There are many great things about living in Alberta, but surely our natural environment is one of the best. The beauty of our mountains, forests, trails, rivers and lakes is unmatched. While some people might choose to take in these treasures by sitting in quiet contemplation, for the more adventurous and active among us there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the great outdoors. From motorhomes to campers to boats to jet skis to other watercraft to dirt bikes to snowmobiles to ATVs, there are recreational vehicles for every type of terrain or water and for every season.
Recreational vehicle enthusiasts must follow all applicable laws and the vast majority of them take other safety precautions beyond minimum requirements so they can reduce their risk of serious personal injury. Nevertheless, every year hundreds of Albertans experience tragic accidents which can have a dramatic impact on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Sometimes a person’s own actions or inaction results in an accident. However, often another person’s negligence directly causes or contributes to the injury. Determining fault in a recreational vehicle accident can be tricky – especially since these accidents tend to happen in environments without many people or cameras to witness them. Moreover, the insurance picture can become quite complex depending on what type of vehicles are involved and whether they are on public or private land.
Fortunately, an experienced Edmonton recreational vehicle accident lawyer can help you make sense of all the legal aspects of an accident. From determining whether you qualify for accident benefits to building a case to make a claim for losses and damages, working with a lawyer who specializes in this area of law can make all the difference as you seek the compensation your entitled to.
What Are Recreational Vehicles?
There are two main ways to think about recreational vehicles.
The Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association defines them as “a vehicle designed to provide temporary living, sleeping or eating accommodation for travel, vacation, seasonal camping or recreational use and designed to be driven, towed, transported or relocated from time to time…” These vehicles would include units described as motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, truck camper, tent trailer, park model trailers and similar mobile vehicles, but not mobile homes or tiny homes used as permanent dwellings. RVs sold in Canada must be built to the CSA Z240 RV Series Standard or the RVIA NFPA 1192 Standard. Park models must be built to the CSA Z241 Park Model Trailers Series Standard.
A more expansive definition would include any vehicle primarily used for recreational purposes – particularly off road. These would include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, watercraft, boats and snowmobiles.
As you can imagine, these wide ranging vehicles are covered by various laws depending on where and how they are used. Moreover, the type of insurance required for each type of recreational vehicle varies substantially. Of course, you have probably never had to spend much (or even any) time thinking about the finer points of the law or particular wording of these insurance policies. It is only when a tragic accident occurs that suddenly you discover you have many more questions than answers.
Types and Causes of Recreational Vehicle Accidents
Snowmobiling – The most common injury-causing accidents on snowmobiles occur when the vehicle hits a hazard. Drivers/riders are either ejected or hit a fixed structure. Collisions between two or more vehicles, being hit by a snowmobile or becoming immersed in water are also common. Many of these accidents are caused by excessive speed, careless driving, inexperienced drivers, driver impairment, or operating the vehicle on public roads, steep hills or unsafe ice. Reckless driving (including towing/pulling people or items), improper safety equipment, defective snowmobiles and natural disasters can also cause or contribute to injury.
Boating and Watercraft – Boats and watercraft (jet skis, tubing, parasailing) accidents typically occur if the vessel collides with hazards in the water (rocks, logs, swimmers, or other watercraft), sinks, or unsafe conditions lead to slips, trips or falls. These accidents are frequently caused by unsafe operation of the vessel (negligence, recklessness, excessive speed, stunts), improper training (inadequate experience, underage operators) or impairment from drugs or alcohol. Poor upkeep of the vessel, manufacturer defects, mechanical problems, inadequate safety markers in the water and sudden bad weather are also sometimes factors in these accidents.
ATVs and Dirt Bikes – All-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes are usually operated on trails, in backcountry, on private property or, in the case of dirt bikes, on motocross tracks. The stability of ATVs has been an on-going concern and vehicle rollovers are common accidents. Collisions with other ATVs or stationary hazards or submersion in water are Although the most serious dirt bike injuries occur in accidents on motocross tracks, the majority of dirt bikes accidents occur on natural terrain when riders fall from their vehicles or are thrown from their bikes when they hit a hazard. Drug and alcohol-use are frequently linked to injury-causing accidents on both ATVs and dirt bikes.
RVs, Fifth Wheels, Camper Vans – Although these vehicles are designed to bring you to camping sites and trailer parks, most accidents involving these vehicles occur on roads, highways and private drives. Collisions with other vehicles or objects, hitch uncouplings, and tipovers are frequent causes of accidents. Wind gusts and air vacuums between RVs and other large vehicles, driving while tired, substance use and impairment, speeding, weight problems, miscalculations with turns and braking, and trouble with blind spots are all things known to contribute to these accidents.
