Who is at fault if I am in an accident with my recreational vehicle?
In this short episode of Groth Gets it! from Groth Law Accident Injury Attorneys, Jon talks about off-roading and who has the right away while driving a UTV, ATV, or snowmobile. He also speaks to the importance of keeping up to date insurance for these recreational vehicles prior to riding.
Hi again everybody. We have just a short little blurb here. I wanted to talk about something that was important because it literally just happened to me personally. And I know with the changing seasons, we’re going to have more calls on this. So I wanted to make this top of mind and that’s ATV or UTV crashes and snowmobile crashes. So we were up in the north woods not too long ago, and if you know about ATVs and UTVs, for example, because the snow hasn’t started flying yet. So we don’t have any snowmobile crashes yet, yet this season. But with any of those all trade vehicles, off-roading type vehicles, up in the north woods, there’s the mini stop signs, the mini yield signs and yellow signs all over the place. There are ATV, UTV, snowmobile access points that go in our state parks, our national parks. They go across the highway and there’s a whole different subset of our traffic laws that relate just to ATVs, UTVs, and snowmobiles.
So it is important if you’re on ATV or a UTV and you see a stop sign, you need to stop because that means you have to yield to cars, trucks that are coming over their driveways. And this is what happened to us. We were coming out of a driveway and there’s a stop sign on other side of the driveway and a UTV came to a screeching halt. I’ll say, it wasn’t screeching because it’s a gravel road, but it was a gravelly stop and they stopped right before we got to them. We came to a screeching halt too. We had the right of way, but I just thought, well, if I’m in my truck and that ATV goes in front of me, they’re going to lose. And I would feel terrible, but there would be the ones that would be at fault because they didn’t stop to oncoming or stop to the right of way because I have the right of way.
That’s important to look at when you’re dealing with UTV versus UTV accidents. And we’ve had, I don’t know how many of these over the years, or just single UTV or ATV accidents where somebody is driving an ATV, maybe irresponsibly, and they have passengers on the back and they go over… I have one case where a person went over a rock too fast and everybody flew off. And because there was one rock that caused the accident along with the improper speed. There were lots of rocks on the ground when people started hitting the ground, that’s when the injuries happened and it was just horrific. The other thing is snowmobiles, when you’re at a T intersection with a snowmobile understanding who has the right of way, it’s very similar to traffic on a roadway. Who do you have to yield to? If you come to an intersection at the same time, you should be yielding to the person from your right.
So things like that understand what’s going on when it comes to off-roading. But still, even if you’re off-roading, there are still rules of the road. Doesn’t matter if that road is gravel or concrete or asphalt, there are rules of the road that apply. The other thing we need to talk about is making sure that you check every year with your insurance agent, if you buy a replacement ATV, UTV or another snowmobile, make sure you have all those covered. Because you don’t want to be driving your new snowmobile, but you forgot to tell your insurance agent that you got a new one or that you got another one and that additional snowmobile, for example, or the additional UTV is not covered under your policy. So very important stuff to think about. How much insurance do you have?
Had you discussed this with your insurance agent and is everything properly registered? Do you understand the rules of the road? And we should probably put some links in here eventually to the DOT (wisconsindot.gov) and the DNR (dnr.wisconsin.gov). They have some pretty good informational websites about certainly all the trails, what the rules of the trails are, and advice for your registering and getting insurance and those kind of things. So happy riding. Hopefully you’re going to enjoy the weather while we have it. The snow’s going to fly pretty soon and then hopefully you’ll bundle up and have some fun on your snow machines. Have a great day.