Snowmobiling is an invigorating exercise that brings people outdoors to interact with nature and each other. Modern snowmobile usage ranges from a primary source of transportation to a main method of recreation in certain parts of the country, including throughout Pennsylvania.
However, the large machinery can unfortunately cause serious harm. Each year snowmobile accidents produce approximately 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, there are 12,845 snowmobiles registered in Pennsylvania – and, with so many snowmobiles it is vital for people to exercise extreme safety guidelines to limit further accidents.
Man Severely Injured in Berks County
Recently, a man was severely injured following a snowmobile accident in Berks County. The Morning Call reports, a 28-year-old man was riding his snowmobile when he fell off the machinery, and then was hit by a following snowmobile operated by another driver. The victim suffered severe head and leg injuries. Typically, victims of snowmobile accidents suffer extreme head trauma, fractured bones, and severe internal injuries.
Pennsylvania Snowmobile Accident Law & Your Rights
Pennsylvania has many miles of snowmobile trails for people to enjoy the sport. At the same time, the number of snowmobile related injuries and death can be reduced through proper education and legislation. Pennsylvania’s snowmobile laws strive to protect its residents from any potential danger pursuant to the Snowmobile and All-Terrain Vehicle Law.
Notably, Pennsylvania law requires all residents owning and intending to use their snowmobile in Pennsylvania to register their machinery with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Also, the operator of the snowmobile must wear a helmet. Youth under the age of 10 shall not operate a snowmobile on any public land. A person between the ages of 10 and 16, may operate a snowmobile but only on their parent’s property, unless they have completed the necessary safety course to operate a snowmobile on public property.
Any snowmobile that will be operated on public property must have liability insurance, and proof of insurance must be carried by the operator. Additionally, snowmobiles must be equipped with the appropriate muffler and brake system, as well as a functioning head and rear lights for nighttime driving.
The law prohibits operation of a snowmobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The operator shall not operate the machinery at an unreasonable, improper or unsafe speed for existing conditions. A failure to register your snowmobile or obtain liability insurance may result in a fine of $300. A violation of other provisions of the Snowmobile/ATV Law is punishable by a fine of $50 to $200, plus the cost of prosecution for a first offense.
Although the majority of snowmobile accidents do occur at the fault of the driver, like excess speed, alcohol, driver inexperience, or poor judgment, an injured person may be able to recover if the cause of the accident is not their fault. For example, you may have a product liability claim or negligence claim if you were hit by another person driving a snowmobile unreasonably.
If you have been injured in a snowmobile accident, contact our experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys. Our goal is to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our office at (215) 481-9979 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.