ATV & Snowmobile Safety – Prevent Childhood Injuries


Snowmobile and ATV outings are a great way to spend time outdoors in the winter. Many families have multiple recreational vehicles so that both children and adults can participate.

It’s important to remember that the law functions very similarly in terms of liability when it comes to who’s operating the machine.

For adults operating these types of vehicles, a lawsuit will be based on a legal theory of negligence. Negligence can be thought of as carelessness. Negligence claims in tort law involves establishing that one party owed a duty of care to another, that party failed to perform that duty, and that failure caused injuries to the other party.

If someone was operating an ATV or snowmobile carelessly and caused an accident that injured another person, it would fall under the legal theory of negligence.

In general circumstances, children are held to a different standard of care than adults. In most circumstances, children under four are not liable for their actions while children aged 4 to 14 are held to a standard of care that compares to other children like themselves of the same age, experience, and intelligence.

However, when children are performing adult activities such as driving an ATV, snowmobile, or side-by-side, the child will be held to the standard of care for a reasonable adult. Therefore, if a 12-year-old is operating a snowmobile and causes an accident, that 12-year-old will be held to the same standard of care as an adult and not another 12-year-old. Therefore, it’s important to realize that when you give a child the keys to one of these vehicles, they will be held to a higher standard of care if a negligent act occurs.

If you or someone you know was injured in an ATV, snowmobile, or side-by-side crash, call the attorneys at Metzger Wickersham for a free consultation to make sure your rights are protected. Call us at (888)-286-2850 or email us to schedule your free consultation today.

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