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3 Laws You Need To Know About California ATV Accidents

ATVs

Riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is an exhilarating experience and excellent way to see some of the hidden gems off-the-beaten path in California. However, safety-minded operators are well-aware of the dangers and importance of following state laws covering these vehicles. The California Department of Parks and Recreation publishes some basic information on “Off-Highway Vehicles” (OHVs), including ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and others. Knowing the registration requirements, regulations covering necessary equipment, and rules for operating an ATV on-highway is crucial.

Still, there is an entirely separate set of laws that applies if you were hurt in a collision involving an OHV. Personal injury concepts are central to your claim, and becoming familiar with them gives you an idea of what to expect with the legal process. Your Oakland ATV accidents lawyer will take care of the details, but take time to review some background information.

  1. California’s Statute of Limitations 

There is a time restriction on how long you have to file a lawsuit in court after a personal injury accident, including OHV collisions. The state statute of limitations is two years, starting from the date that the incident occurred. If you do not initiate litigation within this timeframe, you are forever barred from recovering compensation. There is an exception in accidents involving children, who represent a large percentage of victims. In such a case, the statute of limitations is tolled until the victim reaches 18 years old. 

  1. Insurance Laws on ATV Accidents 

You might assume that all accidents involving any motorized vehicle would be covered by insurance, but OHVs are specifically excluded from accident coverage. If you purchase a separate policy, you would file a first-party claim with your own insurance company to obtain amounts for:

  • Property damage;
  • Medical costs;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Other losses. 

Despite the fact that you are dealing with your own insurer, there can be challenges in the claims process. Some companies will deny your claim or make a lowball offer, but these tactics may amount to bad faith in violation of California law. 

  1. Contributory Negligence 

Personal injury cases in California are typically based upon the concept of negligence, which requires people to exercise reasonable care when acting. A breach of this legal duty is the reason that many ATV accidents occur, but the focus on careless acts goes both ways: Just as the at-fault party may be liable, a victim’s action may amount to negligence. The law on contributory negligence operates to reduce compensation based upon the percentage of fault.

Call Now to Speak to an Oakland ATV Accidents Attorney

These are just a few of the laws that apply to OHV collisions in California, but there are many other concepts that impact your legal remedies. You can count on our team at Venardi Zurada, LLP for assistance with the specific tasks as we work to get full compensation for your losses. For more information, please contact our firm to set up a free consultation at our offices in Oakland, Walnut Creek, or Redding, CA.

Resource:

ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26294#operate

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