According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 110 people die and over 13,000 people are seriously injured due to snowmobile accidents in the U.S. each year. About 40 percent of deaths are due to collisions with trees, bridges, wires and other snowmobiles. Other causes of snowmobile accident fatalities occur when the snowmobile enters water, usually while being operated on ice, or when the snowmobile rolls to its side in a ditch or stream, pinning the driver underneath.
As snowmobiles become more popular, the number of snowmobile-related injuries is likely to continue increasing. Defects in the manufacture of snowmobiles and their negligent operation often results in serious injuries and deaths. Most deaths are due to head and neck injuries or drowning.
One way to prevent snowmobile injuries and deaths is for the operator to receive specialized training. If you own a snowmobile, you should regularly check with the distributor and manufacturer for any recall notifications.
The following common-sense tips should also be heeded when operating a snowmobile:
- Drive on marked trails in specific use areas.
- Never drive alone, especially if you are not familiar with the area.
- Keep a careful watch for trees, fences, rocks, ditches, streams and other obstacles.
- Slow down at the top of hills.
- Become familiar with snowmobile traffic regulations in the area.
- Avoid driving on thin ice.
- Avoid bad weather and low-visibility conditions.
- Don't jump! You only have control of your snowmobile while the skis are in contact the ground.
- Drive at safe speeds within the legal speed limit.
- Keep your snowmobile properly maintained.
- Never drink while you operate a snowmobile!
A claim for injuries sustained in a snowmobile accident can involve complex litigation because different areas of the law may apply, ranging from product liability to wrongful death. For that reason, if you or a loved one has been injured in a snowmobile accident, please call or email us to consult with an attorney with extensive experience in handling snowmobile accident cases.