Recent Victory for Those Injured on ATVs in Virginia Because of Negligence
All-terrain vehicles or ATVs have never been more popular. That spike in popularity, however, has caused a substantial increase in the number of ATV related deaths and catastrophic injuries. Often teenagers and even children are the victims.
An obstacle encountered by some ATV riders who have been injured through the negligence of others is a lack of insurance coverage. Many ATV riders simply do not carry enough, if any, insurance to adequately compensate the catastrophically injured.
A recent ruling from a federal judge in the Western District of Virginia, however, may help solve that problem for some who have been injured on ATVs in Virginia.
In that case the injured person was a passenger on an ATV that collided with another ATV. The injured person alleged that both operators were negligent in causing her brain injury that resulted in over one half million dollars in medical bills. One of the ATV operators only had $25,000 in liability insurance coverage. Because of the insufficient insurance coverage, the injured person attempted to recover $500,000 in underinsured motorist insurance coverage through her father’s personal automobile insurance.
The insurance company argued that under the insurance policy language an ATV is not a “motor vehicle” as defined by the policy, and that it should not have to provide underinsured motorist coverage. The federal judge, however, disagreed and ruled that the ATV is a “motor vehicle” under the policy, and that the accident is covered by its underinsured motorist provisions. She can now potentially recover the insurance money if she can prove liability against the ATV user.
This is a major victory for anyone who has been injured as a result of negligence while using an ATV. The logic from this ruling can also be used to support similar arguments to the benefit of people injured using golf carts, or any motorized vehicle. I am very happy for that injured person and her lawyer. Their victory will help to more fairly compensate her following such a catastrophic injury.
The judge’s ruling was limited to the language of the specific insurance policy at issue, and other insurance policies may be worded differently. If you, or someone you know, have suffered catastrophic injury while using an ATV, or any motor vehicle, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. We will gladly discuss the incident with you and explore what insurance coverage may be available.
If you have been hurt in an ATV accident, call our experienced Virginia motor vehicle accident injury lawyers at 757.455.0077 for a free and confidential consultation.