Minnesota’s change of seasons provides the perfect setting for many outdoor recreational activities. The land of 10,000 lakes (and rivers) provides an abundance of popular sites for families to cool off on a hot summer day while boating, water skiing, or jet skiing.
Many people also spend time with friends off-road on all-terrain vehicle (ATV) adventures. In addition, Minnesota winters offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy snowmobiling, snowboarding, skiing, and sledding.
Unfortunately, Minnesotans of all ages can suffer recreational vehicle injuries, and those injuries can change a person’s life in significant ways.
Even if you are attentive and careful when operating a boat, ATV, or snowmobile, you face unique hazards from the weather, lake or trail conditions, defective products or design flaws, and distracted or impaired boaters or snowmobilers. If you are injured by someone who is reckless or negligent, they are responsible for all your damages and harm.
If you are injured in a recreational vehicle accident, understanding your rights can be stressful and complicated. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Halunen Law will help you understand your legal rights, get you the monetary compensation necessary to get your life back and get you the justice you deserve.
Many people who enjoy being out on the lake or a river make water safety a top priority and take the proper precautions when operating a boat. However, sometimes things go wrong, and boats or watercraft collide and cause injuries. Additionally, alcohol can play a role in boating accidents and result in serious harm. Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources reports that 30 percent of fatal boat accidents involve alcohol.
Accidents may also occur when too many passengers overload a boat, a boat operator makes an unsafe maneuver, or the boat is traveling at an unsafe speed. Unfortunately, boater negligence has caused many injuries and deaths in water recreation vehicle accidents across Minnesota.
Recreational Vehicle Accidents
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility task (or terrain) vehicles (UTVs), and snowmobiles are fun, exciting recreational vehicles and are very popular in Minnesota. But like all vehicles, these can be dangerous when operated by careless or reckless drivers, when the proper safety measures are not taken, or when the vehicle has a design flaw.
When Someone Is Negligent
Many recreational vehicle accidents are caused by operator negligence or recklessness. Victims and families of victims have the right to claim compensation for their injuries, pain, and emotional suffering caused by this negligence or recklessness. If the driver who caused the ATV, UTV, or snowmobile accident was drinking at the time of the crash, your personal injury lawyer may be able to help you to receive additional compensation in the form of punitive damages.
Product defects in recreational vehicles can be a cause of accidents, particularly when ATVs and snowmobiles are involved. In the case of product liability, your personal injury attorney will require evidence to prove that the defect existed and that it caused or worsened the accident. Manufacturer-issued recalls may serve as evidence that the manufacturer knew of the vehicle’s potential risks.
The personal injury attorneys at Halunen Law represent the victims of these tragic accidents across Minnesota. We understand the emotional trauma suffered when you or a loved one are injured in a recreational vehicle accident.
Economic losses after a recreational vehicle accident
The aftermath of an accident often causes severe financial burdens and adds significant financial stress to the victims and their families.
Time away from work for recovery results in lost household income, and medical bills can pile up. Although insurance might cover some medical expenses, severe accidents result in significant medical costs.
The total cost can easily reach six figures, sometimes seven figures, in the most extreme cases. Common medical expenses which can be included in your personal injury claim include ambulance services, ER visits, hospitalization, surgeries, prescription medication, and physical therapy.
Less obvious expenses that might be a part of your personal injury claim include the cost of modifying your home to improve access, such as adding ramps or handrails. You may also be able to receive compensation for the cost of replacing domestic services that victims may no longer be able to do themselves, such as lawn care and cleaning.
Some catastrophic recreational vehicle accident injuries require lifelong care. If your loved one is in a permanent vegetative state (PVS), has permanent paralysis of some or all of the body, or has suffered a mentally incapacitating injury, the chances of a full recovery are slim.
No amount of money can undo that, but when the damage is this severe, the value of a personal injury claim dramatically increases. In these situations, an experienced attorney will gather expert analysis and testimony concerning the costs of required long-term care and the value of lost future wages.
Non-economic damages caused by a recreational vehicle accident
Severe accidents wreak havoc in all aspects of a victim’s life. In addition to the financial challenges after a boat, snowmobile, or ATV accident, victims must deal with the physical pain of injury and recovery, as well as changes in their personal relationships and quality of life.
When your attorney values your claim, he or she will consider the non-economic damages you have suffered, which might result in additional compensation. These damages include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium with a spouse or partner, loss of quality of life, or scarring and disfigurement.