Snowmobiling is an increasingly popular pastime in Wisconsin. When driven with proper care, snowmobiles provide an exciting opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin winters.
Like other recreational vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides, snowmobiles are powerful machines that can be as dangerous as they are fun. In Wisconsin, 16 people die from snowmobile accidents every year, with many more people sustaining severe injuries.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have a reputation for achieving results on behalf of accident victims. While some law firms look for quick settlements that cover only their clients’ medical bills, our team is committed to going the extra mile. We will settle for nothing less than the full compensation our clients need to recover from their injuries.
Common Snowmobile Accident Causes and Injuries
There are many ways a snowmobile accident may occur. Knowing the primary risks is one of the best things riders can do to minimize their chances of being in a crash.
Some of the most common causes of snowmobile accidents include:
Excessive speed. Driving too fast is one of the leading causes of fatal snowmobile accidents. While it may be thrilling to speed through miles of snow-covered trails, the excitement is not worth the risk of severe injury or death.
Alcohol use. Alcohol negatively affects a person’s judgment, motor skills, and reflexes, and many snowmobile accidents result from riding while impaired.
Inexperience. Inexperienced snowmobile riders are at an increased risk of being in an accident. In Wisconsin, those born after 1985 are required to take a safety course before operating a snowmobile on public lands.
Equipment failure. Sometimes, snowmobile accidents occur due to design or manufacturing defects, including faulty brakes or steering systems.
Ice or water hazards. To support a snowmobile and its rider, ice needs to be at least five inches thick. Many accidents happen because a rider is attempting to travel across ice that is not strong enough to bear the weight of the machine and its passenger.
Snowmobile accidents often result in death or serious injuries that can have long-term implications for accident survivors. At Nicolet Law, we have experience representing snowmobile accident victims suffering from:
Back injuries: Spinal cord damage has the potential to permanently affect a victim’s strength, sensation, and body functions.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Common TBI symptoms include difficulty concentrating, mood changes, sensitivity to light or sound, dizziness, and loss of coordination.
Broken bones: Fractures can occur in any part of the body, and snowmobile accidents often result in extremity fractures.
Soft tissue injuries: Soft-tissue damage can lead to pain, swelling, and bruising around the injured area.
The compassionate lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers understand that victims tend to feel overwhelmed and vulnerable in the wake of an accident. When we take a case, we systematically guide our clients through every stage of their claim. We pride ourselves on providing the personalized service that accident victims deserve.
What to Do After a Wisconsin Snowmobile Accident
Although no one plans to be in an accident, every snowmobiler should know what to do if an accident occurs. The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, and it is best to have a strategy if the unthinkable happens.
The following is a general guide for what to do in the wake of an accident:
Be mindful of others. An unattended snowmobile is a danger to other riders. If you can, move your vehicle away from the path.
Call for help. If anyone involved in the accident has sustained injuries, call the authorities immediately. The police can help you or another person obtain medical assistance.
Exchange information. Be sure to exchange contact information with everyone involved in the accident. It is helpful to note everyone’s vehicle and insurance information as well.
Seek medical treatment. Some injuries—including whiplash and traumatic brain injuries—do not appear until days or weeks after an accident. Seeking early medical treatment increases a victim’s chance of a swift recovery.
Contact a lawyer. If your accident resulted from another person’s negligence, dangerous trail conditions, or a manufacturing defect, you might be entitled to receive compensation. We recommend contacting a local attorney to help you with your claim.
The legal team at Nicolet Law Firm provides powerful representation to accident victims suffering from injuries across Wisconsin. With eight convenient office locations throughout the state, we are proud to offer the personalized service that you expect from local attorneys. We will work tirelessly to pursue maximum compensation for our clients.
Safety Tips for Wisconsin Snowmobilers
Although it is not possible to avoid all accidents, snowmobilers can reduce their risk of being in or causing one by taking some precautions.
Zero alcohol. Alcohol slows reaction time, impairs judgment, and negatively affects coordination—all of which are necessary for operating a motor vehicle. Do not consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride.
Slow down. Excessive speeds contribute to a majority of snowmobiling accidents. Drive at a moderate speed that allows for adequate reaction time to unexpected situations.
Never ride alone. While snowmobiles are typically built for only one passenger, it is best to ride alongside a buddy driving their own snowmobile. The most dangerous snowmobile accidents are those in which someone is alone and too injured to drive somewhere for help.
Be wary of ice conditions, especially near moving water. Avoid traveling across bodies of water unless you have checked the ice conditions in the area and know that it is thick enough to support you and your vehicle.
Dress appropriately. Wear layers for warmth and protective gear, including a helmet and either goggles or a face shield, for safety.
Check the weather. Riding in adverse weather conditions increases your chances of being in an accident. Check the forecast and relevant trail conditions before you leave.
Overprepare. Accidents can happen when you least expect them. Make sure you bring a cell phone, first aid kit, and snacks on every ride.
Contact Nicolet Law for Your Free Consultation
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, the legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is prepared to represent snowmobile accident victims facing lifelong injuries throughout Wisconsin. We invite you to discuss the details of your accident in a free initial consultation with one of our trusted lawyers.
Moreover, we are proud to handle all snowmobile accident claims on a contingency basis, which means there is no money required up front—you only pay us if we win your case. To find out what Nicolet Law can do for you, call us toll-free at 1-855-NICOLETor fill out our secure online form today.
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