Award-Winning Wisconsin Snowmobile Accident Attorneys
Snowmobiling is a great way to take advantage of our weather in Wisconsin. Not only does it provide a fun way to get out and enjoy nature, but it can also be a great family activity. Wisconsin residents and visitors can sometimes find themselves in the dangerous predicament of being involved in an accident with another snowmobile. When this happens, you need answers to questions, and you need to know how you will handle the resulting medical bills and time lost from work.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we work with families facing financial challenges following a snowmobile accident that has left someone unable to work until they fully recover. When you contact our offices, we can discuss your legal rights and help you understand what options are available to you to ensure you are not suffering the financial repercussions of a snowmobile accident that was not your fault.
Snowmobile Accidents Require Experienced Lawyers
If you are one of the many victims of snowmobile accidents in Wisconsin, you need an attorney who has experience working with insurance companies. An attorney who has the knowledge and experience to understand how these companies work can mean better results. While there is never a way to guarantee an outcome, at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we believe that every person whom someone else’s negligent behavior injured deserves representation.
We have more than a decade of experience helping people just like you. We know that you are suffering financially, as well as physically, after a snowmobile accident. Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers are aware insurance companies are not there to represent you, the victim. They are interested in protecting themselves first.
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.
Snowmobile Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Just imagine a snowmobile traveling down a snowmobile trail at 90 miles per hour, as most units will in ideal conditions. While many people travel at lower speeds, the only specific snowmobile speed requirements under Wisconsin laws pertain to passing (10 miles per hour) and overnight hours (55 miles per hour).
Any snowmobile operator driving carelessly, whether because they are under the influence, or simply not following good safety tips, can strike your snowmobile and injure you or a passenger.
Some of the common injuries suffered in snowmobile accidents include:
- Broken Bones - the best trails for riding a snowmobile are well-groomed, but if an accident throws you from the machine, you may suffer a broken bone.
- Crushing Injuries - some crashes can trap riders or operators under a snowmobile, causing internal injuries, broken ribs, back injuries, and more.
- Head and Neck Injuries - being thrown from any vehicle at any speed can jar your head when you stop. Victims of snowmobile accidents could suffer serious head and neck trauma.
Your speed and that of the other snowmobile, as well as the condition of the area, will play roles in the seriousness of your 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.
Snowmobile Accidents And Liability For Injuries
Wisconsin does not require insurance for snowmobile operators. However, this does not mean that operators are free from liability if they cause an accident that injures you or damages your snowmobile.
You must establish liability for your personal injury and damages. Wisconsin requires an accident report within ten days of a snowmobile accident in which a victim needs medical attention. Interestingly enough, Wisconsin law makes it difficult for a victim to use these reports as evidence in a civil trial for snowmobile accidents. However, the report may contain information that can help your snowmobile accident case.
Some of the parties who may be responsible for an injury you suffer in a snowmobile accident include:
- The Operator of The Other Vehicle - operating too fast for conditions, failure to remain on their own side of the trail, or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs can contribute to snowmobile accidents.
- Motor Vehicle Operator - if you were operating your snowmobile legally in an area that allows you to travel near roadways, drivers of cars, trucks, or motorcycles could be responsible for your injury and damage.
- Manufacturer of The Unit - there are instances where a snowmobile could have a manufacturing defect resulting in an accident that causes an injury. Product defects can be dangerous, especially when you are operating a snowmobile.
- Rental Company - when you rent a snowmobile from a company, they must provide proper training so you can operate it safely. Failure on their part to do this can make them fully or partially liable for any injury you suffered.
Seek assistance from a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer following a snowmobile accident. Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers are happy to review your case and determine your legal rights and options.
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.
Potential Compensation Following A Wisconsin Snowmobile Accident
While identifying the liable party is your first hurdle, the next is determining what compensation you may include in a claim.
Some of the areas where you can seek reimbursement include:
- Damage to Your Snowmobile - the damage your unit received during any accident can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Once we identify the responsible party, we can hold them accountable for the costs of repairing or replacing your snowmobile.
