If you’ve experienced winter in Alberta, you know we expect to see snow on the ground for up to 8 months of the year. Albertans make the most of the fluffy white stuff by enjoying all the great winter recreational activities our province has to offer. Snowmobiling is especially popular for those looking for a fun ride in the backcountry or transportation into areas that would otherwise be difficult to get to. A high-powered snowmobile can reach speeds up to approximately 240 kilometers per hour – that’s more than twice the speed limit on a standard Canadian highway. While outdoor conditions like snow, hills, and various obstacles can factor into how fast a snowmobile is able to go, these machines ultimately have a lot of horsepower, weight, and speed behind them.
Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed as a result of accidents involving snowmobiles. While some snowmobile accidents are unfortunate mishaps, others are the direct result of another person’s negligence. If you were injured in a snowmobiling accident that was not your fault, you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation. At Litco Law, we’ve been handling Personal Injury claims in Calgary since 1976. We understand the complex laws surrounding snowmobile accidents, and we understand the stress you may be feeling. It won’t cost you anything to speak with one of our Calgary Snowmobile Accident lawyers and, if you do choose us, you’ll get a team dedicated to your case that will take the legal weight off your shoulders so you can focus on what matters most – your health and your recovery.
Snow, Speed, & Your Safety
According to Alberta Transportation, the major contributing factors in serious snowmobile incidents include excessive speed, not checking the thickness of ice on lakes and rivers, inexperience, inattention, or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Snowmobiles are designed to be used on slippery surfaces, icy and snowy conditions, and other types of terrain that add another element of danger and pose risks to riders. Factors that often contribute to snowmobiling accidents include:
- Excessive speed;
- Falling through ice;
- Manufacture defaults;
- Minors riding unsupervised;
- Lack of care regarding minors;
- Towing tubes, sleds, or saucers;
- Lack of proper protective equipment;
- Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Natural obstacles, such as trees, large rocks or boulders, cliffs, snow piles, and wire fences.
Injuries resulting from a snowmobiling accident can require surgery, therapy, prescriptions, lifelong supports, time off work, and other cost factors that aren’t covered by Alberta Health Care (AHC) or personal benefits. Compensation varies case-by-case and good representation can make all the difference. These types of accidents are uniquely complicated. In order to ride on public land, Alberta’s laws require snowmobile operators to have a valid class 5 driver’s license and snowmobile registration and insurance Riders must be at least 14 years old to operate a snowmobile independently. But there are no legal restrictions for snowmobiles on private property – meaning you can pretty much do what you want. If you were injured while riding a snowmobile that was licensed and insured for the road, you may be covered through Section B benefits. If the snowmobile was not insured, this is where things can get tricky. Snowmobiles may also be insured through farm policies or other forms of habitational or recreational policies. Or you may also have coverage through your homeowner’s policy. Our Calgary Snowmobile Accident Lawyers can help locate insurance coverage you may be eligible for.
So you’ve been in a snowmobiling accident – now what?
If you were injured in a snowmobiling accident, seek appropriate medical attention immediately. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you should get assessed by your family doctor as soon as possible. Your family doctor knows you well and is in the best position to measure the impact of your injuries on your life. Don’t have one? Find a doctor near you here. It can take hours, days, weeks, or even longer to realize the full extent of your injuries. The longer you wait to get assessed, the more difficult it is to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the accident. Your medical charts provide documented proof of your injuries, should you decide to pursue a claim down the road. Common injuries that result from snowmobiling accidents include:
- Sprains and strains;
- Bone fractures;
- Concussions and head injuries;
- Oral and dental damage;
- Various internal injuries;
- Asphyxiation, and
- Loss of life.
Any evidence you may have gathered at the scene such as GoPro footage, pictures of the accident or injuries, the location, names of witnesses, etc., can be crucial to supporting your claim. It’s especially important to hold onto any gear, damaged clothing, and the snowmobile involved in the accident, as these are all valuable pieces of evidence. Worried you won’t be able to make a case if you have limited evidence from the accident? The good news is, most Personal Injury lawyers are experts at gathering information after the fact. Worried that you won’t be able to afford a Personal Injury lawyer? At Litco Law, it won’t cost you anything to speak with one of our Calgary Snowmobiling Accident Lawyers. We’ll be able to evaluate the accident and determine if you are eligible to make a claim. And if you decide to proceed with a claim, you don’t have to pay us a cent until you receive your settlement.
Who’s liable? Can I make a claim for compensation?
Accidents involving snowmobiles usually take place on private property or in backcountry areas, meaning fewer witnesses and no traffic cameras. These types of cases are notoriously complex and having a knowledgeable Personal Injury lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
In Alberta, snowmobile drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be charged with the same impaired driving offences as the driver of a car or truck on a highway. This type of case is usually fairly cut and dry. But snowmobile accidents that result from general inattention or recklessness are more complex. Let’s say that a child under the age of 14 was allowed to operate a snowmobile that had no coverage. In this situation there may be grounds for a lawsuit against the owners of the snowmobile for negligent supervision by way of allowing a minor to operate the vehicle and failing to provide supervision. In many cases, the owner of the snowmobile is liable regardless of who was driving, especially if poor maintenance resulted in a mechanical issue that contributed to the accident. A manufacturing company may also be held liable for your injuries if the snowmobile was made with defective parts that caused the accident to occur.
We will pursue the at-fault party and do everything we can to recover compensation for you. With these types of claims we must investigate the facts of the case to see if we can help, and we will do it at no cost to you. So don’t worry about whether or not you have a claim, contact us find out for free. If you do, our Calgary Snowmobile Accident Lawyers will pursue the maximum compensation for your claim.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of a snowmobile accident to make a claim in court or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines, or other circumstances that may affect the deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary Snowmobile Accident lawyers today.
Our Calgary Snowmobile Accident Lawyers are here to help.
Because snowmobile accident claims are so complex, it’s important to get personalized legal advice from an experienced Personal Injury lawyer. We’ve represented injured riders, as well as the families of those who have suffered fatal injuries, in Calgary and throughout Alberta for over 45 years. Let our firm work to get you the maximum compensation for your claim and the benefits and treatment you’re entitled to. We deal with the insurance companies and the law, while you focus on getting your life back to normal. If you are looking for a Calgary Snowmobile Accident Lawyer contact Litco Law today for a free consultation. It won’t cost you anything to get an experienced Snowmobile Accident Lawyer on your side, because we don’t get paid until you get paid.