Snowmobiling is a common pastime during Wisconsin winters, and in fact, some of the first-ever snowmobiles were created in the state of Wisconsin. However, it can be a dangerous hobby, as recent years have demonstrated. In 2019, snowmobile accident fatalities in the state matched the most recent 10-year average of 16, and there was an even greater number of fatal accidents in 2020. Fortunately, injury victims of accidents involving snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles may be able to recover damages if the injuries were caused by another person’s negligence.
Snowmobile Laws and Regulations in Wisconsin
Though snowmobiles are often used away from roadways, including on private property, they are still subject to important regulations under Wisconsin law. These regulations are aimed at promoting the safety of riders and other people in their vicinity. For example, snowmobiles must be registered with the state, and operators born in 1985 or later are required to earn a Snowmobile Safety Certification. Other snowmobile safety laws include:
- Restrictions on the use of snowmobiles on public roads, which usually require that snowmobile operators maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from the actual roadway.
- Prohibition of operating a snowmobile on public property while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. These laws are especially important, given that the majority of fatal snowmobile accidents involve alcohol intoxication.
- Restrictions on speed during the hours of darkness and when within a certain distance of a home or a person who is not on a snowmobile or other vehicle.
Negligence in Snowmobile Accidents
If you are injured in a snowmobile accident, you may have a case for a personal injury lawsuit under a variety of circumstances. For example, you may have been injured in a collision with another negligent snowmobile operator, or with a car, truck, or other motor vehicle while driving near the roadway. You may also have been injured as a snowmobile passenger due to the driver’s negligence, or as a pedestrian in an area where people were riding snowmobiles. Wisconsin law requires that you notify law enforcement and the Department of Natural Resources after any snowmobile accident resulting in injury or death, and you should also consider contacting an attorney who can help you preserve evidence of negligence, including alcohol intoxication, excessive speed, other violations of snowmobile regulations, or any behavior that endangered your safety.
Contact an Appleton, WI Recreational Vehicle Accident Attorney
Snowmobile accidents are not as common as car accidents, but when they do occur, it is important that you know where to find legal help to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. The attorneys at the Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. will fight for a fair outcome that provides the relief you need. Contact a Green Bay personal injury lawyer for a free consultation at 920-739-7366.