Colorado ATV Accident Lawyers
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The usage of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can range from a piece of necessary equipment for work to a fun way to spend a weekend with one’s family. However, if a driver does not take the proper safety measures, ATVs can be dangerous or even deadly. The general consensus is that wearing helmets and avoiding highways when driving an ATV are safety measures that can prevent most ATV accident injuries. Unfortunately, not all accidents can be avoided. That’s why it’s important to know Colorado ATV accident lawyers.
This article will discuss ATV law in Colorado so that you know what to do if you are in an ATV accident and how an accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for the injuries you suffer. If you or a loved one was in an ATV accident, talk to one of our Zinda Law Group ATV accident lawyers at (800) 863-5312, and you will receive a free case evaluation.
Colorado ATV laws
You might be thinking, “I have followed the news coverage of an ATV accident near me, and the legal case did not come out the way I thought it should.” This may be because there are some relatively-obscure laws relating to ATVs that affect the outcome of an ATV accident case; for example, Colorado’s contributory negligence statute, section 13-21-111, allows a plaintive to recover if the plaintiff was less negligent than the defendant, but the amount of compensation the plaintiff can receive is reduced in proportion to how negligent the plaintiff was. Also, according to Colorado’s statute section 33-14.5-112 (p. 158), ATVs must be registered.
There are also statutes that relate specifically to the operation of ATVs on public roads and land; first, according to section 33-14.5-108 (p. 155), ATVs cannot be driven on any public roads unless it is a designated area, to cross, for an emergency, or for agricultural purposes. Did you know that ATVs must have a head lamp and a tail lamp to operate on public land between sunset and sunrise to accord with statute section 33-14.5-109? According to that section (see p. 157), ATVs must also have brakes, a muffler, and a spark arrester.
Colorado atv accident lawsuits
As was noted before, there are many different ways to use your ATV; it follows then that there are many different ways to injure yourself while using an ATV. Each unique case might give rise to a different legal claim. However, some of the main claims you might file have to do with the negligence of another driver on the road or the injury you or your loved one sustained while partaking in an ATV activity hosted by a company.
First, note that any claim you bring must fall within the statute of limitations. According to Colorado’s statute section 13-80-102, a plaintiff has two years from the day of the incident to bring a personal injury claim. All of the claims discussed in this article are personal injury claims.
Negligence claims for Colorado ATV accidents are somewhat similar to negligent claims for car accidents, but with some notable differences. Both might involve a defendant who was driving while distracted or intoxicated or was otherwise making unreasonable or reckless decisions while driving. However, the ATV operator is much more vulnerable than someone who is in an enclosed vehicle. For this reason, the injuries in an ATV accident could be much more serious.
A negligence claim consists of four basic elements:
1. The victim must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care.
2. The defendant must have breached the acceptable standard of the duty of care.
3. The victim must have received the type of injury for which he or she can claim compensation.
4. The injury must have been caused by the defendant’s breach of duty of care.
A specific kind of negligence is wrongful death. In this kind of claim, if someone’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, you can sue for compensation for having to live without that person. Compensation for wrongful death claims can cover the support—both emotional and financial—that the person would have provided you in the future.
Strict Liability claims for abnormally dangerous activities
There is a possibility that your ATV injury occurred because someone hosted ATV riding on his or her property. Hosting abnormally dangerous activities can make a party strictly liable for a participant’s injuries; an abnormally dangerous activity is one that is not an everyday common activity and creates a foreseeable and highly significant risk of physical harm even when those people who are involve use reasonable care. Strict liability means that the defendant must take liability for the damages regardless of the defendant’s intent or whether the defendant exercised reasonable care.
Types of injuries from an atv accident
We have already discussed wrongful death as a type of negligence claim for which the victim’s family can recover, but there are countless types of injuries that someone can receive from an ATV crash. The types of injuries a victim receives usually indicate the amount of compensation the victim can get. The following are just a few of the types of injuries for which you can receive compensation:
- Amputation of limbs
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries, including concussions
- Chest injuries
- Cuts, scratches, and bruises
- Facial fractures
- Head wounds
- Spinal cord injuries
If you are ever injured while using an ATV in Colorado, document your injuries by taking pictures soon after the accident and keep all medical records. An accident lawyer can help you negotiate your compensation amount using this evidence.
How an Atv accident lawyer can help
Even when you understand the substantive law backing your claim, you still must be able to navigate court procedures. A personal injury attorney understands the local court rules and requirements that make it difficult for pro bono victims to recover.
File Your Claim
When you file your claim, you must target the correct defendant. This is easy if you know the defendant personally, but you might have to do some investigative work if a stranger or a company caused your injury.
For example, a business might rent out ATVs for children to ride, and perhaps it does not keep up with the safety standards that other similar businesses create. Clearly, children at such a business should wear helmets; if the business does not require the children to wear helmets while riding the ATVs, then the business was very likely negligent. But suppose the business is bankrupt and you learn that suing it would not allow the victim full compensation.
In that case, your accident lawyer might advise you to sue the individual instead of the business itself. This is why thorough investigative work can make or break a case.
While you might have to start some investigative work to file your claim, you will also need to gather evidence during what is called discovery. Find witnesses to the accident if you can, and you might hire an expert to help you explain how the accident occurred—and how you are not at fault. Zinda Law Group personal injury lawyers have experience interviewing witnesses and obtaining expert witness testimony for cases involving ATV accidents; hiring a team with such experience can prove invaluable to the success of your case.
Negotiate a Settlement
Insurance companies can be very conservative in their payouts, and the defendant’s insurance company might try to make you recount the accident in such a way that hurts the integrity of your claim. Rely on your Colorado accident lawyer to help you through your depositions. If your attorney is from Zinda Law Group, they will be comfortable negotiating with the other parties to come to a settlement.
We briefly discussed Colorado’s contributory negligence statute earlier. If you were also negligent in the act that caused your injury, then you might be entitled to less compensation than you otherwise might have; if a jury determines that you were 30% at fault, then you can recover for 70% of your damages. A Zinda Law Group personal injury attorney knows how to apply Colorado’s contributory negligence law and can help you get the most compensation possible for your claim.
The kinds of compensation available for victims of negligence or abnormally dangerous activities come in the form of economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages cover your medical expenses, your missed wages from time off work, and any other damages that can be measured by a market value.
Noneconomic damages apply to those injuries that cannot be measured by any market, including pain and suffering. If you lost your spouse and file a wrongful death claim, you can receive noneconomic damages for the loss of consortium.
Is there an accident lawyer near me?
You might wonder if there are accident lawyers near you. We have ATV accident lawyers in locations across the country, including Colorado. Whether you experienced a wrongful death because of someone else’s negligence while driving an ATV or hosting an event for ATV users, or whether you believe someone should be held strictly liable for allowing you or your loved one to partake in an abnormally dangerous activity, our accident lawyers want to hear from you.
You deserve for your injury to be recognized under the law and for your expenses to be compensated by the person who caused them. There is an accident lawyer at Zinda Law Group waiting to hear your story and help you form a legal plan. Call our Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation; we take the financial risk off of you by offering a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, meaning that you will not pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.