Farmington, the seat of Davis County, is located about 16 miles north of Salt Lake City. It occupies a narrow strip of land tucked snugly against the base of the Wasatch Mountains, halfway between Salt Lake City and Ogden, with the Great Salt Lake lapping at its western shores. The community, with a population of around 22,000, is a place renowned for its tree lined streets, visual charm and a history as solid as the stone used in the construction of many of its pioneer homes. Farmington’s earliest inhabitants were Indians who stayed until the 1860’s. Fur trappers came through the Farmington area as early as 1825, and were followed by explorers and emigrants in the 1840’s. Soon after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley with the Mormon Pioneers in 1847, Hector C. Haight traveled north to graze cattle, eventually building a log cabin and settling his family in the area. Other settlers followed over the ensuing years, naming the town North Cottonwood. The name was later changed to Farmington. In December of 1892, Farmington was incorporated as a city with a population of 1,180. By 1980, that number had increased to 4,700, and in the next 12 years the population doubled.
The five canyons above Farmington have streams that flow through the City, eventually emptying into the Great Salt Lake. Farmington Canyon offers opportunities for hiking, jogging, bicycling, snowmobiling, picnicking, horseback riding, fishing and camping. There are also horse racing and rodeo facilities at the Davis County Fairgrounds in West Farmington. Farmington is well known as the site of the State’s largest family amusement park. Lagoon, originally known as Lake Park Resort, was once on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. The City’s motto, “Historic Beginnings”, is in reference to the pioneer spirit that Farmington was settled with and that same pioneer spirit exists today. Majestic trees line the City’s Main Streets which makes it have the old town feeling.
Am I Liable if someone is injured on My Property?
An injured guest, customer or trespasser may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against you. Depending on how the person was injured and what their status was on your property, you could be held liable. Generally, the law requires landowners to maintain their property the way a reasonable person would. When the landowner fails to do so or breaches their duty of care to those entering their property, they may be negligent. Some states complicate this duty of care requirement by varying the landowner’s responsibility based on the status of the visitor. Thus, if the visitor is invited, such as a guest or customer, then the duty of care may be higher than a trespasser.
Can My Guests Sue Me?
Typically, invited guests must be warned of any hidden dangers on your property. However, you usually do not owe a duty to inspect your property for any such dangers. So, if you are aware of any potential hazards, tell your guests.
Can My Customers Sue Me?
This category of visitors usually enjoys the highest standard of care. These include open businesses such as stores and public facilities such as libraries. Even if a visitor does not purchase your product or service, they are still entitled to the standard of care while visiting your property. Like the social guest, landowners must make customers aware of any hidden dangers such as uneven floors or slippery surfaces. However, in addition to that warning, landowners must inspect their property and make reasonable repairs to any dangerous conditions for their customers.
Can a Trespasser Sue Me?
Unfortunately, an uninvited visitor is entitled to a certain duty of care. Though, it is less than the duty owed to your invited guests. Like the social guest, a landowner has a duty to warn of a danger on the property to any discovered trespasser, or trespassers they can anticipate. This warning can take the form of a sign at the entry of the property. Additionally, landowners cannot create a hazardous trap for potential trespassers that would cause the trespasser harm. Landowners owe no duty to trespassers to repair any dangerous condition or a duty to inspect the property for such dangers. For the undiscovered trespasser, the landowner only owes the duty of not intentionally trapping or harming the trespasser. Child trespassers are the exception to the general duties regarding trespassers. The attractive nuisance doctrine protects child trespassers from objects or features on a land that attracts children to the land and has dangers that are not expected due to the child’s inability to appreciate the risk. Examples include pools, abandoned vehicles, and trampolines. Whether the child is able to appreciate the risk is determined on a case by case basis in most jurisdictions. The landowner also must have been able to foresee this risk to a potential child trespasser if they are to be successfully sued. The duty of the landowner is to exercise reasonable care in eliminating or substantially reducing the risk to the trespassing child.
Should I Consult a Lawyer?
Yes. You should always talk to a lawyer. A local personal injury lawyer can help you learn about what duty you owe if you have a hazardous feature on your property to avoid future liability. If someone has been injured on your property a lawyer can advise and defend you in the event you are sued.
Liability for ATV Accidents on Private Property
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or “four wheelers” are revered for their sporting and utility capabilities, making them beneficial for farmers, yard workers and emergency response teams. There are generally very few regulations restricting their use on private property among even the youngest of drivers. However, nearly a quarter of fatal ATV accidents from 1982 through 2016 involved a child younger than 16 years old. ATVs are high-powered vehicles that can be helpful, fun and even life-saving – when they are used properly. But if a four wheeler is operated unsafely, it can cause an accident resulting in serious injury, disability or death.
A Closer Look at the Potential Risks of ATVs
Honda first introduced a three-wheeled All-Terrain Cycle in the U.S. in 1970 to combat the decline in motorcycle sales during winter. As demand for the three-wheeled cycle continued to grow, so too did the frequency of accidents and injuries, prompting the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to get involved. Ultimately, 10 ATV manufacturers settled the CPSC’s federal complaint in the April 1988 Final Consent Decree, which banned three-wheel, cycles from sale. The four wheel model we are familiar with today has dominated the market ever since.
