Snowmobiling can be fast-paced and exhilarating. Unfortunately, snowmobile accidents seriously injure Ontarians every winter.
If you are injured in a snowmobiling accident – even if you are at fault for the accident – you should speak to a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in dealing with snowmobile claims. In Ontario, people whose injuries are caused by the ownership, use, or operation of a snowmobile are able to recover similar compensation available to people injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Snowmobile use is governed by the Motor Snow Vehicles Act and snowmobiles are considered “motor vehicles” under the Insurance Act.
The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act stipulates that snowmobiles in Ontario must be insured if they are used outside the land occupied by the owner of the vehicle. If you are injured in a snowmobile accident, you can apply for no-fault accident benefits from your insurer, even if you caused the collision.
You may be eligible to receive insurance coverage for medical and rehabilitation, attendant care, housekeeping and caregiving expenses, as well as weekly compensation for your income loss. If the snowmobile is not insured, you may be able to claim accident benefits from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, which compensates people injured in car accidents where no other insurance is available.
If someone else caused your injuries through their ownership, use or operation of a snowmobile, you can commence a “tort” lawsuit against the person who harmed you to recover damages for your pain and suffering, lost income, extraordinary medical expenses and costs for your future care as a result of your injuries and impairments. Family members of people who are seriously injured in snowmobile accidents may also have a legal claim against the person who caused the accident.
If a snowmobile causes injury because it malfunctions or its parts are defective, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the snowmobile and/or the distributor that sold the snowmobile.
Applications for accident benefits and tort lawsuits in Ontario are governed by strict timelines. You need to advise your insurance company within one week of the accident and need to send in your application for accident benefits within one month of receiving the package from your insurance company. You also have to notify the person who caused your injuries if you intend to start a tort lawsuit against them and need to start your lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident or you will not be able to recover any compensation.
There are many deadlines, forms, and procedures to be followed with accident benefits and tort claims for snowmobile accident victims. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who understands and is familiar with this system shortly after your accident will help you access all of the benefits that you are entitled to within the relevant time limits.
About the Authors
As a partner at Oatley Vigmond, Lara Fitzgerald-Husek uses her empathy, creativity, and trial experience to connect with her clients and help them move forward after trauma. Lara focuses her practice solely on personal injury, and she is determined to get her clients the best possible outcome—the one they deserve.