All-terrain vehicles, otherwise known as ATVs, are motorized vehicles typically used on off-road trails as a leisure or vacation activity. However, reaching speeds up to 35 miles per hour, these vehicles can quickly become deadly.

In 2015, there were around 660 ATV-related deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you or your child has been injured in an ATV accident or if you or a neighbor own ATVs, it’s important to know the legal repercussions for causing an accident.

Comparative fault

Unlike some other states, in New Mexico, you can recover damages for injuries to your person or your property, even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident.

Under the comparative fault law, the amount of fault you are attributed with for the accident will be proportionately subtracted from the amount of damages you can collect.

Damages can be collected for medical costs, lost wages, treatment, repairs, transportation costs and more and there is no limit on the amount in damages a court may award a plaintiff.

New Mexico legal requirements for ATVs

An ATV is considered an off-highway motor vehicle (OHV) in New Mexico. OHVs have certain laws designed to prevent accidents from happening.

For example, to use OHV’s on public land, users (residents and non-residents) must purchase an OHV registration and register the vehicle. Specific decals may allow a rider to use an ATV on authorized paved roads.

It is against the New Mexico law for any OHV/ATV rider to:

  • Operate an OHV on private land without permission
  • Create excessive noise
  • Damage property, including the environment, plants or animals
  • Harass or hunt wildlife or other animals
  • Negatively affect agricultural practices
  • Operate an OHV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Those who have broken the law while using an ATV may face further penalties.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an ATV accident, speak to an attorney as soon as possible to talk about the details of your legal options and explore the legal options you may have for compensation.