Victims’ Rights in ATV and Snowmobile Accidents in Alaska


Traveling through Alaska’s vast expanse of mountains, lakes, and other scenery is exhilarating, and riding ATVs is one of the most common forms of both transportation and fun. However, there are risks associated with operating these vehicles. The Alaska Highway Safety Office is tasked with implementing safety regulations for all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, other snow machines, and off-road vehicles, but accidents are still a frequent occurrence.

If you were hurt in a collision involving an ATV or snowmobile, you might wonder if you have options for recovering compensation. The laws apply differently as compared to crashes involving passenger cars and other vehicles intended for highway travel. You should discuss the details with an Alaska personal injury and accident lawyer, and read on for an overview.


Liability Basics in Off-Road Vehicle Crashes

At the outset, you should note that vehicle accidents occurring off-road are similar to incidents on traditional roadways. They typically occur because of someone else’s negligence, which means you need to prove four essential elements to recover compensation:

  • Another person or entity had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care;
  • That party breached this duty by engaging in careless or reckless conduct;
  • The breach of duty was a direct cause of the accident in which you were injured; and,
  • You suffered physical, emotional, and financial losses because of being hurt.


When you have solid evidence of these four elements, you may be entitled to monetary damages for your medical costs and lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. It is also possible to recover for pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, and other non-economic losses.


Potential Parties for Filing a Claim

The key in many ATV and snowmobile accidents is determining who to pursue for compensation, since there may be multiple parties that contributed to the incident. The first, most obvious, would be a motorist who struck you while you were lawfully operating an off-road vehicle. Your remedy is usually filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company.

However, there are situations in which you might consider seeking damages from other parties. Not all ATV/snowmobile accidents occur on roads; many do not even involve other motorized vehicles. Some options for potential parties include:

  • A company that rented the off-road vehicle to you, if there was negligence in maintenance and inspections;
  • The manufacturer of the ATV or snow machine, when dangerous defects were behind the incident;
  • The owner of the off-road vehicle, if you were legally riding as a passenger; or,
  • A business or property owner that did not properly maintain snowmobile trails.


Ask Our Alaska Personal Injury and Accident Lawyer About Your Rights 

When ATV and snowmobile safety tips are not enough to protect yourself against negligence by others, it is important to retain experienced legal counsel to assist with your options. Our team at Power & Power Law focuses on a wide range of personal injury accidents, so we are well-prepared to fight for your rights. For more information, please contact our Anchorage, AK offices to schedule a free consultation.