Minneapolis Snowmobile Accident lawyer
Snowmobiles are often used for recreation, travel, work-related tasks and even military purposes. However, in the event of a crash, the injuries sustained can be serious, life-altering or fatal. If you or a loved one has been involved a snowmobile crash that was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation, such as medical expenses and loss of wages.
At TSR Injury Law, we have more than two decades of experience representing injury victims and their families throughout Minnesota, with over $150 million recovered on behalf of our clients. Many of our lawyers are members of The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 and the American Board of Trial Advocates.
A Minneapolis snowmobile accident lawyer from our firm is ready to discuss your claim. Our initial consultations are completely free and there is no obligation to hire our firm. Should we represent you, we charge no upfront fees unless we are able to help you obtain compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Call (612) TSR-TIME. We are prepared to seek maximum compensation for your damages.
Am I Eligible to File a Case?
Our lawyers need to review your circumstances in great detail to assess whether you may be eligible to file a case for compensation. This includes determining if the crash was the result of negligent operation of the snowmobile, even if you were a passenger on the snowmobile that was operated carelessly.
Negligence is the basis of most personal injury cases. There are four elements of negligence that must be established to recover compensation:
- Duty of care – The other side owed you a legal duty to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm. Snowmobile riders have a duty to not speed around others when on a mountain, trail or on the road.
- Breach of duty of care – The other side breached this duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation. His or her actions or inactions caused this breach.
- Causation – There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and your injuries. There was a reasonable expectation for the other side to foresee that his or her actions would cause harm.
- Damages – The other side’s negligence caused damages, such as medical bills to treat your injury, bills to repair property damage and other expenses attributed to the crash.
Proving negligence can be difficult without an experienced attorney by your side. We welcome the opportunity to discuss if you may have a case and your potential legal options in a free consultation.
TSR Injury Law. Free Consultation. (612) TSR-TIME.
Compensation for Snowmobile Crash Injuries
Snowmobile crashes can cause many significant injuries, from broken bones to internal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and facial trauma. This can result in costly medical care to treat not only the physical pain endured, but also mental and emotional suffering experienced during and after the crash.
If you have a case, you may be able to be compensated for the following:
- Past, current and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Assistive medical devices (wheelchairs and crutches)
- Modifications to vehicles and homes for a disability
- Long-term care services
- Loss of wages and loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
What If I Was Trespassing on Private Property?
If you were hurt in a snowmobile crash while trespassing, the owner of the property may not be liable for your injuries. You must have been lawfully invited onto the private property as a social guest (invitee) or for a business-related purpose (licensee). This is in accordance with Minnesota’s trespass laws.
You may be unable to pursue compensation and worse, you could face a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $1,000 and a jail sentence up to 90 days. We recommend consulting a Minneapolis snowmobile injury lawyer who is well-versed in these cases and knows how to seek maximum compensation for these injuries.
Is There a Time Limit To Take Legal Action?
In Minnesota, there is a limited amount of time to take legal action for your injuries. This is known as the statute of limitations. For snowmobile crashes, you generally have two years from the date of the crash to file a case. Failure to meet the six-year deadline means forfeiting your right to bring your case to court and recover compensation for your losses, even when you are severely injured or disabled.
There may be exceptions that grant you extra time to file. This includes situations when the victim is a minor or mentally incompetent and cannot take legal action. Our legal team is ready to answer any questions you may have about the statute of limitations and help determine the filing deadline that is applicable to your situation.
Will Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Case?
State law requires all snowmobile riders under the age of 18 to wear a DOT-compliant helmet unless participating in a parade or operating the vehicle on family-owned land.
Even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, you may still be eligible to file a case and recover compensation for your injuries. However, the insurance company may attempt to devalue or deny your settlement. They may claim you sustained injuries because you failed to wear a helmet in an effort to pay out as little as possible to protect their best interests and save themselves money.
This is why it is important to reach out to our legal team as soon as possible. We are prepared to conduct a detailed investigation and gather evidence to define the role your missing helmet played in the crash and your injuries. There is no obligation to move forward and no risk in calling us.
Minnesota Snowmobile Laws You Should Know
Snowmobiles in Minnesota are considered self-propelled vehicles originally manufactured and designed for travel on snow or ice and steered by skis or runners. They are similar, but considered different from all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycle or off-road vehicles equipped with aftermarket skis and tracks.
As outlined in Minnesota’s Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules & Regulations, snowmobile riders have a responsibility to respect the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. This handbook educates riders on licensing and registration, equipment requirements, and how to operate a snowmobile.
