responsible for an atv accident
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Who Is Responsible for an ATV Accident on Private Property in Texas?

Texas appeals to people who love the outdoors for a reason. There are places to camp, fish, hunt, and enjoy the scenery while using an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). They are a popular, fun way to enjoy the great outdoors. These vehicles are great for adventurous folks, but if not operated safely, a fun drive can end in injuries and even fatalities.

ATV accidents can end in monumental medical expenses and rehabilitation costs. If you or a loved one has been injured in an ATV accident due to the negligence of someone else, you might be entitled to compensatory damages for the damages you sustained. Contact an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer to help you move forward with a claim.

Texas Law Pertaining to All-Terrain Vehicle Accidents

ATV accidents in Texas are all too common. The state has beautiful areas in which to enjoy riding them, so many people use them for recreational activities. This means our great state is home to many of the country’s ATV accidents.

There are state and federal laws in place to curb the injuries and fatalities sustained on ATVs. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles tells us that ATVs must have the following attributes in order to be operated on public property:

  • Brake systems
  • Muffler systems
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • S. Forest Service-qualified spark arrester
  • Valid decal from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department signifying the vehicle is an allowed Off-Highway Vehicle
  • Riders must wear helmets when operating an ATV on public property

Common Injuries Caused by ATV Accidents

ATV injuries can vary in severity. Some of the most common injuries are listed below:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common head injuries that occur in ATV accidents. They can be minor concussions, skull fractures, or severe brain damage. The injured party may sustain permanent or long-term cognitive impairment and behavioral changes, and their emotional well-being may be negatively impacted.
  • Bone fractures caused by ATV collisions can cause severe pain and may require surgery or casts to repair. Commonly, fractures occur to the arms, legs, back, necks, and ribs.
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI) mean that damage to the spinal cord has occurred, and the accident victim may suffer from partial or complete paralysis as a result. Injuries such as these can make life, work, and independence far more challenging.
  • Burns may come from a crash and/or a fire it creates, or they may happen when the driver or passenger comes into contact with hot portions of the ATV. Burns can be extremely painful and can require expansive medical intervention.
  • Lacerations and abrasions like road rash, cuts, and bruises can run the gamut of severity, depending on the accident.
  • Internal damage can happen as the result of an ATV accident. These types of injuries can be life-threatening and require repair surgery, particularly when the injuries affect the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and liver.

Best Practices to Prevent ATV Accidents and Injuries

ATVs are often operated on private property rather than public land. This means that safety laws are frequently ignored. Another issue that seems to set the stage for more ATV accidents are the number of drivers who operate them without a driver’s license since they are not required. Teenagers are not known for exercising extreme caution, and when an ATV is in their control, the tendency to become reckless can often be quite enticing.

Since insurance is not required for ATV owners and operators, it is even more important that safety precautions are taken especially seriously. Listed below are some safety precautions that may help you avoid serious injuries or accidents:

  • Wear a protective helmet. If you own an ATV, require anyone who is riding to wear a properly fitted helmet.
  • Exercise caution, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Terrain can change and become dangerous. Without prior knowledge of an area, you may not have time to compensate for the change.
  • When sharing the landscape with other ATVs, practice courtesy and caution.
  • Teenage riders should be thoroughly trained before allowing them to operate without supervision.
  • Let someone know where you will be going on your ATV and an estimated time that you will return so if you do not return within a designated time, someone can check on your whereabouts.
  • Pack a first aid kit.


ATVs are inherently more dangerous to their riders because they are open to the elements. Substantial injuries take place when ATVs crash or flip. They are typically enjoyed in rural areas, making emergency responses more challenging.

Liable Parties in an ATV Accident

When accidents take place, one of the most important things to sort out is who is liable for the damages. In an ATV accident, the blame could belong to various people or entities. Listed below are some of the parties who could potentially share the blame:

  • The rider is normally the at-fault party. Rider error commonly occurs. Even if the rider is not at fault, they are typically the first blamed.
  • The ATV owner has an obligation to ensure the vehicle is safe and that those who ride it understand how to operate it and possess the training to drive it safely.
  • The owner of the real estate where the ATVs are being ridden can shoulder responsibility for accidents if they do not repair conditions on their premises or warn ATV operators of hazards.
  • Manufacturers of the ATV could be held accountable if there was a defect in the product or a design flaw that they failed to address.

ATV Rental Companies

If an ATV is rented, some of the same liability issues apply. Negligent entrustment may apply to rentals or borrowed ATVs. Some common cases of negligent entrustment include:

  • When a young child is allowed to operate the ATV
  • Allowing a drunk person or someone who is impaired to drive an ATV
  • Permitting someone who lacks instruction or decorum to operate the vehicle safely

If the rental company does not provide safety equipment and perform equipment maintenance, they could be responsible for any accidents that happen when they rent their vehicle.

Corpus Christi ATV Accident Lawyer

Contact ATV accident attorney, John Flood today if you or someone you care about has been injured in an ATV accident. We are happy to evaluate your case in a free consultation and will work hard toward achieving the most positive resolution possible for your unique circumstances.