ATV Accidents

All-terrain vehicles, commonly known as ATVs or OHVs (off-highway vehicles) are used recreationally across the United States. For the purpose of this discussion ATVs include three- and four-wheeler vehicles, dirt bike-style motorcycles, sand rails, dune buggies and snowmobiles.


Injuries and deaths due to ATV accidents are actually on the decline since 2006. This is probably due to increased awareness of the danger of ATV use, increased use of safety equipment such as helmets and increased government regulation, especially regarding children using ATVs.


While ATVs can be fun when used in a safe manner, they can prove deadly when used without the proper training, when used in concert with drugs or alcohol or are ridden recklessly. In many states there is no minimum age for ATV riders, nor are helmet safety laws in place. Many injuries occur without adult supervision or helmets and on ATVs too powerful for the rider.



Most ATV deaths result from the vehicle overturning or hitting something. The majority of ATV deaths and injuries are preventable. Some 75% of the ATV accidents result in serious damage to the head or spinal cord of the accident victim.


Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis of the entire body for life. Head injuries are a major cause of serious life threatening or lifelong physical problems and ailments. Wearing a helmet drastically reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury.


There are several governmental debates currently occurring over how to create federal guidelines for ATV safety. Dealers often offer optional instruction and classes on how to ride ATVs. However, many people do not take these classes and sometimes the training is inadequate. Dealers and manufacturers also tend to be against regulating ATVs.



In Oregon people under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when operating an ATV. Parents responsible for those children are required to ensure that the minor wears a helmet when operating an ATV. Additionally, ORS 821.290 provides that individuals who operate snowmobiles or ATVs in a negligent manner so as to endanger the person or property of another or to cause injury or damage to either are civilly liable.


Individuals who own and operate ATVs open themselves up for civil and even criminal prosecution when they negligently operate an ATV and cause damage to people or property.  

Owners can also be sued when they or others operate their machines in an unsafe manner or while using alcohol or drugs.


ATV owners also fail in their duty of care when they allow children to operate machines that are too powerful for the child, without the use of a helmet, without the proper training, or allow them to operate ATVs recklessly. If you or someone you know was injured by the reckless or negligent operation of an ATV, OHV, dirt bike or snowmobile, it is imperative that you immediately contact The Law Office of Josh Lamborn to begin protecting your rights.


Call 503-546-0461 or email Josh at to schedule a free consultation regarding your case. I handle all accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that I do not get paid unless you get paid.


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ATV Accident and Resource Links:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (Report injury or death involving consumer products including ATVs)
ATV safety website
Oregon State Parks ATV Safety and Education website
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
American Motorcyclist Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
Motorcycle Safety Foundation
American Safety Institute


Alternate names / spellings for ATV: Three-wheeler, Four-wheeler, Dirt bike, Motorcycle, Sand rail, Dune buggy, Dune buggie, Snowmobile, Snowmachine, Snow-machine, OHV.