Snowmobile riding is one of the most popular and fastest growing winter recreation activities. Many national and state parks are only accessible in the wintertime on snowmobile. But, just like with any other activity, snowmobiling has its risks. Every season thousands of people are injured, and sometimes killed, in snowmobile accidents. If you have been hurt in a snowmobile accident because of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to be compensated for those injuries.
Snowmobile Accident Claims
Just because you’re hurt in a snowmobile accident does not mean you’re going to be able to be compensated for your injuries. Snowmobile accidents happen for any number of reasons. You can only receive compensation if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence.
Some examples of accidents that are the result of negligence include:
- Another snowmobile driver was negligent
- You were a passenger and your driver was negligent
- The snowmobile manufacturer could’ve made a defective product
- The trails you were writing were not properly marked or maintained.
The first step in getting money for injuries and accidents is having a case evaluated by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Part of the process also involves evaluating the likelihood of getting compensated. If a snowmobile rider does not have any insurance, or any sizable assets, there may not be much point in filing a claim. You will never receive any money if you were to successfully win the lawsuit. The damages would most likely be discharged in the bankruptcy.
However, if you’re injured because the snowmobile you were riding on was in someway defective, or the open land that you were legally on had some foreseeable danger of what you were not warned, you’re more likely to be able to successfully recover damages.
Even in cases that never go to court, nobody is going to want to pay out any damages unless you can meet all of the legal requirements to prove someone was negligent. For basic elements of negligence are:
- Someone owes you a legal duty
- That person or entity reaches that duty
- You are injured as a result of that breach
- You suffered damages
Types of Snowmobile Accidents
Snowmobile accidents can be caused by variety of natural and human factors. Most of the time people are not legally responsible for accidents caused solely by the weather. However, often human error combines with the natural elements to cause snowmobile accidents.
Some of the most common type snowmobile accidents are:
- Collisions between snowmobiles
- Snowmobile going off the trail
- Falling off of a snowmobile
- Being run over by a snowmobile
- Having a snowmobile that you were riding roll over
- Collision with a fixed object because of lack of visibility
Determining the exact cause a snowmobile accident is a matter best left to experts. While you may have a general idea of what happened in an accident, they are likely many factors of which you were not aware. These other factors may be what the law calls the “proximate cause” of your injury. Before deciding whether not you had a claim for a snowmobile accident you need to consult with a trained professional.
Even though most people riding snowmobiles are well bundled, they are still riding mostly unprotected on a motor vehicle It can be traveling very quickly. This combination often results in deadly or catastrophic injuries.
Some of the most common types of snowmobile injuries are:
- Traumatic head injuries
- Sprained or strained muscles
- Imputation of digits or limbs
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Neck and back injuries
- Fractured bones
Just like with motorcycles and ATVs, riders who wear helmets while snowmobiling are much less likely to suffer fatal injuries. They are also less likely to suffer debilitating injuries such as paralysis or permanent brain damage.
Because snowmobiling is often done in the remote wilderness, access to proper medical care is usually limited. Delays in getting appropriate medical treatment can result in more severe injuries. If you have been hurt in a snowmobile accident, one of your top priorities needs to be getting appropriate medical care. Even if you do not need emergency care, your regular physician should still evaluate you as soon as possible.
Injuries may not be noticeable for several days after the accident. Internal injuries may not be obvious to you until it is too late for them to be treated properly. Getting medical care quickly can be the difference between life and death.
Less important, but still relevant, is the fact that the better documentation you have your injuries the easier it will be to get the compensation you deserve.
Obstacles to Recovering Damages
One frequent problem with snowmobile accident claims is knowing the right person to file a claim with. Unlike car accidents, there is not usually a requirement to exchange information in snowmobile accidents. You do not have to have insurance in most states to legally operate a snowmobile.
Another problem is knowing who has jurisdiction over a claim. If the injury occurred on a remote piece of land, you have to figure out what county the accident occurred. If the accident happened on federal land, the claim may need to be brought in state court.
Because there is not a lot of chance to gather evidence in snowmobile accidents, it can be difficult to prove the cause of the accident. While smart phones are making this easier, there is still almost always an information gap.
You don’t have to try and fight a claim by yourself. We can help you find a lawyer who understands snowmobile accidents and is willing to help you fight for your rights. Call us today to find the right lawyer for you.