Winter is quickly arriving across the state and soon you might make your way to the slopes and fields around Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Whether you enjoy skiing and snowboarding or prefer the speed and agility of snowmobiles, you and other winter sports fans need to be careful. Along with these classic winter activities comes accidents, injuries, and fatalities. If you are not cautious, you could have an accident that results in a snowmobile injury while enjoying the cool winter air.
Snowmobiles are one of the most dangerous winter sports vehicles. They can cause serious injuries to riders and bystanders. If you are a victim of a snowmobile crash, you should contact a Chicago snowmobile accident lawyer of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, there were nine reported snowmobile accidents in the state during the 2015-16 winter season. Three of these accidents were described as major and included some broken bones and head lacerations. The previous season saw 21 accidents with one described as major and 10 noted as serious. The serious crashes included more significant injuries, including additional broken bones, internal injuries and bleeding, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The 2013-14 winter saw multiple fatalities due to Illinois snowmobiling accidents. Out of 26 crashes, four led to the death of a snowmobile driver or passengers.
In reality, many snowmobile accidents are never officially reported and recorded. Instead, people often have accidents and don’t realize they can recover compensation for those injuries. People don’t realize that their injuries are as extensive as they become, sometimes having long-lasting health effects.
Many snowmobiles can reach speeds higher than 150 mph. Specialty snowmobiles or those that have been tampered with may be able to reach upwards of 200 mph. With these potential speeds, it is not difficult to see how accidents and injuries can occur. It can be difficult to navigate or avoid potential dangers when moving that quickly. Drivers may also take turns at high speeds, leading them to flip the snowmobile over and crash into others.
Snowmobilers have a risk of accident when they speed, do not know the terrain well, have been drinking, or are racing other snowmobilers. With these factors and others in play, one- or multi-vehicle crashes can lead to a variety of injuries, including:
If you were injured by a snowmobiler, you and your attorney will want to know whether that driver was following the Illinois Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act. If the snowmobiler was not adhering to the law at the time, this can be evidence of negligent or reckless driving, which can help you recover damages.
Under the act, all snowmobiles in Illinois need to be registered with the state and must be equipped with:
If the driver that caused your accident was between 12 and 16 years old and did not have an adult on the vehicle as well, he or she would have needed to take an Illinois-approved snowmobile safety course. Without a certificate that the snowmobiler completed an appropriate course, he or she was unlawfully driving the snowmobile.
If you were injured in a snowmobile accident caused by another driver, you may have the right to recover damages through a personal injury suit. Your attorney will seek to prove that the other driver was negligent in his or her behavior on the snowmobile, which caused the accident and led to your injuries.
The Illinois Snow Mobile Registration and Safety Act can help you support your case. Under Illinois law, it is unlawful to operate a snowmobile:
If your attorney can demonstrate any of these factors existed at the time of the accident, you may be more likely to win compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a consultation and learn more.