In River Falls, Wisconsin, there’s always a lot of fun to be had outdoors. The beautiful surrounding countryside always makes for an incredible time for those who enjoy taking an ATV ride on the weekends, and the brisk, beautiful winter months provide tons of opportunities for avid snowmobile riders to take to the country with their vehicles and play in the heavy snow.
Unfortunately, wherever people are having fun, there’s also always the danger for an accident to occur. If you’ve ever been out on an ATV or snowmobile and found yourself in an unexpected and dangerous situation, you know what could happen if you’re not careful. That’s why our ATV and snowmobile attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers are available at any time to help you.
Below, we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding River Falls ATV and snowmobile accidents. If you need further help, don’t hesitate to contact our office for support and a free consultation.
- River Falls ATV/Snowmobile Accident FAQs
- Q: What Usually Causes ATV and Snowmobile Accidents in River Falls?
- Q: What Do I Do After an ATV or Snowmobile Accident Near River Falls?
- Q: What Are the ATV and Snowmobile Operating Laws in Wisconsin?
- Q: How Could I Recover Compensation After My ATV or Snowmobile Accident?
- Q: What Damages Can I Claim in an ATV or Snowmobile Accident?
- Call Nicolet Law Accident and Injury Layers Today
River Falls ATV/Snowmobile Accident FAQs
Q: What Usually Causes ATV and Snowmobile Accidents in River Falls?
A: Over the last five years of data gathered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 500,000 people were injured in off-road vehicle accidents. In Wisconsin alone, over 400 deaths occurred in the past several years due to off-road vehicle crashes.
The most common causes of these deadly and injurious accidents included:
- Rollovers. About two-thirds of all accidents involving ATVs and snowmobiles include a rollover. Because these off-road vehicles are small and open and because they usually travel over uneven terrain, they are especially vulnerable to rollovers.
- Collisions. Around 37 percent of fatal crashes involved collisions with stationary objects like trees, guardrails, or mailboxes. However, about 30 percent involved other vehicles, with others involving pedestrians or animals.
- Equipment malfunction. Some accidents may result from equipment failure on your snowmobile or ATV. These accidents are the fault of the manufacturer and/or distributor of your vehicle.
These are the main causes of ATV and snowmobile accidents in River Falls. Because there are fewer and different regulations surrounding using this type of vehicle compared to an automobile, stay up to date with safety requirements and only use your ATV or snowmobile according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Of course, another rider may cause your accident. This is fairly common in Wisconsin, where so many people enjoy using off-road vehicles for recreation. If this is the case, you’ll likely need legal help from an ATV/snowmobile lawyer to decide what to do next.
Q: What Do I Do After an ATV or Snowmobile Accident Near River Falls?
A: Because accidents are so stressful on the human mind and body, it can be challenging to know and remember what to do after an ATV or snowmobile accident. Thankfully, there isn’t a lot to remember.
After an accident on an ATV or snowmobile:
- Seek medical attention. As soon as possible, get to a doctor or hospital. You may need to call an ambulance if you have serious injuries. Sometimes, you may be out riding where you don’t have cell service. In this case, you should always have a partner so you can work together to get to a place where you have cell service and/or can drive quickly back to civilization.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. You never know when the right picture could make a difference in your case. If the insurance company blames you for an accident you didn't cause, you’ll need proof that you didn’t. Photos of injuries, damage to vehicles, and the surrounding terrain can be essential in proving how the accident occurred and who exactly caused it.
- Talk to eyewitnesses. Just as photos are important evidence, so are the testimonies of accident witnesses. If anyone saw your accident, be sure to get their contact information. You can even take a written statement from them right there if you’re feeling up to it.
- Report the accident. In Wisconsin, you must report any accident that results in injury or death to a law enforcement officer or a conservation warden at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as soon as possible. You can find the accident report at dnr.wi.gov.
- Call a lawyer. You will probably need legal guidance to decide what to do next. Sometimes, you can get help to pay for your injuries and other losses if your insurance doesn’t cover your crash or if the rider who caused the accident doesn’t carry ATV insurance.
If you can remember these five simple steps, you’ll be able to maximize a successful recovery from your ATV or snowmobile accident.
Don’t forget to find medical help. Some injuries don’t show up right away, especially if your body is in shock, and can be devastating when they manifest at a later date. Always seek medical help right away.
Q: What Are the ATV and Snowmobile Operating Laws in Wisconsin?
