In the past, skiers were rarely successful in personal injury litigation, but today's victims of skiing related accidents are often successful when seeking damages in court. Resorts now are typically penalized for not maintaining a standard of reasonable care in the operation of their facilities.
If you get injured while you are at a ski resort, your legal rights in bringing a lawsuit depend on how the injury occurred. If the injury at the ski resort was caused by another person's negligence, then you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the individual. However, if your injury was caused by the ski resorts, your rights may be limited.
What Is Ski Resort Immunity?
Most states that have a lot of ski resorts have passed laws that prevent skiers or snowboarders from bringing a claim for injuries caused by skiing since there is a inherent and obvious risk in skiing. Some of these laws protect ski resorts from negligence claims because skiing has reasonably obvious dangers which people are aware of.
What Are Common Accidents in Ski Resort Liability Claims?
The following are the most common types of successful claims made against ski resorts and their patrons:
- Downhill accidents
- Collision accidents
- Lift Mishaps
- Collisions with or because of poorly located signs
- Inadequate slope maintenance
- Accidents during ski instruction
- Collision with resort operated snowmobiles
- Negligent instruction or supervision
- Collisions with other patrons due to negligent traffic control
How Can I Prove a Ski Resort Liability Claim?
Most personal injury lawsuits that are brought against a ski resort is based on negligence. Under a negligence claim, you need to prove that the ski resort or facility was legally responsible and at fault for your injuries. Your lawsuit may be based on the following:
- you were injured by colliding with a other skier who was negligence and careless
- the ski resort was poorly maintained
- ski resort had lack of warnings
- ski resort failed to exercise reasonable care
What Are Exceptions to Ski Resort Immunity?
Even though some ski resorts are immune from liability, there are some exceptions. Ski resorts may be liable for injuries that occur under their premises if:
- there are malfunctioning chairlifts
- dangerous conditions caused by ski resort's negligence
- malfunctioning ski resort machines
- an improperly oared or stored snow machine
What Are Some Defenses to Ski Resort Liability?
Ski resorts may be protected from liability under some state laws since skiing and snowboarding are known to be potentially dangerous activities. Since the activity is dangerous and risky, the ski resort may raise a "assumption of risk" defense. Under this defense the ski resort can claim that the skiier or snowboarder knew the dangers involved in the activity and assumed the risk by participating in it anyways.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover from a Ski Resort Accident?
If you are successful in bringing a personal injury claim for an injury that occured while you were at a ski resort, you may be entitled to monetary damages. The damages that you may recover depend of the severity of the injury. The most common types of compensation you may recieve are:
- medical expenses
- future medical expenses
- lost wages
- compensation for pain and suffering
Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been injured at a ski resort and wish to pursue lawsuit against the ski resort, you may find the advice of a personal injury attorney to be extremely helpful. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine the strength and viability of your case.