Bloomington Snowmobile Accident Attorneys
Riding a snowmobile can be a lot of fun, but the fun can quickly end when riders, passengers or others are careless or negligent. Crashes can occur and leave victims with severe or even life-threatening injuries, and recovery could take a long time, if a recovery is even possible.
After a crash, it is important to talk to a licensed attorney about compensation that may be available for your injuries. The Bloomington snowmobile accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law have extensive knowledge of the causes of these crashes, damages that may be available, and how to build a strong case on behalf of our clients.
Our firm has recovered more than $150 million on behalf of our clients over more than 20 years. We represent accident victims throughout the state and do not charge fees up front. We do not get paid unless we secure compensation for our clients. The initial consultation is also free, and you decide whether to take legal action if we determine you have a case.
Our phone lines are open 24/7. Give us a call to learn more about legal options. (612) TSR-TIME
How do I Know if I May Have a Case?
Generally, it is recommended that crash victims talk to a licensed attorney about whether they may have grounds for legal action, which may include an insurance claim or lawsuit.
At TSR Injury Law, we are prepared to give our assessment of your situation in a free initial consultation. There are many things we may want to know about your crash to determine if negligence was involved and how it may have caused your injuries, such as:
- What you remember about the crash, including the events leading up to the crash
- Evidence you may have about the at-fault rider or driver being drunk
- Whether any equipment failed leading up to the crash
- Where the crash occurred (on or off a snowmobile trail, on property you were not legally allowed to be on, on a mountain, on a road while you were crossing, etc.)
- When the crash happened
- Whether the trail you were riding on was marked properly
Our Bloomington snowmobile accident attorneys need to determine if another party had a duty of care to take action to avoid causing harm, whether that duty was breached, and whether the breach could be directly connected to your injuries and damages.
We have more than two decades of experience building cases for negligence for our clients and recovering compensation on their behalf.
Compensation for Snowmobile Crash Victims
The purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover financial compensation for the victim’s damages. Compensation is meant to help put the victim into the position he or she was in prior to the crash.
The value of each case depends on the damages suffered, how long those damages may last, and other factors you can discuss with one our trusted attorneys.
If you have a valid case, you may be able to seek compensation for physical, financial and emotional damages, such as:
- Treatment of frostbite or hypothermia
- Appointments with doctors
- Loss of wages
- Loss of your earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- MRIs and X-rays
- Wheelchairs, crutches or other medical equipment doctors may prescribe
At TSR Injury Law, our goal is to recover maximum compensation for damages to give you the chance to make the best recovery possible.
Call today to set up your free consultation to learn more. (612) TSR-TIME
How Long do I Have to File Legal Action?
It is best to get the legal process started as soon as possible. The sooner you get started, the sooner you may be able to recover compensation and begin trying to move forward with your life.
There are also deadlines to consider. Our attorneys may be able to file an insurance claim on your behalf and insurance companies often have their own deadlines for claims. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your opportunity to seek compensation from the insurance policy.
The other deadline that may apply is Minnesota’s statute of limitations. You have six years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. Claims filed after that date will likely be dismissed in court, even if you are seriously injured.
There are various exceptions to this deadline, depending on the details of your case, which can be discussed with a licensed Bloomington snowmobile accident lawyer in a free consultation.
Who Could be Held Liable for a Snowmobile Crash?
Fault for a snowmobile crash can be complicated and it depends on the specific situation. At-fault parties may include:
- Snowmobile operators
- Government entities
- Private entities with snowmobile trails
- Product manufacturers
For example, if you were in a collision with another snowmobile, the other snowmobile operator may be at fault. If you were injured as a passenger, the driver of the snowmobile on which you were riding may be liable. In a crash with an automobile, the driver may be at fault.
Motor vehicle operators are not the only ones who may hold liability for these crashes. For example, snowmobile trails in state parks and other government property must be properly maintained and free of hazards that could create an unreasonable risk of a crash. If your crash resulted from hazardous conditions, or lack of signage, you may have a claim against the state of Minnesota and/or its Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The manufacturer of the snowmobile or its components may hold liability if the crash resulted from defective or malfunctioning equipment. These kinds of defects could result in collisions with trees or other fixed objects, fires and explosions or high-speed crashes.
Unsure of who may be liable? Call TSR Injury Law today at (612) TSR-TIME.
Are Snowmobiles Covered by Insurance?
Snowmobiles are usually insured by homeowner’s insurance or a separate insurance policy on the vehicle. A snowmobile insurance policy can include some of the same types of coverage you will find in your car insurance, such as:
- Collision – If your snowmobile is damaged in a collision with obstacles like rocks, trees or ice, you may file a claim for compensation for repairs to your vehicle.
- Bodily injury liability – If you are found at fault in a crash, this coverage may pay the medical bills of the victim. If you in a collision with another rider who has this coverage, your attorney may be able to file a claim against it.
- Property damage – This pays for damage to another’s property in an crash that was your fault.
- Uninsured motorist coverage – If you have insurance but the other rider does not, you may be able to use this coverage to pay for your damages.
- Comprehensive coverage – This coverage applies to losses caused by fire, vandalism or theft.
There may also be umbrella insurance policies that could apply to your claim.
Our Bloomington snowmobile crash lawyers are prepared to manage the insurance claims process on your behalf. The lawyers at our firm have many years of combined experience negotiating for fair compensation with insurance adjusters. We know how to protect the full value of a claim.
We have the resources to launch a thorough investigation of the crash and can consult industry experts when necessary to bolster your claim. We can take steps to preserve evidence and seek out evidence you may not have been aware of, such as video footage of the crash.
We are also prepared to go to court when necessary to pursue full compensation.
