
- Any ATV must have at least one headlight and two taillights which are required to be illuminated at all times while in operation.
- Nobody can operate an ATV after daylight hours unless he or she is engaged in snow removal or emergency road maintenance.
- The statute is silent on any eye protection requirements.
Age and Power Restrictions
Nobody under the age of 16 is allowed to operate an ATV with an engine size larger than 90 cubic centimeters of displacement. Operators under the age of 16 are not allowed to operate an ATV other than when he or she is under direct parental supervision. Nobody under the age of 12 is permitted to operate an ATV with more than 70 cubic centimeters of displacement. Anybody can operate an ATV on a highway with two lanes for purposes of crossing it. Crossing must be executed as close to a 90 degree angle as is possible and safe. In no case is the operator of an ATV allowed to travel on a highway for more than one-fifth of a mile unless he or she is engaged in agricultural or farming activities.
Liability for Kentucky ATV Injuries and Deaths
In order to be eligible for compensation for injuries as a result of Kentucky ATV injuries or a death, proof of fault is required. Fault might be attributable to the negligent operation of the ATV by its driver or the owner or occupier of the property that the accident occurred on. There might be times when the manufacturer of the ATV can be held liable under Kentucky product liability laws. If an ATV is rented from an ATV outfitter, that outfitter must take reasonable precautions in visually defining any dangerous conditions along with the boundaries of the of the real estate that it owns or occupies. Unmarked ropes and wires can be deadly. Some other common causes of ATV accidents, injuries and deaths follow:
- Untrained and inexperienced operators with passengers, especially when an operator allows an untrained and inexperienced person to take control of the ATV.
- Driving too fast for terrain, weather conditions or both.
- ATVs that are too large and fast for an operator to handle safely.
- Having a passenger on an ATV that’s designed for one person.
- Having three people on an ATV that’s designed for two people
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, especially with a passenger.
What You Need to Do After an ATV Accident
After being seriously injured in an ATV accident, the issue of whether there is an insurance policy that covers the accident must be investigated. An auto insurance policy probably won’t work. ATVs aren’t usually covered. If an owner or occupier of land was negligent, there might be insurance. There might also be coverage under a homeowners policy. You’ll want to consult with an experienced ATV accident attorney. Further investigation by an attorney might reveal one or more insurance policies.
Get The Tiger.
Don’t hesitate to contact our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case review after being injured or losing a family member in any ATV accident. We represent clients in Lexington, Louisville and everywhere in the entire state of Kentucky and southern Indiana, too. We’re going to listen to you carefully, and after that, we’ll advise you of all of your legal options. Contact us as soon as possible after being injured or losing a family member in any Kentucky ATV accident.