Sadly at this time of year , we start to receive many calls regarding snowmobile accidents. Many people are wondering about what types of compensation are available to snowmobile riders , what type of insurance is required and what accident benefits come in to play if injured in a snowmobile accident.
Safety Week January 21 – 29, 2017
This winter’s weather is bringing out snowmobilers and the OPP is urging them to focus on safety.
A snowmobile is only as safe as the driver and the key to safe operation is knowing the rules and exercising good judgement. Last winter, the OPP investigated 15 snowmobile-related fatalities. They revealed that 58 per cent of snowmobile-related fatalities involved alcohol or drugs, 57 per cent involved speeding or riding too fast for conditions and 58 per cent occurred at dusk or after dark. 87 per cent of last season’s snowmobile-related fatalities involved male riders and 58 per cent were riders or passengers between the ages of 35 and 54.
Snowmobile Accidents and Safety Week
Snowmobile safety week presents an opportunity to review some important safety guidelines.
Don’t drink and ride
Drinking always impairs judgment. Whether this means not checking ice conditions or driving too fast, lack of judgment and frozen water can be deadly.
Especially at night, it’s hard to know what’s out there on the lake. Whether sketchy ice, another rider or an obstruction, you won’t see it in time if you are moving too fast.
Check the condition of the ice
Experts say there’s no way to know for sure if the ice is safe. That means extreme caution is required.
Snowmobiles need five inches of clear solid ice. Check with a trusted local source (like a bait shop) and check the ice yourself when you get there.
Don’t ride alone
Riding with a buddy can be a lifesaver in any number of situations. Even if you are travelling with a friend, tell someone else your plan and check in when you arrive safely.
Snow is falling fast and furious this morning and we can’t help think of all the snowmobile riders who are probably already out enjoying this white weather. In Canada, it is estimated that there are more than 660,000 registered snowmobiles that travel over 1.65 billion km of snowmobile trails. With this many riders and the nature of this activity, undoubtebly accidents will happen. The majority of snowmobile accidents are on private property and typically riders are under 20 years old. The most common snowmobile accident injuries are orthopaedic injuries ( which are broken bones) and head or brain injuries . Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) reported that head injuries are the leading cause of mortality and serious morbidity. The theory behind this is that most children do not have the strength and skill to control a snowmobile safely. It’s important to note that in Ontario , snowmobile drivers must be at least 12 years old and possess a valid Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence (MSVOL) to drive a snowmobile on a trail. Snowmobile drivers must also be at least 16 years old and possess a valid driver’s licence or MSVOL to ride on or cross a highway. Allontario. ca reports on Ontario motorcycle accidents and reported that most injuries (34%) occur in the month of February and that alcohol was reported to be a factor in 49% of accidents that resulted in severe trauma.
Is there snowmobile insurance and compensation ?
In Ontario, snowmobile accidents are usually covered through insurance. Most people who are injured in a snowmobile accident, as well as their family members are able to seek compensation for their losses from their own insurance company through Ontario’s no-fault accident benefits system, as well there may be compensation available to injured parties through a Tort claim. A tort claim results when an injured party sues the insurance company of the person who charged at fault for the accident. Not everyone in a snowmobile accident is entitled to claim compensation from the responsible person who caused the snowmobile accident. Each claim is different and needs to be looked at on an individual basis.
Depending on the nature of the accident, insurance companies may pay out Accident Benefits compensation for benefits such as lost income, housekeeping , attendant care, medical services and rehabilitation. Anyone can apply for accident benefits through their own insurance company. Typically , there are time limits for applying for accident benefits so it’s important that people who have been involved in a snowmobile accident know their rights and contact a snowmobile accident lawyer who can offer a free consultation and walk them through the process, their rights and give an opinion on whether or not they have a case.
If you are involved in a snowmobile accident and believe that the road or property conditions were a cause of the accident, you may also have a claim against the property owner if the accident was caused by a dangerous situation on the property, or if the owner of the knew or ought to have known about the hazardous situation and did nothing to repair or warn people of the hazard and that you are not trespassing on this property and were invited.
If you have been injured in a snowmobile accident in Ontario, our experienced snowmobile accident lawyers can help you.
It s the time of year when many snowmobiling accidents occur. Every year I help dozens of Ontario snowmobile accident victims who have been injured in snowmobile accidents and are not getting the insurance compensation they desperately need. There are many dangers associated with outdoor winter activities and snowmobiling is no exception. Many snowmobile accidents are unavoidable and simply happen. There are however some things you can do to help minimize your chances of injuring yourself while snowmobiling.
Avoiding a snowmobile accident? It’s important to:
– follow all driving laws; especially the speed limit.
-know where you are going.
-tell others where you are going
-stay off ice that may be dangerous
-obey the speed limits
-do not drink and ride
-ride in a group or use buddy system
-know your vehicle
-ride with a toolkit and first aid safety box
-ride with proper clothing, helmet and equipment
-be aware and obey all trail signs
-if you fall through ice, do not panic. Crawl out of the ice and roll to safety. Do not stand up until you are clearly on thick ice.
Most of all you common sense and be on high alert. Snowmobiling is a great, fun outdoor past time. Enjoy it safely and responsibly because a snowmobile accident can happen in an instant.