While more sophisticated than its predecessor, four wheelers have several features that can contribute to safety hazards, including:
• A high center of gravity and narrow wheel base, creating high rollover risk
• High speed capabilities
• Ability to provide ground clearance on uneven terrain
• Minimal rider protection from the elements
• Limited or nonexistent safety features, such as roll bars
According to CPSC data from the years 2010 through 2013, an average of 77 children under the age of 16 years old and 532 adults die each year from ATV accidents.
Preventing Four Wheeler Accidents
Reasonable precautions can greatly reduce the risk of a serious ATV accident. The CPSC recommends the following “Rules of the Trail:”
• Do not drive ATVs on paved [public] roads.
• Do not allow a child under 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV.
• Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger.
• Always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
• Take a hands-on safety training course.
State law and other statutory codes regarding licensing, operation and ownership of All-terrain Vehicles should always be followed. State law controls the operation of four wheelers on public property. In Utah, for example, it is illegal for anyone to ride an ATV on any public road unless it is operated for official government use, or operated by a licensed driver for agricultural use. Furthermore, in the state of Farmington, these riders are not legally required to wear helmets or other safety gear. Farmington state law regarding ATV operation does not apply to an individual’s private property and there is no age requirement for drivers.
Determining Liability for ATV Accidents
For individuals who spend a lot of time around an ATV, it can be easy to forget how dangerous these high-powered vehicles can be even under the most innocent of circumstances. When an ATV accident does occur on private property, it can be devastating for all parties involved. Although these incidents can happen in a number of different ways, they are often the result of negligence. Negligence is regarded as carelessness that directly or implicitly results in a harmful accident, and can fall into one of three legal categories:
• Negligent Entrustment could apply to a parent allowing a young child or reckless teenager to drive a high-speed ATV. For this, the owner needs to know, or have reasonable cause to know, that the driver is unfit and likely to cause injury to others.
• Negligent Maintenance could refer to an owner who allows riders on a vehicle they have not kept in proper condition. This could also include failure to inform a rider of known product defects.
• Negligent Supervision may apply to an adult or guardian who allows children to operate a four wheeler when they are not present to observe.
It is also possible that there could be comparative negligence, where both parties are assigned a percentage of liability for their perceived contributions to the cause of an injury. Any assessment of a person’s potential liability for an accident should be discussed with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Finding Legal Representation for an ATV Accident in Farmington, Utah.
Emotions run high when any person is seriously injured in an accident. Legal action may need to be brought forth against a relative or friend, or even the parents of your child’s friend. ATVs are everywhere, and just like any other vehicle or automobile, ATVs can be incredibly dangerous, causing severe injuries to innocent people. Although many ATVs do not look not much bigger than a go-cart, ATVs cause significant destruction each year. Many owners of ATVs are not careful and drive recklessly, dangerously, and in some cases, even allow minors to operate their ATVs without supervision. If you or a loved one has been injured by an ATV, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Much like car accidents, an experienced ATV injury attorney can help inform you of your legal rights and begin the process of seeking to hold the ATV driver accountable for your injuries.
ATV Accident Statistics
ATV stands for all-terrain-vehicle, a misleading title as ATVs are prone to flipping and losing control on many road types and conditions. The United States Consumer Product Commission estimates there are around 100,000 ATV related emergency injuries each year in the United States. Sadly, there are also around 500 annual ATV related deaths in the United States, with nearly a quarter of these happening to children under the age of 16. These numbers are expected to grow as ATVs become increasingly readily available and more people are purchasing ATVs for mere recreational use. ATVs are made to look friendly and fun, like a ride at a theme park, but in many cases, the dangers of ATVs are not fully appreciated or known. ATVs are not merely toys, as evidenced by the high number of accidents and deaths caused by ATVs and their drivers each year in the United States. Drivers and owners of ATVs are required, much like car drivers, to be alert and safe when driving. Therefore, any violation of safety may cause the ATV driver to be liable to you in damages.
Common Causes Of ATV Accidents
The most common causes of ATV accidents are:
• Drunk ATV Driving
• Recklessness or Negligence (not driving safely)
• Distracted ATV Driving
• Underage ATV Driving
• Riding on improper roads for ATVs
• Improper ATV training or driving ability
ATV Accident Lawsuits
If someone in an ATV drives into you, causing your injury, they may be liable for your injuries. This can most likely result in a personal injury civil lawsuit against the driver of the ATV. If the ATV owner allows an underage or unlicensed driver to use the ATV, causing your injury, you may be able to hold the owner and the driver liable for your injuries in a similar lawsuit. In the case of a faulty ATV, such as a manufacturing defect that attributes to the accident, you may be able to hold the ATV manufacturer liable for your injuries, as well as the ATV owner if there was a combination of fault. Your attorney may counsel you on which parties to sue, and can conduct in-depth investigations and discovery to acquire evidence in the hands of the other parties in order to demonstrate their fault, as well as recreate the surrounding factual circumstances of the accident.
Farmington Utah ATV Accident Lawyer
When you need legal help with an ATV accident in Farmington Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506