Quad bike injury compensation

The use of quad bikes or All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) has been on the increase in recent years due to their adaptability, low running costs and relatively easy operation. They are widely used in farming, rescue services, recreation, government and tourism. However, there is also concern about the rising number of serious injuries and fatalities arising from their use.


Between 2011 and 2016 there were 33 quad bike fatalities in Australia, of which almost half were rollover accidents. While a large proportion of fatalities occur in recreational settings, quad bikes also remain the leading cause of death on farms, resulting in an average of 13 deaths a year.


Check your rights with no risk or obligations.

Risks associated with quad bikes

  • Complacency: Because quad bikes are deceptively easy to ride, users can quickly become complacent with their use. Quad bikes have a high centre of gravity making them easy to roll. Because they are marketed as “all-terrain vehicles”, many people do not appreciate how unstable quad bikes can become on slopes and uneven ground.
  • Children: Experts advise that children under the age of 16 years do not have the cognitive and physical capabilities to ride a quad bike safely. In addition, lightweight riders can have difficulty maintaining stability on a quad bike.
  • Overloading: Overloading a quad bike, even with one passenger, can cause instability as they are designed for one rider alone. Towing or carrying cargo can change the handling, stability and braking conditions, increasing the risk of rollover. 

Common injuries from quad bike accidents


The potential for injuries arising from the use of quad bikes range from cuts and bruises to catastrophic spinal injuries and even death.


The most common mechanisms of injury are:

  • Rollovers - the most common cause of injury is from a rider rolling the vehicle on top of themselves. This may result in serious fractures; crush injuries; asphyxiation; abdominal, head and chest injuries; spinal injuries; brain injuries and death.
  • Strangulation - riders, especially those under 16 years of age are prone to strangulation when riding under fences, clotheslines or other ropes or cords, especially during times of poor visibility or when ground is uneven.
  • Collisions - impacts with other objects or riders may cause cuts, bruises, soft tissue injuries, fractures, crush injuries, internal injuries, spinal injuries, head and brain injuries or death, depending on the circumstances.
  • Falls - even when a rider doesn’t completely roll their vehicle, falls can occur, causing bruises, soft tissue injuries, fractures, spinal and head injuries. 

Quad bike injury - can I claim compensation? 


You may be able to claim compensation for injuries resulting from a quad bike accident if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings.

Quad bike accident at work? 


If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer. Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:

  • providing safe systems of work;
  • maintaining safe plant, machinery and equipment;
  • maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • providing employees with adequate facilities, training, supervision and instruction.


Quad bikes used for work are regulated under work health and safety legislation as ‘plant’. Employers must ensure that their quad bikes are safe and appropriate for the situation and skill level of their employees and that riders receive proper instruction. Helmets are mandatory for quad bike riders and passengers when on a road or in a ‘road related’ area.


If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to sue for personal injury compensation. This includes injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries.






Jeff sustains severe crush injuries to the right side of his body in a quad bike rollover accident on a farm property. The quad bike provided by Jeff’s employer had disabled rear brakes, an incorrectly fitted tyre and faulty suspension. Jeff was never properly trained to ride the quad, nor was he instructed to wear a helmet. Jeff can most likely claim compensation from his employer for his personal injuries.

Rick is quad bike instructor who works for a recreational company taking quad bike tours. While showing off in front of his tour group, Rick rolls his quad and sustains a fractured leg. Rick’s employer maintains the quad bikes well, provides helmets and ensures all staff complete a rider safety training course. Rick would not be able to claim compensation for his injuries as they were due to his own negligence. However, he could apply for Workers Compensation payments while he is off work.


See also:

Road accident with quad bike


If you are injured in a road accident while legally riding a quad bike and the collision was totally or partially due to the fault of another driver or vehicle owner you can claim compensation from the owner of the vehicle that caused the accident through their Compulsory Third Party insurer.




Jeff’s quad bike collides with a car that runs a red light, causing him severe spinal injuries. Since the accident was not Jeff’s fault, he can claim personal injury compensation from the owner of the car through their CTP insurer.

Rick negligently rear-ends a truck while riding his quad bike on a road causing him to sustain head injuries. Because the collision is Rick’s fault he is unable to claim compensation for his injuries (although exceptions may apply for catastrophic accidents). If the accident occurred after July 1 2016, he may be able to seek necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitation services through the National Injury Insurance Scheme of Queensland (NIISQ).


See Also:

Are quad bikes road legal in Australia?


A non-standard vehicle (such as a quad bike) can be driven on a Queensland road, if it is conditionally registered with Queensland Transport. If you ride a quad bike on a road without conditional registration you can be fined and there will be no insurances to cover your loss if you have an accident.


A conditional registration may place limitations on where and how far you can travel on a road with your quad bike. For example, it may only permit you to travel on road for a distance of 40km or confine you to a worksite and designated areas.


Compulsory third party insurance must be held before you apply for conditional registration. This will cover your liability for third party personal injury claims in the event you are involved in an accident. Registration holders should also check that they have public liability insurance that will cover them for ‘on road’ riding.


As of 1 February 2017 in Queensland;

  • Children under 8 years are prohibited from travelling as passengers on quad bikes, as well as any person who is unable to sit with their feet flat on the floor and hands on handholds; and
  • Mandatory helmet wearing for riders and passengers of quad bikes is incorporated in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation Breaching this law will result in a fine and loss of demerit points. 

Recreational quad bike accident - can I claim compensation? 

