All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are very popular in West Virginia and throughout the U.S. ATV owners who enjoy taking these vehicles off-road should know that as motor vehicles, ATVs are subject to state laws, and West Virginia has several laws that apply to ATV use in the state. If you own an ATV or plan to purchase one, it is essential to know these laws. Following ATV laws in West Virginia will help maintain safety and prevent incurring legal penalties.

ATV Accident Statistics

The West Virginia University Center for Rural Emergency Medicine provides a full rundown of West Virginia’s ATV laws and the statistics of ATV accidents in the state.

  • About 95% of ATV crash victims were not wearing helmets at the times of their crashes.
  • Roughly one third of all ATV crashes involve a passenger.
  • About 40% of ATV crashes occur on paved streets.
  • Roughly 25% of all ATV accident deaths are children under the age of 16.
  • About 22% of all ATV accidents involve drugs or alcohol.

West Virginians should consider these statistics and cultivate safe riding habits.

ATV Laws in West Virginia

State law prohibits all West Virginia ATV operators from carrying passengers unless their vehicles carry passengers by design. Most ATVs are one-person vehicles. Children under 16 years old should not operate any ATV with an engine size greater than 90 cubic centimeters. West Virginia strongly encourages riders to wear appropriate helmets and safety equipment and refrain from consuming drugs or alcohol before operating their ATVs.

West Virginia also upholds several other specific laws pertaining to safe and legal ATV operation in the state.

  • ATV operators may not travel on interstate highways.
  • ATVs must have operational headlights and taillights if ridden between sunset and sunrise.
  • An ATV must have a manufacturer-installed spark arrester and muffler.
  • An ATV operator under the age of 18 may not carry a passenger. A rider over the age of 18 with a valid driver’s license and an ATV with space for a passenger may carry one passenger under the age of 18.
  • Any ATV operator under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.
  • As of January 1, 2005, no ATV operator may use an ATV without completing a vehicle rider safety awareness course. This does not apply to ATV operation on private property.

Failure to abide by these laws can result in fines or loss of license. A first offense could qualify as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor could result in a fine of no more than $100 and ten hours of community service. A second offense will qualify for a fine up to $200 and up to 20 hours of community service.

Stay Safe and Limit Liability

Abiding by West Virginia’s ATV laws not only helps keep you safe and avoid legal penalties like fines but can also help limit your liability in the event of an accident. If you have an ATV accident in West Virginia, your failure to wear a helmet or abide by state laws could lead to you absorbing partial liability for the accident. West Virginia upholds a comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff found partially at fault for a personal injury will lose a portion of his or her settlement or case award equal to his or her fault percentage. For example, a plaintiff found 10% at fault for a $50,000 ATV accident claim would lose 10% of the case award or $5,000 for a net award of $45,000 instead.

All West Virginia ATV operators must abide by state laws at all times. Operators must use good judgment whenever they ride their ATVs, even on private property. These vehicles are fun, but they are also incredibly dangerous when mishandled or driven irresponsibly. If you or a loved one suffered injury in an ATV accident due to another party’s negligence, contact a West Virginia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse. An accident lawyer can also help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


Contact Us Today

We offer a free initial consultation at our office in the Manchin Professional Building — our home since 1983 — conveniently located in Fairmont.

If you are unable to visit our firm, we can come to your home or hospital room.

Fill out the form below to get in touch!

100% privacy guarantee