Alberta is known for its beautiful and expansive backcountry and rural surroundings, so it’s not surprising that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are a popular form of recreation and off-road transportation in the province. In a 2019 Global News interview, Don Voaklander with the University of Alberta Injury Prevention Centre stated that “Albertans are about 12 percent of the population of Canada but we buy about 25 percent of the ATVs, so there’s lot of ATV activity in Alberta.” Alberta is the only province in Canada that does not require ATV drivers to wear a helmet while riding on their own property or another person’s private land, and there are a handful of other helmet exemptions for Albertans. Statistics gathered over the past decade report an average of 5,000 emergency room visits related to ATV accidents each year, resulting in 550 hospitalizations and approximately 14 deaths. Of those injured in ATV accidents, many are forced to take time off work as they recover from their injuries, and some may experience long-term disability. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an ATV accident, you might have questions such as “Am I covered by insurance for an ATV accident?” or “Can I make a claim against a negligent ATV owner?”. At Litwiniuk & Company, our experienced ATV accident lawyers will answer your questions and do everything they can to help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
The most common types of injuries sustained when riding ATVs include:
- Head injuries ranging from concussions to severe brain damage;
- Various fractures and broken bones;
- Spinal cord injuries including the neck or lower back;
- Internal injuries including fractured ribs, internal bleeding, or organ damage; and
- Loss of life.
If you have been injured in an ATV accident, the most important thing is your health; get medical treatment right away and follow the advice of your doctor, medical specialists, and treatment providers. It also helps to document as much as you can after the injury. From taking photographs to collecting notes and names of other parties, the more details you can provide your ATV accident lawyer, the easier it will be to prepare a claim. The sooner you can get in touch with a Personal Injury lawyer, the better, to ensure that all evidence is preserved, and all witness accounts are accurately collected while memories are fresh and witnesses can be located. Keep in mind that the more time that passes following the accident, the more difficult it may become to accurately reconstruct what happened at the scene. In Alberta, many of your medical expenses after suffering a personal injury in an ATV accident are paid by Alberta Health Care (AHC). However, AHC does not cover costs such as prescriptions, chiropractic care, massage therapy, long-term expenses, or loss of income during your recovery. This is where an ATV accident lawyer may be able to help. With ATVs being used as off-road vehicles, the legal and insurance landscape can be complicated; it’s not as simple as a car accident on a highway where all vehicles are likely to have standard Alberta automobile insurance. At Litwiniuk & Company, we will do everything we can to collect all the evidence needed to build a strong case on your behalf. We’ll be in your corner, guiding you every step of the way, advocating for you to ensure you get a fair offer and the best possible result.
Am I eligible for compensation?
Accidents of this nature are often uniquely complicated. Whether or not a person is eligible for compensation generally comes down to the particulars of the individual case and having good representation. Let’s say you were injured while driving an ATV that was licensed and insured for the road; in this scenario, it is likely that you would be covered through Section B benefits. But what if the ATV was not insured through the driver’s insurance policy? This is where things can get tricky. Many ATVs are insured through farm policies or other forms of habitational or recreational policies. The operators of an ATV may also have coverage through their homeowner’s policy. Our ATV accident lawyers can assist with locating coverage for you. If you were injured as a passenger in an ATV accident, you may have grounds to sue the at-fault party. The party at fault could be the driver of the ATV, another vehicle, or other parties involved such as the owner of the ATV. There is also something called the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, that can be a source of compensation in certain circumstances. If there’s insurance coverage or any other source available to pay your compensation, we will find it.
(e) “motor vehicle” means: (i) a motor vehicle as defined in section 1 of the Traffic Safety Act that is required to be registered under that Act, or (ii) an off highway vehicle as defined in section 117 of the Traffic Safety Act that is required to be registered under that Act
Traffic Safety Act:
(x) “motor vehicle” means (i) a vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power, or (ii) a moped, but does not include a bicycle, a power bicycle, an aircraft, an implement of husbandry or a motor vehicle that runs only on rails;
(a) “off-highway vehicle” means any motorized mode of transportation built for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice or marsh or swamp land or on other natural terrain and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes, when specifically designed for such travel, (i) 4-wheel drive vehicles, (ii) low pressure tire vehicles, (iii) motorcycles and related 2-wheel vehicles, (iv) amphibious machines, (v) all-terrain vehicles, (vi) miniature motor vehicles, (vii) snow vehicles, (viii) minibikes, and (ix) any other means of transportation that is propelled by any power other than muscular power or wind.
Do I have grounds to pursue a claim?
These types of cases are complex as there are numerous factors that determine the outcome of a given case. It’s a Pandoras Box, as there are so many possibilities as to what can happen in the courts, and we don’t know what we’ll find until we open it up and look more closely. If medical expenses and lost income are not covered under your insurance, the two biggest questions are, who owns the ATV and whether the person who injured you was negligent. In many cases the owner of the ATV is liable to pay regardless of who was driving, particularly if the owner failed to properly maintain in the vehicle resulting in a mechanical issue that contributed to the accident. Likewise, if the ATV was made with defective parts that caused the accident to occur, the company that manufactured it could be liable for your injuries. Lack of properly stated regulations or manufacturer’s warnings may also be taken into consideration. If a party is at fault, we will pursue them and do everything we can to recover compensation for you from them, to the extent that they are at fault. Let’s say a minor was allowed to operate an ATV that had no coverage. Typically, it would be difficult to make a claim with no coverage, but because it was a minor operating the ATV, a lawsuit may be successful against the owners of the ATV for negligent supervision by way of allowing a minor to operate the vehicle and/or failing to supervise them. With these types of claims, there are rarely simple yes or no answers. We must investigate the facts of the case to see if we can help, and we will do it at no cost to you. Our Calgary ATV Accident lawyers will pursue the maximum compensation for your claim. And it won’t cost you a thing to hire us because we don’t get paid until you get paid.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of the accident to make a claim in court or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines, or other circumstances that may affect this deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary ATV Accident lawyers today.
Contact our Calgary ATV Accident Lawyers for Help
We hope this article has given you some useful information about ATV injury claims in Alberta. Because ATV accident claims are so complicated, it’s important to get personalized legal advice from an experienced ATV Accident lawyer. And the best news is that you can speak to one absolutely free just by calling or emailing us now. As Alberta’s Personal Injury law firm for over 44 years, voted Calgary’s Top Choice Personal Injury Law Firm by our clients for six years in a row, we have an outstanding track record of bringing negligent parties to justice and getting injured Albertans the compensation they deserve. You don’t have to go through this alone. Our Calgary Personal Injury lawyers are experienced in representing clients with all types of injuries including the very severe or life-altering injuries that may occur in an ATV accident. We have represented injured ATV drivers and passengers, as well as the families of those who have suffered fatal injuries, in Calgary and throughout Alberta since 1976. Let our firm work to get you the maximum compensation for your claim and the benefits and treatment you’re entitled to. We deal with the insurance companies and the law, while you focus on getting back to a normal life. If you or a loved one are looking for a Calgary ATV Accident lawyer contact Litwiniuk & Company today for a free consultation. It won’t cost you anything out of pocket to get an experienced ATV Accident lawyer on your side, because we don’t get paid until you get paid.