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Ski Accident Lawsuits

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What Are Some Common Types of Ski Accident Injuries?

Skiing is a popular pastime and, accordingly, skiing accidents are not uncommon. Injuries most often occur as a result of:

  • Ski/snowboard collisions
  • Ski-lift accidents
  • Ski area negligence including ski operator negligence
  • Ski equipment failure

Although the majority of injuries involve broken bones or soft tissue trauma, skiing and snowboarding accidents also results in many fatalities each year. A fatality on the ski slopes may warrant a wrongful death claim.

In some instance, it is obvious that another reckless skier is responsible for your injuries. However, liability may not always be so cut and dry. There are many situations where the actual ski resort is also held responsible.

Why Would the Ski Resort Be Responsible for My Injury?

Ski accident lawsuits are usually based on the theory of negligence. This means that claims are determined by the negligence on the part of one or more parties. There are four elements which must be proved in a successful ski accident lawsuit based on negligence:

  • Duty: The ski resort had a responsibility or duty to act with a reasonable amount of care.
  • Breach: Through either the commission of an act or through omission, the ski resort breached this duty.
  • Causation: It must be shown that the ski resort’s conduct or negligence caused your injuries.
  • Damages: To build a successful skiing accident claim, you must be able to show that the resort caused the injuries for which you are seeking monetary compensation.

Can I Sue a Ski Resort?

Since ski resorts contribute significantly to the local economy, they often enjoy legislative protection. Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice because it may be difficult to make a case against a ski resort. Some states have “ski immunity laws” that shield resorts from lawsuits based on the "inherent risk of skiing.” This means that it is “reasonable or obvious” that you may injure yourself in a high risk activity, like skiing. Furthermore, in the following situations the ski resort may claim that they are not responsible for your injury:

  • Collisions between skiers
  • A skier’s failure to ski within his or her ability
  • Skiing outside a designated area
  • How the ski resort laid out its trails

Despite the above obstacles, there are many situations where the ski resort will be held responsible and ordered to pay damages. Even the signing of a liability release form from the ski resort will not bar you from bringing a lawsuit. The only way to determine this is to examine your state’s ski liability laws.

Should I Seek Legal Assistance?

Each state is different in how they apply their laws when it comes to skiing accidents. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action. Personal injury attorneys often work on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you recover.

Photo of page author Nicole Shoener

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-04-2014 10:39 AM PDT

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