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Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Accidents

Our Michigan Off Road Vehicle accident lawyers represent clients who are injured in ORV accidents.  While these vehicles provide great thrill and excitement, there are also significant risks and dangers posed by their operation.  Victims of ORV accidents have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

An ORV is defined as any motor vehicle that can be operated cross-country without benefit of a road or trail over land, snow and other natural terrain and includes all of the following:

 Multi-track and multi-wheeled vehicles, ATV's, motorcycles and related 2, 3, and 4-wheeled vehicles, amphibious  machines (water to land and back), hovercraft and any othervehicles that use mechanical power, including 2 and 4-wheel drive vehicles that are highway registered, when operated off highways and roads.

 ATV's are a subgroup of ORVs.  An ATV is defined as:A 3 or 4 wheeled vehicle that is designated for off-road use,that has low-pressure (balloon-type tires), with a seat that is designed to be straddled by the operator, powered by an engine in size from 50 cc on up to 500 cc displacement.

 The following are NOT ORVs:  Registered snowmobiles; farm, construction and logging vehicles when being used in usual work practices; military, fire, emergency and law enforcement vehicles.

Many ORV injuries involve children and other young off-road vehicle accidents.  Under Michigan law, there are specific restrictions on young ORV Operators.  These include visual supervision of the young operator by the owner of the ORV.   Visual supervision is defined as having direct observation with the unaided eye and the ability to come to immediate aid of another ORV operator.

Several other restrictions are in effect on the operation of the ORVs by children under the age of 16.  There are also specific obligations that fall upon the parents or legal guardians of ORV riders under the age of 16, and upon the owners of ORVs.

 A. No person under the age of 16 may operate any 3-wheeled ATV

 B. No child the age of 10 may operate any 4-wheeled ATV, EXCEPT on private land while performing farm related work operations.

 C. Children who are 10 and 11 years old may operate 4-wheel ATVs only when ALL of the following conditions exist:

             Must be on land owned by the child's parent or guardian;

             Must be under visual supervision (see definition) of an adult;

             Must possess a valid ORV safety certificate

D. Children who are 12-15 years old may operate 4-wheeled ATVs only when BOTH of the following conditions exist:

             Must be under visual supervision of an adult;

             Must possess a valid ORV safety certificate

E. Children under 16 may operate other ORVs (trail bikes, for example) only when BOTH of the following conditions exist:

              Must be under visual supervision of an adult;

              Must possess a valid ORV safety certificate

F. No child under the age of 12 may cross any street, highway or county road while operating any ORV.

 G. Children who are at least 12 years old may cross streets and roads (only at right angles)

The parents and legal guardians of a child under the age of 16 are legally responsible if they permit the child under their care to violate any of the above.  The owner (or person in control) of an ORV is also responsible if his or her ORV is operated by a youngster.

The owner or operator of an ORV may be subject to civil and criminal penalties for accidents that result in injury to a person or damage to a propery.  ORV accidents often result in significant injuries to the victim and settlements in these cases can be substantial.  Off road-vehicle accident injury victims should contact our office immediately to discuss their case.