At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on injury claims to fairly compensate those harmed by negligent individuals and businesses. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to snowmobile accidents. Call (414) 272-3776 to request a free consultation.
When Snowmobilers Hit More Than the Trail
Snowmobiles are a great way to take in the beauty of a Wisconsin or Upper Peninsula winter. They are also approximately 400 pounds of machine that can malfunction, flip, zip out of control, collide with other vehicles and people, and otherwise cause potentially-fatal accidents. In January 2018, there have already been at least six reported fatalities in snowmobile accidents in Wisconsin alone. Most of the victims in these cases were reported to have been wearing helmets.
Survivors of serious snowmobile accidents are likely to suffer extensive or permanent physical injuries. Head and brain injuries are not an uncommon result that leads to long-lasting problems that affect quality of life and earnings potential.
Oftentimes, a snowmobile accident is a one-vehicle accident caused by the driver or present weather or trail conditions. This makes liability less clear than a multivehicle crash. However, just like with motorcycles, car accidents, bicycles, boats, skateboards, and much more, conditions might mean that your crash was not your fault.
If You are a Victim of a Snowmobile Accident
The first thing to do if you have been hurt in a snowmobile crash is to get medical attention. No matter how slight your injuries may seem, you will not know the full extent of them until a medical professional sees you and provides a diagnosis. Be sure to keep a copy of your treatment so you can let your insurance company know about the accident and back it with evidence.
After you have been medically treated, check your insurance policy, or the policy belonging to the vehicle's owner. The driver may have coverage specific to snowmobiles, even though many do not. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to underpay on claims, so even if there is coverage and an offer is made, it may not be enough to take care of the damages you have experienced.
Do not speak to another rider’s insurance company until you have talked to your own attorney. You could inadvertently say the wrong thing and place liability on your shoulders. Consult your attorney initially to discuss your options for recouping injury costs and damages.
Report All Accidents to the DNR & Take Action
Wisconsin law requires every snowmobile operator involved in a crash incident to report the incident without delay to law enforcement officials. In addition, within 10 days of the incident, the operator must submit a written report to Department of Natural Resources (DNR). More information about how to report a snowmobile accident can be found at www.dnr.wi.gov.
Our legal team at Casey Law Offices, S.C. can also help you with your DNR report. In addition, our experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer will help you recover damages that you may be owed if you have been injured.
We consider – as will a judge – the following when determining a financial award for your case:
- Trail conditions: Where did your accident happen? Who owns the property and was it maintained properly? When in state parks and elsewhere, the trails need to be free of hazards that may cause a collision or loss of vehicle control. While a driver is expected to steer with care and use caution against the elements, sometimes negligent caretaking of the trails do lead to injury.
- Reckless driving: Snowmobiles can collide with other snowmobile drivers as well as with cars as the rider crosses an intersection. If another driver caused your accident, then they may be found liable with appropriate case and claim preparation. Likewise, if you were a passenger on a snowmobile and the driver was acting negligently, they may be at fault. If your driver was a friend or relative, you must not be afraid to have a serious conversation about damages, recovery and compensation.
- Malfunction or maintenance: If the snowmobile malfunctioned because of poor construction, bad design, recalled equipment, or faulty parts, the manufacturer or mechanic may be liable for damages caused. As with any consumer product, if it is sold on the open market, there is an expectation that it is safe for regular use. Otherwise, the manufacturer may need to answer to a product liability claim. Additionally, if you were riding on a rented snowmobile, wear and tear or mishandled maintenance may have contributed to your accident. In which case, the rental company may be held accountable.
Legal Assistance After a Snowmobile Accident
Please be safe while enjoying the snowy trails on your snowmobile. Our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys suggest you visit the aforementioned DNR website for more information about rider safety classes and how to register your snowmobile. If you have been injured in a snowmobile accident, you should work with a personal injury attorney who understands snowmobile insurance as well as Wisconsin’s negligence laws. Do not hesitate to call Casey Law Offices, S.C. at (414) 272-3776 or fill out an online contact form to get a no-cost consultation.