- Treatment For Injuries - Because some accidents happen deep in trails, it could take time for someone to reach your location. Unfortunately, you may receive a bill for the services necessary to get to your location. Additionally, you will get bills for transportation to a hospital, the treatment you receive at the hospital, and follow-up treatment. Even if you have insurance, you may need to make copayments or pay deductibles. The parties responsible for your injury should be accountable for these out-of-pocket costs.
- Lost Wages - recovering from snowmobile accident injuries can take weeks or months. If you are going to lose time from work, your family could suffer financially while you recover. Even when you are collecting disability payments, there is a high chance it will be lower than your regular wages, plus you will be losing certain benefits. Talk to your snowmobile lawyer about a claim for lost wages.
Keep in mind that every situation is unique. Your Wisconsin snowmobile accident lawyer can help you determine how much you should claim in damages for the loss of use of your snowmobile, your medical expenses, and your lost wages.
Holding Responsible Parties Financially Accountable
Your lawyer will determine which insurance company to approach with a settlement demand. If the responsible person did not carry liability insurance, you may need to file your claim against your policy.
Insurance company adjusters will not be there to help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. The challenge they face is the insurance company answers to their shareholders that means they are interested in protecting the income they earn through premium collections. Simply put, the lower the payouts in claims, the healthier their bottom line is.
There are some specific ways insurers will minimize your claim, including:
- Claiming They're not Responsible - even when you have the documentation showing fault, the insurance company will claim they are not liable for paying your claim. This is one reason why every accident victim should seek the aid of a seasoned personal injury attorney before they file a claim. Delay or deny is a common tactic with all insurance companies.
- Unreasonable Document Requests - the insurance company may ask you for many documents that do not apply to the situation. They know if they continue to request more paperwork, most people will simply give up on their claims. Remember, a skilled attorney will pursue your claim no matter how unreasonable the insurance company is.
- Quick Offer but Low Settlement - one of the issues most victims of an accident that was not their fault face is the insurance company offering a fast payout. However, in most cases, that settlement is much less than your claim. This is a common tactic that every insurer uses. The reason is simple. They know if they can get a victim to settle quickly, and for less than they want to payout, it is a big win for them. Remember, once a victim accepts a settlement offer, the insurance company does not have any further liability to the injured person. That means no matter how much time you lose from work, how high your expenses are, or what your losses may be, you cannot go back and seek additional funds.
Accident cases of all kinds are complicated. However, insurers’ tactics seldom change from one case to another. They are nearly always the same delay processing claims to the extent the law allows, denying liability, and offering low settlements.
These are the most common efforts that insurers make. An accident injury attorney with experience and who understands this will work aggressively to get you a settlement despite the best efforts of the insurance company.
Calculating The Value of A Wisconsin Snowmobile Accident Attorney
One of the challenges snowmobile victims face is paying for legal services. You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to obtain legal services for snowmobile accidents.
First, you can count on Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers to provide you with a free consultation where we will discuss the specifics of your case and determine whether you have sufficient grounds for filing a personal injury claim.
If we determine a personal injury claim is in order, we will then discuss the terms of a relationship between you and Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers. We will take these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay any legal fees unless we get a settlement on your behalf. Once we secure a settlement, our fees will come out of the final amount awarded.
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.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources offers the following recommendations:
- 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 an Experienced Wisconsin Snowmobile Accident Injury Lawyer
If a snowmobile accident injured you or your family recently lost a loved one in a snowmobile accident, you may not know your legal options.
Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today at (715) 226-6149 and let us help you decide the best way for you and your family to seek compensation for your losses. Let us review your case and make sure you understand every available option.
Moreover, we are proud to handle all snowmobile accident claims on a contingency basis, which means there is no money required upfront you only pay us if we win your case. To find out what Nicolet Law can do for you, call us at (715) 226-6149 today.
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“This was my first experience with a law office. I found Nicolet Law through a search on Google and they helped me get a personal injury settlement. Even though I only had a few months to pursue a personal injury claim due to statute of limitations, Adam Nicolet took care of my case and got me a fair settlement. He did a great job answering all of my questions and making it easy for me to understand. I was very impressed that they promptly returned phone calls and replied to my emails. Nicolet Law really did an amazing job and I highly recommend them!”
Review by: Amanda Riehbrandt
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