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Michigan Snowmobile Accident Lawyers

Winter sports can be exhilarating, and Michigan is one of the top states in the country for cold-weather fun such as snowmobiling. Unfortunately, snowmobiling can also be dangerous and even deadly. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), there are 1.3 million registered snowmobiles in the United States. The modern snowmobile weighs more than six hundred pounds and can travel upwards of ninety miles per hour, factors that contribute to the severity of snowmobile accidents, which result in an estimated 14,000 injuries and
200 deaths each year.

Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan snowmobile accident experts. We have represented snowmobile victims in many cases over the years. If you or a loved one has been involved in a snowmobile accident, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.

Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan snowmobile accident experts. We have represented snowmobile victims in many cases over the years. If you or a loved one has been involved in a snowmobile accident, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.

Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan snowmobile accident experts. We have represented snowmobile victims in many cases over the years. If you or a loved one has been involved in a snowmobile accident, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.

Michigan Snowmobiling Dangers

Winter is here, and in Michigan, that means snow. In the southern half of the lower peninsula of Michigan, average snowfalls range from 31 inches in Dearborn and 42 inches in Saginaw to nearly 60 inches in Ann Arbor and 94 inches in Grand Rapids. Still, those snowfalls can’t compete with upper-peninsula neighbors like Houghton, weighing in around 207 inches of snow per year. Not everyone is excited by the possibility of snow-filled days, but snowmobile enthusiasts look forward to winter with great anticipation, and with good reason. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources notes that Michigan is one of only three states offering a large interconnected system of snowmobile trails, with 6,200 miles of trails.

Unfortunately, this enthusiasm can turn tragic when snowmobile accidents occur. In 2014-15, there were 15 snowmobile deaths in Michigan. Already in 2016, there have been multiple snowmobile deaths, alongside many injuries. The most common reasons for snowmobile accidents are operator error or negligence, including excessive speed or operating the ORV while under the influence of alcohol, as well as unknown irregularities in terrain. Most fatal snowmobile accidents occur in the nighttime (dark) hours and due to head or neck injuries, drowning, and hypothermia.

Snowmobile Safety

Snowmobiles are not highly regulated. They are required to be registered in most states, but requirements for safety equipment/apparel or training for operators are not widespread. Michigan does require registration of your snowmobile, as well as a trail permit, and provides for numerous scenarios under which someone may not operate an off-road vehicle (ORV). There are specificities for the braking system of the machine, and drivers and riders must wear helmets. In addition, the machine must have a lighted headlight and taillight at all times of operation.

Frequently listed safety practices include:

  • Maintain the snowmobile in top condition
  • Travel at a safe speed and be especially cautious at night
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs before and when driving
  • Know your skill level with the machine and understand your limits
  • Wear appropriate gear including helmet and face shield or goggles and layers of water-repellant clothing
  • Do not travel alone
  • Carry a safety kit
  • The motion of the snowmobile can cause fatigue—stay alert!
  • Stay on marked trails
  • Make sure to cross streets and roads carefully

Michigan Snowmobile-Related Restrictions

Unlike many other states, Michigan snowmobile regulations have some direct ties to the operator’s primary driver’s license. First, if you license to drive an automobile has been suspended or revoked by Michigan or your home state, you may not operate a snowmobile. Second, convictions related to your operation of a
snowmobile can accrue points on your driver’s license, just as would a car accident.

  • A person convicted of manslaughter, negligent homicide or a felony resulting from snowmobile operation shall have six points assessed against his/her driver record.
  • A person convicted of operating a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or with an unlawful blood alcohol content shall have six points assessed against his/her driver record.
  • A person who is convicted of operating a snowmobile while visibly impaired due to consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance shall have four points assessed against his/her driver record.

Who is Liable in a Snowmobile Accident?

Snowmobile accidents are viewed similarly to car accidents and will largely utilize theories of negligence. In order to prove negligence, it must be established that a duty of care was due to one person from another, and that duty of care was not met. Liability can be mitigated if another involved party was also negligent. Also, as with cars, product liability may come into play if there is a defect with the machine that causes an accident, injury, or death.

Contact Us Now About Your Snowmobile Accident

A snowmobile accident can leave you or your loved one in a fragile state. We understand and can help take some of the weight off by providing the legal expertise you need. Please call Lee Free and speak to our snowmobile accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your Michigan snowmobile accident case.