Extreme sports such as snowboarding require taking specific bodily risks to conduct maneuvers such as turns or jumps. Due to the nature of the activity, some injuries can result, mainly after a tumble.

In addition, the increased interest in snowboarding has caused severe injuries or death for snowboarders. More difficult activities such as jumps and half-pipes can also raise the dangers involved.

An individual hurt in a snowboarding accident may receive compensation for injuries that occur during the activity. This hinges on various factors, including the nature of the accident and the severity of the injuries involved.

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Extreme Sports and Injuries

The rise in popularity of extreme sports, such as snowboarding, has unfortunately been accompanied by injuries or deaths from the dangers associated with these events.

As a consequence, extreme sports are testing the limits of the law. Since the goal of extreme sports events is to present certain bodily risks, at some point, lawmakers must decide where the fault and liability ultimately fall. Some standard extreme sports injuries include:

  • Broken bones (particularly wrist and elbow injuries);
  • Head and neck injuries;
  • Spinal injuries;
  • Lacerations (cuts, often needing stitches);
  • Concussion injuries; and
  • Various other types of injuries.

In many instances, extreme sports injuries can be severe and involve long-term recovery and long-term medical conditions. In some circumstances, extreme sports injuries have been killer, which may lead to legal problems involving wrongful death and other claims.

What Are Some Causes of Action From Extreme Sports Injuries?

When someone is injured in an extreme sport, particularly where a company or organization sponsors the event, there are a few avenues for legal recourse:

  • Negligence: Negligence is a failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care that the ordinary person would in similar circumstances. Concerning extreme sports, a negligence claim would likely concentrate on the design of the course, allowing too many participants to race, or a failure to inform participants what they are getting into satisfactorily.
  • Assumption of Risk: The biggest hurdle facing any traditional negligence claim is an assumption of risk defense. A defendant will argue that the participant knew and understood the dangers yet willingly engaged in them anyway. Nevertheless, courts may be forced to explore wrinkles in this doctrine insofar as to how well the person knew of or could appreciate the risks or whether the organizations are acting in a manner that extends beyond negligence. If either of those circumstances is possible, the assumption of risk may not apply.
  • Gross Negligence and Recklessness: Many states differ in defining recklessness and gross negligence. Several do not even distinguish between the two. Nevertheless, regardless of how the state defines the cause of action, one common element is that the defendant knew of or should have known of a risk yet ignored it and continued to act unsafely.

Assumption of risk typically does not apply to these causes of action, and this is likely the biggest category of lawsuits facing extreme sports organizations. For example, an extreme sports organization may be acting recklessly if they:

  • Add extreme danger to an obstacle;
  • Knowingly make water obstacles muddy or murky; or
  • Intentionally crowd obstacles by building them small.

What If I Signed a Waiver?

Traditionally, waivers (often called “express assumption of risk”) stand up in court. For example, before purchasing a ski lift pass, one may be directed to sign a waiver, informing the athlete that the activity is dangerous. The resort will not be liable for any injuries.

Yet, how well the waiver will stand up to challenges will depend on the exact facts of each case, and whether they apply to other extreme events is unsettled. Therefore, one injured in an endurance race with mud, fire, and electricity obstacles may have several grounds to question the waiver.

Further, waivers are invalid if they violate public policy. If the waiver would relieve the defendant from legal responsibility where we, as a society, would rather hold individuals accountable, then a court will not implement it.

For instance, just because someone signed a waiver agreeing to have other individuals use an assault rifle to shoot an apple off their head, a court will likely not enforce that waiver because society would rather discourage that behavior altogether. Thus, that person or that person’s family could likely still file suit for any injuries.

What Are the Remedies in an Extreme Sports Injury Claim?

Extreme sports injuries may require legal action, particularly if there is a dispute over the cause of the injury or the extent of such injuries. In most circumstances, an extreme sports lawsuit remedy will likely be a monetary damages award.

This is intended to repay the non-liable injured party for losses like hospital bills, lost wages, loss of the ability to earn income in the future, and other expenses. In circumstances where wrongful death is also an issue, the damages may cover costs associated with that issue.

What Are Common Snowboarding Injuries?

Snowboarding injuries can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Knee injury
  • Lower leg fracture
  • Brain injury
  • Head injury
  • Wrist sprain
  • Spinal injury

Paralysis or death can occur in severe cases, especially if the neck or spine is damaged. Some cases can also involve injuries to multiple parties.

How Do Snowboarding Accidents Occur?

The most common kinds of snowboarding accidents include collisions with other snowboarders and:

  • Falls
  • Crashes with objects like walls, signs, trees, and fences
  • Snowboarding equipment failure
  • Insufficient snowboarding instructions by a snowboarding instructor

Can Negligence Cause Snowboarding Accidents?

If someone else’s negligence caused a snowboarding injury, then the individual has the right to sue that person. Negligence is the failure to use the amount of care an ordinary person in similar circumstances would use. Examples of snowboarding lawsuits based on negligence include:

  • The defendant, who is the individual being sued, collided with the plaintiff after acting recklessly or carelessly
  • There was a problem with the trails or parks where the plaintiff was snowboarding, such as a design flaw or inadequate maintenance
  • A snowboarding tutor led the plaintiff to a terrain beyond their talent level, in which case both the instructor and the school or resort employing the instructor may be sued

Can I Sue If My Snowboarding Injury Resulted From a Defective Product?

Whenever a product such as a snowboard causes injury to the user based on a design defect, warning defect, or defective manufacturing, it is deemed a defective product. Under product liability, manufacturers, designers, distributors, and retailers can be held liable for the defective product.

An example of a defective product is when a snowboard is manufactured with a defect, causing one of the straps to come loose during use and cause a fall. Such defects can result in legal liability, recalled products, and class action lawsuits.

Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Snowboarding Injuries?

Snowboarding injuries can often be severe and may require legal action. You could receive money to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It may be in your best legal interests to use LegalMatch to contact a personal injury lawyer for representation in your case.