Utah is an outdoor state. With national landmarks, ample parks, and the sixth largest amount of boatable water per capita, Utah is a state where there are many opportunities to enjoy ATVs, boats, and RVs. In the wintertime, Utah Parks and Wildlife prepares snowmobile trails, and people as young eight years of age can operate a snowmobile. Just as cars and trucks come with risks, ATVs, boats, and other OHVs do as well.
That’s why it’s important to be safe. Utah has strict laws about drinking and boating, and any boat with a 50 horsepower or higher motor requires $25,000 in liability coverage, along with $50,000 for bodily injury and death, and $15,000 in property damage coverage. What’s important to note about this is that there is no Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which means that the only way to recover damages is through a legal claim. This includes motorcycles, so if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, the rules will be different from those governing a car accident.
Utah does not require insurance coverage for ATVs if they are operated on highways designated for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use; however, if an accident takes place on land owned or leased by the owner of the ATV, their homeowner’s insurance may cover injuries or property damage, depending on the language of the policy.
As with any accident, your first priority should be getting medical attention for any injuries. Even if you don’t have visible injuries, get checked out by a medical professional to be sure. The sooner you identify an injury, the easier it will be to get treatment, and the less dispute there will be later on as to whether or not your injuries are the result of an accident with an ATV.
Your second priority should be documenting any and all information related to the accident. Was the operator of the ATV or the boat drinking? Were they in compliance with boating regulations on right of way, or were they operating an ATV on a street not designated for OHV use? Who were the witnesses to the accident?
Contacting the appropriate law enforcement agencies can be critical to documenting the facts surrounding an accident, not to mention making recovering compensation for any medical expenses or property damage.
If you are injured, you’ve got four years to file a claim from the date of the accident. As with any other accident, Utah is a comparative fault state. This means that the jury will subtract the percentage of your own fault or negligence from your overall award. That’s all the more reason to exercise safe driving habits and follow the laws of the trail or the water in operating a boat or an OHV.
The Personal Injury Education Center of Utah hopes you enjoy everything Utah has to offer, on and off road, but remember to be safe.