Off-Road Vehicle Accident Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

Each year, about 135,000 people are injured in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents and another 700 are killed. Approximately one-third of people killed in ATV accidents each year are kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 70 percent of dirt bike accidents are by riders 16 years old or younger. In both ATV and dirt bike accidents, not wearing a helmet is the largest contributing factor in fatalities.

Unlike cars that generally collide with one another to cause injury or fatality, other factors often play a role in ATV and dirt bike accidents. It could be the terrain, the recklessness of the operator, striking an object, or falling off a dirt bike while making a risky jump or maneuver.

If you or a loved one has been injured – or worse, lost a life – due to an off-road vehicle accident in or around St. Louis, Missouri, from Jefferson County to Charles County, contact Jett Legal. Insurance companies are notorious for denying payments for injuries in dirt bike and ATV accidents. In addition, a manufacturer or another party who causes your crash may be liable. Let us assess your situation and help you pursue the best avenue for compensation.

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Types of Accidents and Injuries

Common ATV accidents include:

  • Side rollovers
  • Backward rollovers
  • Colliding with objects or other vehicles
  • Losing control at high speeds
  • Overloading
  • Tire blowouts, axle failures, steering issues, and other mechanical breakdowns
  • Product defects

Resulting injuries may include concussions, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and cuts and bruises.

When it comes to dirt bikes, recreational use is less dangerous than participating in events like motocross, where accidents and injuries are more common and insurance companies draw the line on liability. If you participate in a race, most insurance excludes coverage for that.

Dirt bike accidents usually occur by colliding with another object or dirt bike, falling off, or being thrown from the bike. Common injuries include broken collarbones, dislocated shoulders, broken wrists, broken ankles, and ACL tears. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a primary ligament of the knee, and tears are a common injury to this part of the knee.

Missouri Laws Governing Off-Road Vehicles

Missouri forbids the operation of an ATV on its highways unless it is owned by the government or operated for agricultural use. ATVs cannot be operated in streams or rivers. They can be used on private property only with the owner’s permission. While there is no age requirement for driving an ATV, parents are legally responsible for supervising and ensuring their children are capable of operating the vehicle.

Dirt bikes can be operated on public thoroughfares only if they are properly registered and tagged as a motorcycle. Operating either a dirt bike or ATV in off-road environments is prohibited between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Assessing Liability

If the injury or death resulting from a dirt bike or ATV accident is caused by the negligence of another, the other party can be held liable. This would be the case if one driver crashes into another driver’s vehicle. If you’re just on foot and hit by an off-road vehicle, then the operator would be responsible. Parents can be held responsible if their underage child causes an accident without proper supervision.

Liability can also be found against a negligent land owner or off-road park operator.  If there are dangerous conditions on the property that the park owner should have taken steps to clearly mark or remove, and an injury results becuase of that danger, liability could be proven under a premises liability theory.  Often times, negligence and premises liability claims have overlap, such that one or both claims can be brought simultaneously against the at-fault party.

The manufacturer or parts supplier may also be liable if a defect in the bike or ATV, or in one of its operating components, is defective. For instance, say the brakes fail to work or a brand-new tire blows out. This is called a products liability legal action or lawsuit.

Proving Negligence

When it comes to seeking compensation from another, you will need to show negligence. Since operators of vehicles have a duty of care to avoid harming others, you need to show that:

  • The operator at fault had a duty of care.
  • The operator breached that duty.
  • That breach of duty caused the accident and injuries.
  • The injuries resulted in losses and damages (financial, physical, and emotional).

If you go after a third party for a defect, you will need to show that:

  • The vehicle had an unreasonably dangerous defect.
  • The vehicle was being used in the way intended by the manufacturer or part supplier.
  • You have not changed or altered the vehicle since purchasing it.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Here at Jett Legal, we have successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for individual victims of off-road accidents.  We have the experience to defeat insurance companies when they employ tactics to deny these claims.  You can trust the team at Jett Legal to aggressively pursue all avenues of recovery for your loss in this situation.  We can stand up to their tactics and fight for the best possible outcome.

If someone else is at fault, whether it’s another rider or a manufacturer, get Jett Legal involved immediately. We can assess the situation, determine liability, and advise you of your best options.

Certainly, if you’ve lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you should consider a wrongful death lawsuit. A lawsuit can’t bring back a loved one, but it can hold the responsible party accountable.

Off-Road Vehicle Accident Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

Contact Jett Legal if you've been involved in an off-road vehicle accident. You can rely on us to help you exercise your full rights to pursue compensation for your injuries or loss of a loved one. Our firm proudly serves clients in and around St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Jefferson County to Charles County. Call us today.