Registering a Snowmobile
If you purchase a snowmobile, it must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for you to legally operate or transport the vehicle. You must be at least 18 years old and submit documentation for purchase verification. A snowmobile registration number, validation decal and registration card will then be issued.
Operating a Snowmobile
Operating a snowmobile requires having either a snowmobile safety certificate or a snowmobile safety certificate indicator that appears on your driver’s license or state ID card. Although the average snowmobile can go as fast as 90 mph or reach upwards of 120 mph, depending on the vehicle model, state law does not allow snowmobile riders to go past the posted speed limit on trails or over 50 mph on public lands or waters.
Other rules of the road for riders includes always passing on the left when trying to overtake another vehicle traveling in the same direction, slowing down and staying to the right when meeting another vehicle, and giving the right-of-way to the operator on the right at an intersection.
Aside from wearing a helmet, eye protection and proper clothing are also important. Headlights and taillights not turned on in a snowmobile after dark can result in a crash. The brakes also must be in good working condition and the vehicle must a certain amount of reflector material on either side of the handlebars.
The DNR site also provides snowmobile safety tips to help reduce the risk of a crash.
Snowmobile Insurance Coverage
Snowmobile crashes are usually covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. Victims may also have insurance policies on the vehicles themselves. Coverages that may be available include:
- Liability – This helps cover the other side’s expenses if you caused an crash that resulted in bodily injury or damage to property.
- Collision – This helps cover damage to the snowmobile caused by colliding with another object or vehicle.
- Comprehensive – This helps cover damage to the snowmobile caused by theft, vandalism, fire or an animal.
- Medical payments – This helps cover medical bills for your snowmobile-related injuries, up to the policy limits.
Our attorneys can also help you determine if an umbrella insurance policy may apply to your crash.
What to Do After a Snowmobile Crash
After a snowmobile crash, there are certain things you can do to keep you safe and gather information you may need before being able to file a claim for compensation. This includes the following:
- Seek medical care – Receive treatment to protect your health and learn the extent of your injuries. Many injuries may not present symptoms for days or weeks. Getting evaluated by a doctor will help to establish a link between your injuries and the crash because medical records can be hard to refute.
- Report the crash – Be sure to call the police to investigate the scene and obtain a copy of the crash report. State law requires that you report the crash within 48 hours to the DNR if it resulted in a serious injury, death, or property damage totaling more than $500.
- Exchange information – Gather as much information from everyone involved in the crash. This includes names and contact information, year, make and model of the vehicle, and insurance details.
- Document evidence – If you are capable, take pictures with your cellphone of the crash scene, the vehicles involved, your injuries, and anything else deemed relevant.
- Contact a lawyer – Unlike the insurance company, a lawyer will be focused on protecting your rights and best interests. He or she can walk you through the legal process, communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf and negotiate for fair compensation.
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Why Snowmobile Crashes Happen
Snowmobiles can be inherently dangerous. These vehicles weigh more than 400 pounds and can travel at high speeds. Unfortunately, snowmobile crashes often happen due to negligence. Examples include:
Speeding or Reckless Driving
It can be difficult to control a snowmobile when riding at excessive speeds. Many crashes occur when operators are speeding or driving recklessly, which can cause collisions with street signs, trees, poles, or collisions with another rider or motor vehicle.
Poor Trail Conditions
Trails that are not properly maintained by property owners and free of hazards can cause a collision or loss of vehicle control. Although an operator is expected to steer with care and use caution against these elements, sometimes negligent caretaking can lead to an injury.
Drug or Alcohol Intoxication
Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another cause of snowmobile crashes. Drugs and alcohol can impair your ability to operate the vehicle safely, along with your judgement and reaction time to an obstacle.
Malfunction or Maintenance Issue
Snowmobiles are also subject to malfunctions and mechanical defects that can lead to an injury or death. An crash could be caused by poor vehicle construction or design, recalled equipment or faulty parts.
Need Help? Contact Our Minneapolis Snowmobile Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a snowmobile crash, you should seek legal help from a qualified lawyer. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for medical expenses and other damages. Our lawyers at TSR Injury Law have been advocating for victims’ rights for more than 20 years and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients in Hennepin County and across the state of Minnesota.
Let us review your situation and determine whether you may have a viable case in a free, no-obligation consultation. There are no upfront fees for our service. We only get paid if you obtain compensation.
Our office in Bloomington is located about 25 minutes from the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association.
Contact our legal team today by calling (612) TSR-TIME.