A: Wisconsin doesn't regulate ATVs and snowmobiles as heavily as other vehicles. For example, children under 12 are allowed to ride these vehicles on private property, and children under 16 are not required to have a safety certification to operate off-road vehicles. However, there are still plenty of rules that Wisconsin has set in place to help keep ATV and snowmobile riders safe.
Some of these laws include:
- Children under 18 must wear a helmet when riding an ATV.
- It is illegal to ride an ATV or other vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- In most cases, riders cannot take off-road on public roads.
- An adult must accompany children 12 to 15 years old who operate an off-road vehicle on a street. (The law prohibits younger children on public roads).
- You must maintain a speed of 10 miles per hour or less when near people, a house, etc.
- Snowmobiles and ATVs need their headlamps and tail lamps lit at all times.
Many other regulations cover the operation and use of ATVs and snowmobiles in Wisconsin. Before you take one of these vehicles on public land, be sure that you understand and follow all the rules and safety requirements so you don’t run into any serious trouble.
Q: How Could I Recover Compensation After My ATV or Snowmobile Accident?
A: Wisconsin does not require insurance for ATVs or snowmobiles. However, you can purchase insurance if you fear that you may be in an accident and unable to pay for repairs or medical bills. You can get insurance that covers you and others if you cause an accident.
Unfortunately, because the law does not require this insurance, many ATV and snowmobile riders will not carry it. If you are in an accident that someone else caused, but they don’t have insurance to pay for your damages, how can you recover compensation? This is where a Wisconsin ATV/snowmobile accident lawyer can help you.
The laws surrounding compensation in snowmobile and ATV accidents can be complicated. If you were in an accident with a car or truck on a roadway, the case will be fairly simple, as all drivers must carry some form of insurance. But if you were in an accident with another snowmobile rider, you’ll have to be more careful about gathering evidence to make an effective claim.
The most important thing you can do to recover compensation after your accident is to gather evidence.
Here is the main evidence you should always keep track of after your accident.
- Medical bills and records. Ask your doctor for paper bills and records of all medical treatment you receive after your accident.
- Photos from the accident scene. Take photos at the accident scene of any injuries, vehicle damage, and other important information. This evidence may be crucial in proving how much you suffered and how the other party was responsible.
- The official report of the accident. If anyone was injured, you have to report the accident to the police or the Department of Natural Resources. You need to access this report and any other reports they filed.
- Eyewitness testimony. Always get contact information and, if possible, written statements from witnesses who were at your accident and can testify to what happened.
- A journal. In some cases, it can be helpful for you to keep a journal of some of the suffering you have faced. For example, you might want to write information on how much pain you feel, what activities you can no longer do, or how your relationships suffered because of your injuries.
Your lawyers may help you gather other types of evidence as well, depending on the circumstances of your case. Get the evidence you need so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
Q: What Damages Can I Claim in an ATV or Snowmobile Accident?
A: If you were in a snowmobile or ATV accident, you may bring three claims in court, depending on the circumstances.
- Personal injury - for example, another driver crashed into you
- Premises liability - for example, if the landowner left an unreasonable hazard in your path
- Product liability - for example, if the vehicle manufacturer made a mistake in designing or building your ATV or snowmobile
Regardless of which type of accident you bring to court, there are a few main categories of economic and non-economic damages you can claim in your quest for compensation.
- Medical expenses for present and future medical treatment.
- Property damage expenses for repairs to your vehicle.
- Loss of income or earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to work temporarily or permanently.
- Pain and suffering.
- Any emotional trauma or distress you suffered.
- Loss of consortium (relationships) or life enjoyment due to your injuries.
You may pursue other damages as well. Contact a personal injury lawyer who handles these cases so you can determine what exactly you can recover in your situation.
Call Nicolet Law Accident and Injury Layers Today
If you were in an ATV or snowmobile accident around River Falls, seek immediate help from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers. Our lawyers have worked with victims of ATV and snowmobile accidents for over a decade in the River Falls area. We make it our main goal to help you recover and return to normal life as soon as possible.
We know that ATV and snowmobile accidents can be complicated. Finding the right support is challenging. But we want to be there to help you recover the compensation you deserve and do justice in your case.
With our help, you can receive compensation and get back on your feet with as little stress as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (715) 200-3626 for a free consultation today so we can start on your claim.
River Falls Office
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022