Millions of people enjoy snowmobiling each winter for sport and fun. But these open terrain vehicles are heavy, fast, and dangerous. According to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), there were 80 snowmobile accidents during the 2015-2016 season. Accident victims typically suffer very serious injuries, incur significant injury-related expenses, and sustain loss of income due to their injuries.
If you or your loved one suffered injury in a snowmobile accident, a snowmobile accident & injury lawyer in Pittsburgh may be able to help you recover damages, depending on the specifics of your accident. Call Berger and Green to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options: 412-661-1400.
What causes snowmobile accidents?
There are various contributing factors to snowmobile accidents, and in many cases, there is more than one contributing cause. Some of the most common causes of snowmobile accidents include:
- Reckless operation of snowmobile
- Inexperienced or underage operators
- Excess speed
- Reduced visibility in poor weather
- Poor judgment
- Dangerous terrain or hazards
- Defective snowmobile
Who can victims hold liable for a snowmobile accident?
Like all vehicular accidents in Pittsburgh, any party that causes or contributes to a snowmobile accident may be liable for victims’ damages.
For example, if you were struck by another snowmobile or by a car, the operator/driver may be liable for your losses if his/her negligence caused the accident, e.g., if s/he was speeding or driving under the influence.
Similarly, the landowner of the trail where your accident occurred may be liable if there were unexpected hazards that caused your wreck.
If the snowmobile was defective and malfunctioned, then the manufacturer may be liable.
Lastly, the snowmobile driver may be liable for his/her own injuries and for passengers’ injuries if s/he caused the accident.
Because there are various factors at play, determining liability can be tricky. Our team works with accident reconstruction experts to determine how an accident occurred and who is liable.
What rights do snowmobile accident victims have?
If another party caused your accident, you have the right to file a claim and seek compensation for your associated losses and expenses. Family members of fatal snowmobile accident victims can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
Because snowmobile accidents can cause severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and multiple fractures, the damages for these types of claims are usually significant. You may be entitled to recover monetary and non-monetary damages such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Long-term care and disability
- Loss of wages and lost capacity to work
- Loss of work benefits, perks, and promotion
- Emotional damages, e.g., pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of support, loss of income, and loss of consortium for family members in wrongful death cases
How much can I recover for my snowmobile accident?
Numerous factors affect the total value of a snowmobile accident claim, such as the severity of your injuries, how much future care you will need, the insurance policy limits, whether you were partly at fault, and how detailed you and your lawyer are when compiling your list of damages.
Berger and Green attorneys have a long history of winning large settlements and verdicts for our clients. In fact, four of our attorneys are members of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of trial attorneys who have obtained million and multi-million dollar awards for their clients.
Besides our due diligence and tenacity, one of the major reasons why we are renowned for substantial winnings is because we are thorough when evaluating our clients’ claims. We take the big picture into consideration.
How much income will you lose over the course of your lifetime because of your injuries? What kind of future medical care will you need? To what degree has your injury altered your life?
We will paint a clear picture of your losses to the insurer or court so that your award is appropriate.
How do I recover damages after a snowmobile accident?
The first step to recovering your losses is to talk with a snowmobile accident lawyer to determine if you can hold another party liable and with which insurance company you must file your claim. All snowmobile and ATV operators in Pennsylvania must carry liability insurance; if another snowmobiler hurt you or if you were the passenger on a snowmobile that crashed, you can file a claim with that party’s insurer.
Along the same lines, if a property owner is at fault, then you would file a claim with his/her homeowner’s or business liability insurance company.
As we are preparing the claim for the appropriate insurer, begin collecting any records and evidence that pertains to your accident. This may include photos of the damage to the snowmobile and other vehicles involved, photos of the accident scene, photos of your injuries, and the police or the report you filed with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Keep all your accident-related bills and receipts to prove your damages, as well.
TIP: If you have not done so already, make sure to report your snowmobile accident to the DCNR in writing as soon as possible. Failure to report any snowboard/ATV accident that caused injury, death, or property damage totaling $100 or more is a violation of the law. You can obtain a copy of an accident report form from the Bureau of Forestry, a state park, or at a police station.
Does Berger and Green accept snowmobile accident cases in PA?
Berger and Green injury attorneys can assist with any type of accident case in Pittsburgh, including serious snowmobile accidents. Our team is available to answer any questions you may have about a claim or how we can help. We have a contingency fee policy, so you do not have to pay any upfront fees. You only pay us if you win your settlement or verdict.
Call our office today at 412-661-1400 and request a free consultation. Learn how we can help you get the financial restitution and closure you and your family need after a serious snowmobile accident.