Snow is abundant in Minnesota winters, and when it snows, many bring their snowmobiles out (or rent them) and hit the state’s 22,000 miles of trails. For winter nature lovers, snowmobiling can be sheer bliss. Snowmobiling is exceedingly popular in Minnesota. Snowmobiles allow riders to explore areas that a person on foot may not be able to access, easily covering hundreds of miles of remote, hard-to-reach areas. What’s exciting for many is the exhilaration of cruising through a winter wonderland deep within the woods, experiencing the solitude that Minnesota’s beautiful wilderness affords.
While snowmobiling can be inherently dangerous, there are many reasons why it’s such an enjoyable activity, so the risks are worth it for those who enjoy the serenity and exhilaration of the sport.
Until Disaster Strikes
As is true of many adventure seekers, snowmobilers have higher numbers of accident incidents that can cause serious injuries and fatalities to drivers, passengers, other snowmobile riders, pedestrians, and skiers.
Typically, the worst injuries occur when a snowmobile hits a solid object such as a tree or collides with another vehicle. In some cases, riders were seriously injured when they cruised over snow that appeared to be firmly packed but was an unstable drift. Tragically, snowmobiles have caused avalanches that have buried riders, causing death. In other cases, severe injuries and fatalities have been caused when snowmobiles flip and crush drivers and passengers.
The Perils of Minnesota Snowmobiling
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, from January 2018-March 2020, there were 21 fatal snowmobiling accidents and hundreds of reported injuries in our state that required hospitalization. (Nationwide, approximately 200 people die yearly in snowmobile accidents, and another 14,000 are seriously injured.)
Injuries often suffered by children and adults include fractures and also can involve all bodily organs and structures. Like motor vehicle accidents, especially since snowmobiles don’t have seatbelts and there are no surrounding enclosed protections, physical trauma and life-threatening damages can occur, with head injuries as the leading cause of death. To prevent tragedies, safety and preventive measures must be observed. But when snowmobile accidents happen, even when their enthusiasts believe their behavior is safe and sensible, sometimes the worst happens.
Common Minnesota Snowmobile Accident Injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord trauma, back injuries, and paralysis
- Amputation, especially in frostbite cases
- Crush injuries
- Wrongful death
Despite snowmobile drivers’ caution, there are many reasons why an accident may occur through no fault of their own.
Causes of Snowmobile Accidents in Minnesota
Other Snowmobile Operators – Depending upon the weather and topographical conditions, drivers must follow safe operating procedures. If you were injured in an accident because a snowmobile driver was intoxicated, speeding, or driving dangerously, they could be held liable for the damage they caused. Or if their failure to install a red tail lamp, a florescent flat, and headlight led to your injuries, they may be held monetarily responsible for your damages. In such a case, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against them.
Snowmobile Manufacturing Mechanical Failure – Should a snowmobile fail mechanically and causes an injury-causing accident, the manufacturer can be held liable if it is determined that the malfunction, through no fault of the operator, caused the accident.
Snowmobile Rental Company – A company that rents snowmobiles has an obligation to ensure that their equipment is safe and properly maintained. The rental company should also ensure that they adequately educate you about the snowmobile and how to operate it. If they failed to do these things, they may be held legally accountable for your accident injuries.
Mechanical Maintenance – A mechanic who has been entrusted with proper snowmobile equipment maintenance and providing safe, reliable mechanical conditions could be held responsible for a problem or failure that led to your accident injuries.
Recreational Areas – If you were legally permitted to ride in a privately established or public park setting with groomed trails and grounds, you are entitled to assume your snowmobile ride will be safe. Should a path obstacle, inadequate signage, or faulty trail layout have caused your accident, the recreational area’s owner or manager may be held liable for your injuries and expenses.
Personal Injury Snowmobile Attorneys
After a snowmobile accident, physical recovery should be your top priority. But if your injuries have caused financial issues—medical bills, recovery and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, household assistance, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life—that stress may interfere with healing. You will want to hold the person or entity who caused your injuries monetarily liable.
Minnesota Snowmobile Accident Injury Lawyers Meet Statute Deadlines
If a snowmobile has injured you or a loved one was killed, it’s imperative that you file a claim as quickly as possible. Minnesota typically has a six-year statute of limitation pertaining to negligence for filing personal injury claims and a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. To acquire help with the complex claim filing process or pursuit of a lawsuit if necessary, the Minnesota law firm of Sieben Edmunds Miller can help you navigate the process. Our attorneys have the knowledge and extensive skills required to successfully win monetary damages for a client who was not at fault for their snowmobile accident.
Injured Snowmobilers Should Contact Personal Injury Law Services
If you or a loved one was injured in a snowmobile accident or, even worse, a loved one was killed because of another’s negligence and recklessness, you need the help of our team of highly-qualified personal injury attorneys. As a premier law firm, we are respected by insurance companies and the courts and have a solid reputation for aggressive, effective representation for fair client settlements. Call 651.323.2464 or email us today for a prompt, compassionate consultation and case evaluation to discuss your unique circumstances.