ATV Wrecks

All Terrain Vehicles are defined by statute in North Carolina as a “motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on three or four low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.”  N.C.G.S. 20-4.01.

Under North Carolina law, there are some important restrictions on how ATV’s can be used.

It is unlawful to ever let a child under the age of 8 years of age operate an ATV.  Depending on the size of the ATV’s engine, it is unlawful to let any child under the age of 12 years old or 16 years old operate an ATV.  In any case, it is unlawful to let anyone under the age of 16 years old operate an ATV without being supervised by someone over 18 years of age.

Unless the ATV is designed to carry a passenger, it is unlawful to carry a passenger on the ATV.  Every ATV must maintain its brakes in good operating condition.

It is not permitted to operate an ATV on any road or highway except for the purpose of crossing the road or highway.  It is also against the law to operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.

It is not permitted to operate an ATV during the hours of darkness without displaying a lighted headlamp and taillamp.

All Terrain Vehicle Wrecks can be quite complicated from a legal perspective.  Many people will not maintain separate insurance on for an All Terrain Vehicle and that can have an impact on how a person injured in an ATV wreck recovers for their injuries.  For instance, if you are an injured passenger in an ATV wreck and the person driving the ATV was negligent in the operation of the ATV, is there insurance available to possibly cover your damages?  The answer to this question will involve a close examination of several insurance policies including any insurance policy for the operator of the ATV, insurance policies for the owner of the ATV, and any insurance policies for the injured person.

If you have a question about an ATV wreck, please contact the lawyers at Hendren & Malone for a free consultation.

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