Recreational Vehicle Injuries
The wide range of RV accidents means there are many ways people sustain injuries. From minor cuts, scratches and bruises to long-term disability or death, these injuries can profoundly alter the course of a life.
Common recreational vehicle injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Soft Tissue Damage (Burns, Bruising, Lacerations)
- Internal Bleeding And Organ Damage
- Asphyxiation From Drowning or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured?
Above all else, your health and safety should be your priority. If the scene of the accident is unsafe and staying there could result in additional injuries, try to get to a less hazardous area. Remember, your injuries may not make moving an option; it can sometimes be more dangerous to move positions if you have suffered potential spinal cord damage, nerve damage, neck injuries, or puncture wounds. Emergency responders should be contacted so you can be assessed and tended to at the scene and brought to the hospital if necessary. Even if you do not have a visible injury, it is advisable to be examined by a first responder and/or a medical provider as soon as possible. Some serious injuries (concussions, head trauma, internal bleeding) will not be apparent immediately but still require prompt treatment.
If you or a friend are able, collect contact information for all people involved in the accident and/or any witnesses. Obtaining other information at the scene is also important; this includes insurance providers of people involved in the accident, the vehicle operator’s license if applicable, the serial number of the vehicles involved (Hull Identification Number for boats), and license plates. If police are called to the scene most/all of this information should be available in their reports.
Other evidence should be preserved if at all possible. Photos of any visible injuries, the accident scene, and any hazards which caused or contributed to the accident should be taken if possible. If a recreational vehicle has a dash cam or a rider was wearing a GoPro, this footage should be saved for review. If you are able, make notes about what you remember in the lead up to the accident and any other information that may be key to a future case (weather, visibility, etc). Sometimes a serious injury may prevent you from doing any evidence collection or you may not have known what to do. Don’t worry; experienced personal injury lawyers can often recover evidence after the fact.
While the insurance procedure for motor vehicle accidents is generally straightforward, it can become much more complex for recreational vehicle accidents. Determining which policies apply, what you should do if you have overlapping coverage, and how to go about filing claims can be confusing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to know that you are not alone. A dedicated recreational vehicle accident lawyer can help make sense of all of this and work with you to obtain benefits and/or compensation you might be entitled to.
What Can Litco Law Edmonton Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyers Do For Me?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a recreational vehicle accident, you do not have to travel the road to recovery, rehabilitation and restitution on your own. Litco Law Edmonton Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyers are passionate advocates for victims of personal injuries who are ready to be by your side and on your side as you rebuild your life.
When you contact our office, we will connect you with one of our knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced lawyers. After listening to your story with genuine interest and compassion, we will explain your options in easy-to-understand terms and take time to answer all of your questions. If you choose to work with us, we will continue to keep you informed and involved as much or as little as you’d like as your case develops.
Litco Law lawyers are pleased to deal with all aspects of the insurance process, from reviewing your policies, to helping you apply for benefits to defending your interests if companies are delaying or denying funds that are rightfully yours. If someone’s negligent actions or inaction caused or contributed to your injuries, our trusted personal injury advocates can file a claim for damages on your behalf to seek compensation for your pain, suffering and losses. Our team is well prepared to negotiate a fair and just settlement for you or to bring our case to a judge or jury if we believe you can do better than what’s been offered.
A Strong Reputation
For more than 40 years our firm has represented Albertans who have been victims of tragic accidents. In that time, we have developed a well-known reputation for our professionalism, received praise for client-focused approach, and have established a track record for results that has made us one of Canada’s Top Ten Boutique Personal Injury Firms (Canadian Lawyer Magazine). Our lawyers are recognized by their peers for their knowledge, skill, and commitment to clients. We pride ourselves on working with purpose every day to uphold this image
The steady stream of referrals from our past clients and their willingness to provide testimonials of our work tell us that they share this impression of our firm. Clients consistently tell us that at Litco Law they feel as though they are much more than just a case number; rather, they are made to feel like they are a part of our family and individuals who we value.
We know victims of personal injuries seek legal representation to help them access benefits and financial compensation for their injuries. But at Litco Law, we care about your rehabilitation, recovery and how you will move confidently into the next chapter of your life. We will do our utmost to support all aspects of your healing, be it emotional, physical or financial.
Looking For A Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the counties of Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon. When you need a Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.