Riding Snowmobiles in Minnesota
A snowmobile is also called a motor sled, motor sledge, skimobile, Ski-Doo or snow machine. These are motor vehicles specially designed to travel on snow and have runners on the front and caterpillar tracks in the back.
For the most part, snowmobiles are used as recreational vehicles. However, they are also used as rescue vehicles in the winter. They can also be used for checking forest land and repairing power and telephone lines. Snowmobiles are also used in winter fishing and hunting, and there is professional snowmobile racing.
These vehicles are usually ridden on trails or open terrain and can reach speeds of more than 80, 90 or 100 mph. However, Minnesota prohibits snowmobile riders from traveling over 50 mph on public lands or waters. You are also prohibited from exceeding the posted speed limits on the trail. You must also slow down to a safe speed based on the terrain and visibility.
Regulations for Snowmobile Riders
Our state has many regulations on snowmobiles meant to keep riders and others safe and allow the state to regulate the operation of these vehicles. These are explained in the DNR publication Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Law, Rules and Regulations.
Registering Snowmobiles in Minnesota
Generally, it is illegal to operate or transport an unregistered snowmobile in Minnesota. You must be at least 18 years old to register a snowmobile and the registration fees are mostly used to pay for grant-in-aid trails, trail maintenance, grooming and easement acquisition. Your registration number must be displayed on the vehicle in the space provided by the employer or on each side of the upper half of the front.
However, there are exceptions to this requirement. For example, these vehicles do not need to be registered if they are being used to groom a state or grant-in-aid trial.
Am I Required to Wear a Helmet?
Anyone under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet, unless they are in a parade or on land that belongs to a:
The helmet must display the Department of Transportation (DOT) symbol, indicating it conforms to DOT motor vehicle safety standards.
However, even if you or your loved one were not wearing a helmet during a crash, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages suffered. The other party may try to use Minnesota’s comparative fault law to reduce the value of your claim.
Our snowmobile accident lawyers in Bloomington have detailed knowledge of this law and are prepared to build a strong case to try to make sure the law is applied fairly in your case.
Snowmobiles must have appropriate lights, brakes and reflector material to keep riders and others safe. If your crash was caused by another operator whose vehicle lacked the proper equipment, he or she may be liable for your damages.
Headlights and taillights must be on when riding in the dark and headlights must reveal people and vehicles within 100 feet. Taillights must be visible for 500 feet from the rear of the snowmobile. Every snowmobile must have a minimum of 16 square inches of reflector material on all sides in front of the handlebars.
Rules of the Road
Anyone born after December 31, 1976 is required to complete a snowmobile safety training course to legally operate a snowmobile in the state.
There are certain places and times you can ride a snowmobile:
- The bottom or outside slope of a ditch of a county or state road
- The same direction as road traffic one half hour past sunset to one half hour before the sun rises
- State and local grant in aid trails
- Iced-over waterways
- Public lands open to motorized vehicles
- Land with posted signs saying snowmobiles are allowed
In Minnesota, it is against the law to operate a snowmobile in a careless, reckless or heedless manner endangering the operator or property of another or causing injury or damage. You also cannot use a metal traction device on paved public trails that have been closed by state or local government.
Violations of many snowmobile rules and statutes are considered misdemeanors and may carry fines of up to $1,000 and jail for up to 90 days.
Operating a Snowmobile While Intoxicated
The legal blood alcohol limit is .08, just as it is for driving a car. If refuse a chemical test of your blood alcohol concentration, or are convicted or drunk operation of a snowmobile, your driver’s license will be revoked and your snowmobile, ATV or motorboat privileges will be suspended for one year.
You can be charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony level Driving While Intoxicated. Penalties may include fines between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the offense, along with jail time.
Schedule a free consultation with a Bloomington snowmobile accident lawyer today. Ph: (612) TSR-TIME
Protecting an Injury Claim After a Crash
When a snowmobile crash causes an injury that needs medical attention, death or damage valued at more than $500, you are legally required to report the crash to the DNR within just 48 hours. There is an official accident report form on the DNR website.
Seeking medical attention is also very important after a crash. You need to get an accurate diagnosis of your injuries so appropriate treatment can be provided. Going to the doctor immediately helps to link the crash to your injury.
Make sure you follow the doctor’s orders about physical limitations and attend follow-up appointments. Failure to do so could result in the other side attempting to devalue your claim.
When possible, crash victims should try to collect evidence at the scene, such as pictures of their injuries and the scene. Talk to eyewitnesses about what they saw and get their contact information.
There is limited time to take legal action, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers are available to determine if you may have a case and what it may be worth.
What Causes Snowmobile Crashes?
According to Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources, the top contributing factors in snowmobile crashes are speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. However, there are many other reasons crashes may occur.
- Poor maintenance of a snowmobile trail
- Reckless operation of a snowmobile, such as in a collision with another snowmobile
- Reckless driving, such as in a crash with a car on a snow-covered roadway
- Crashing into a fixed object
- Defective parts on the snowmobile
- Going off a trail
- Obstacles on the trail
- Fires or explosions
- Falling through ice over a lake
Contact Our Bloomington Snowmobile Accident Lawyers
When people ride recreational vehicles like snowmobiles, they tend to much less careful than they might be if they were driving a car. That is why snowmobile crashes are often the result of reckless behavior and decision-making.
If you were injured in a snowmobile crash, either as a rider or passenger, or someone who was not on a snowmobile, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you.
Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more. If you have a case and hire our firm, there are no upfront fees. Co-founder and managing partner Steven Terry is a resident of Bloomington and a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
Our Bloomington snowmobile accident lawyers are ready to help you and answer your questions. (612) TSR-TIME