There’s no feeling like gliding across an open field or tearing over a frozen lake on your favorite snowmobile. For many Minnesotans, snowmobiling is the recreational activity that defines winter, something to look forward to during the long months of cold temperatures and early darkness.
Yet, thrilling as it is, snowmobiling can be a dangerous activity; Minnesota snowmobile accidents are all too common. From defective sleds to carelessness by fellow riders, the potential risks to snowmobilers are vast.
Defective sleds, reckless snowmobilers, road traffic all serious threats
In the closing days of 2012, Arctic Cat recalled approximately 3,900 sleds after it was discovered that defective fuel tanks in the snowmobiles could leak, posing a fire hazard. The recall affected new model year 2013 sleds in the Arctic Cat Bearcat series.
Snowmobile manufacturing or design defects are just one of the many threats facing riders. When a product defect leads to injury, victims can hold manufacturers financially responsible. But, manufacturers are not the only ones whose conduct can give rise to legal liability; often snowmobile accidents are caused by some other third party.
It is not uncommon for other riders or inattentive motor vehicle operators to collide with a snowmobiler. Sometimes landowners, construction crews, land renters or others leave dangerous obstacles on a snowmobile path or in a well-traveled road ditch, catching riders unaware. For snowmobile passengers, the driver’s dangerous stunts or excessive speeding can lead to disastrous results.
Snowmobilers can take certain measures to protect themselves. Wearing the proper safety gear, maintaining sleds in good working order, traveling at safe speeds, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and always riding with someone else all cut down on the odds of injury in a serious snowmobile accident.
Injured in a snowmobile accident? An attorney may be able to help
While many snowmobile accidents are preventable, there is only so much a rider can do to protect him or herself when someone else’s unsafe behavior causes injury. In circumstances in which a third party is at fault for a snowmobile accident, victims may be able to recover compensation through legal action.
According to Minnesota DNR records, 45 snowmobile accidents were reported in the state during the winter of 2011-2012; six snowmobilers lost their lives, and 40 were injured. If you have been injured in a snowmobile accident, or if a family member has been killed, speak to a Minnesota snowmobile accident attorney to explore your options.