WINTER SEASON: What Do I Do If I’m In A Snowmobile Accident?
The winter months bring much excitement for snowmobilers who are anxious to hit the trails. In fact, there are more than 600,000 legally registered snowmobiles in Canada, and this sport’s popularity is only growing. Unfortunately, accidents are more common than you may expect and many are preventable. If a snowmobile accident has resulted in an injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
In Ontario, snowmobile insurance is akin to car insurance—it is put in place to protect you, the driver and anyone you may injure. After a snowmobile accident, your insurance will cover at least some of the income you may lose if your injury prevents you from working, as well as cover the cost of medical treatments. 4
The Motorized Snow vehicles Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C. 25, (the “MSVA”), regulates the operation of motorized snow vehicles, including snowmobiles. A snowmobile is required to be insured under an automobile insurance policy unless the vehicle is only operated on property that is occupied by the owner of the vehicle. You may also purchase a “stand-alone” snowmobile insurance policy separate from any other auto policy you may own, however the premium may be more expensive. Many factors, including your age, driving record, how often you drive, and the type of snowmobile you own can affect your insurance premium. 1
What is Required to Own and Operate a Snowmobile in Ontario?
To own a snowmobile in Ontario, you are required to purchase a standard insurance policy which includes:
- Third party liability coverage: if another person is injured, killed, or you damage their property, this will protect you with respect to the cost of settling claims resulting from you being sued
- Statutory accident benefits coverage: if you are killed or injured in a snowmobile accident, this provides benefits to pay for accident-related costs such as caregivers, rehabilitation, income replacement, and death benefits. Statutory accident benefits are available regardless of who is at fault for the snowmobile accident.
- Direct compensation: This will cover costs of any damage to your vehicle.
- Uninsured automobile coverage: if you are injured or killed by an uninsured or unidentified driver, you will be covered. 2
It is crucial to always insure your snowmobile, as having proper insurance is the only way that you, your family, and your friends, are protected in the unfortunate event of a snowmobile accident.
Things to consider immediately after a snowmobile accident
- Fast action is necessary for Ontario insurance laws
You are required to report the accident and injuries to your insurer within 7 days of the accident. You have just 30 days after you receive the Accident Benefits application from your insurer to file it. Failing to meet those deadlines can damage or ruin your chances to collect Accident Benefits. You have 120 days to notify a liable party of your intent to file a law suit against them for their role in the accident. A lawyer can help you with submitting these forms on time. 3
- Seek prompt medical attention
Seek prompt medical attention after your snowmobile accident even if there are no obvious signs of injury. Some injuries such as brain trauma may only be detected by examinations such as MRIs or CT scans. Seeking qualified medical attention helps bolster the integrity of your claim. 3
- Quickly collect and preserve evidence
Collect evidence as quickly as possible to avoid it being compromised. This includes damaged vehicles, ripped clothing, and other personal items. Taking photos of the accident scene, gather police reports, medical records, and income statements. Take note of witnesses of the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help with the collection and preservation of your accident evidence. 3
- Call us right away
Tony Lafazanis has over 35 years experience as a personal injury lawyer. He will guide you through every step of the legal process and ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact Tony for a FREE consultation.
NOTE: Public Health Ontario Report – The Epidemiology of All-Terrain Vehicle & Snowmobile-Related Injuries in Ontario.