A business that offers recreational activities such as a quad bike tour company will be liable for injuries or loss if it is caused by their negligence. This might happen where equipment is not properly maintained, staff are not well trained or inadequate supervision is provided.


If negligent, a recreational service provider may be liable to you:

  1. in negligence for breaching their duty of care;
  2. in contract for breaching an implied term to exercise due care and skill; and
  3. under statute for breaching consumer guarantees which require them to provide services with due care and skill and services that are fit for purpose.

Limitations on claiming compensation for recreational injuries


In Queensland there are statutory limitations on suing for personal injuries that arise out of an obvious risk of a dangerous recreational activity. In some cases this may apply to quad biking, depending on the circumstances.


In addition, recreational activity providers often require riders to sign a liability waiver that can limit their liability for personal injuries. However even where a disclaimer or waiver is enforceable, if your injury results from the activity provider’s failure to exercise reasonable care such as by providing faulty equipment or not training their staff properly, you may have a right to sue.


If you have signed a
and are injured, its best to speak with a lawyer about your options. They can look at the specific circumstances and the wavier you signed and tell you whether or not you still have rights.

Quad bike injury compensation - what can I claim for?

General damages


General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries. They are calculated by reference to the ISV Scale, which rates the seriousness of any injury between 1 and 100 and accords a monetary value range to that rating.


For example an extreme brain injury resulting in gross permanent disturbance of brain function, significant physical limitation and destruction of pre-existing lifestyle has a rating of 71 to 100 and a monetary range of $215,160 to $349,400 whereas a minor wrist injury is rated 0 to 5 with a monetary range of $0 to $6,950.

Medical costs


To diagnose and treat your injuries you may need to consult with your general practitioner, consult a specialist, obtain x-rays or MRIs, take pain medications and wear special braces apparatus. The expenses you incur to obtain medical treatment, including costs of consultations, diagnostic scans, travel costs, medication and medical equipment, may be claimed as compensation. You can also claim for the medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury.

Hospital and surgical costs


Injuries such as fractures, dislocations or internal trauma may require surgery. Surgical or hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Rehabilitation costs 


Rehabilitating after an injury may involve physiotherapy, home and vehicle modifications and ergonomic aids. Your reasonable costs of rehabilitation can be claimed back as compensation.

Loss of income and future earning capacity


If you suffer a serious injury you may need time off work for several weeks or months immediately after the incident. You can claim compensation for this lost income.


If your injury prevents you from working in the future to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity. This is usually estimated as a lump sum figure based on the age of the person, their usual occupation and other skills.

Loss of superannuation


Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.

Care and assistance


Serious injuries may prevent you from being able to perform tasks such as personal care, cleaning, laundry, mowing your lawns, caring for the garden or other domestic chores. If you formerly performed these duties but are now unable to due to an injury you can claim compensation for care and assistance provided to you by friends, relatives or paid contractors.


In Queensland there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.

Interest


Interest can generally be claimed on compensation for any out of pocket expenses that are incurred before your claim is resolved.

How will my compensation be determined?

In general terms, the amount of compensation is gauged by comparing what your life was like before the injury and what it is like now as a result of the injury. Therefore, someone whose injury has had a greater impact on their life will be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury has had only minimal impact.


The amount of compensation payable for an injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:

  • the severity of the injury: more severe injuries will attract more compensation;
  • the age of the patient: young people are likely to receive greater compensation than older people for a similar injury as it will impact their lifestyle and employment for a longer period of time;
  • level of health prior to the incident: an active and healthy person may suffer more from an injury because they are unable to exercise the way they did prior to the accident and may become predisposed to mood disorders and other health conditions they may not have suffered were it not for their injury;
  • pre-incident lifestyle: injured claimants who formerly engaged in activities they can no longer participate in may experience greater a impact from their injuries;
  • occupation: greater compensation will be payable where a person’s ability to work in their former occupation is impacted severely by their injuries.

What time limits apply to my claim?

For most personal injury claims, a legal action must be commenced within three years of the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, your claim will be statute barred and you will lose all rights to claim compensation.


However, depending on where your injury occurred or who you are suing, specific pre-court procedures may apply which have their own time limits which are much sooner. If you miss these time limits you may lose your right to pursue your claim if you cannot provide sufficient reasons to the court as to why you delayed and why you should be allowed to proceed with your claim.

Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP. In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Seek expert legal advice ASAP. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat now for advice.




The time limits specified by some pre-court procedures are set out below.

  • If your injuries were sustained at work: Statutory worker’s compensation claims in Queensland must be filed within six months from the date of the accident or the date you become aware of your injury. If you intend to then sue your employer for negligence (otherwise known as a common law claim) you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.
  • If your injuries were sustained in a motor vehicle accident: Pre-court procedures require you to serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within nine months of the injury, or within one month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever occurs first.
  • If your injuries are the subject of a public liability claim: If you are making a claim for personal injuries against an occupier, property owner or public authority, pre-court procedures require you to serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within nine months of the injury, or within one month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever is first.

If you are under 18 years of age


For minors, the obligation to serve the other party with a Notice of Claim begins when the child turns 18, however a parent or guardian may do this on behalf of the minor before they turn 18.


In the case of medical negligence claims, a parent or legal guardian of a minor must serve a Notice of Claim within six years of the day when the parent or guardian knew or ought to have known of the injury.

What to do if you have suffered injuries on a quad bike


Depending on the nature of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help to see if you are able to make a claim.

Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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