Award-winning Ski & Snowboard Accident LawyersLast updated on: March 10, 2021
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A BACKCOUNTRY SKI WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER
After the tragic loss of a loved one in a backcountry ski accident, the last thing on your mind may be filing a lawsuit. However, an untimely death can result in a sudden loss of income, extensive financial burdens, and the emotional toll of losing the companionship and support of your loved one.
At Zinda Law, we may be able to help assess how much compensation you are entitled to after a wrongful death. Call (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced backcountry ski wrongful death attorneys.
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
It is difficult to put a price tag on the value of a human life. The closest that the justice system allows survivors to come to this is by measuring the economic impact that the loss of a life can have on the deceased’s family.
After the death of a loved one, a wrongful death claim may help the surviving loved ones recover compensation for a death that was caused by an individual’s negligent or intentional act. When a person dies from injuries they sustained in a backcountry skiing accident, the emotional and financial toll may be unbearable. A wrongful death claim can help alleviate the financial and emotional strain on survivors from the sudden loss of love, support, and the income an individual provided before their death.
Of course, no amount of money will ever truly be able to compensate you and your loved ones for a loss. However, compensation can help cover the deceased’s expected wages and income, medical expenses, and funeral expenses. The compensation value of a wrongful death claim may also include you and your loved ones’ loss of companionship and additional pain and suffering from the emotional trauma a sudden death can cause.
WHO MAY BE HELD LIABLE IN A BACKCOUNTRY SKI ACCIDENT?
In general, a wrongful death ski accident on a ski resort’s property deals with premises liability law. The term “premises liability” refers to certain duties that landowners need to follow to maintain their property and keep it safe for visitors. The highest duty attaches when guests are invited onto the property for a business purpose.
Each state has its own laws that govern liability for ski accidents and wrongful death claims. In Colorado, skiers are less protected by the law because skiing is seen as an inherently dangerous activity, and skiers are viewed as having assumed the risks of the sport. Despite these laws, lawsuits have still been successful in cases where a skier was killed. Some of the parties that may be held responsible can include:
Under most premises liability laws, ski resort owners need to keep their property, including the ski lift area, reasonably safe and notify visitors of any dangerous conditions. In the backcountry area, this could include ensuring that proper signage and safety warnings are posted and removing equipment left on the slopes.
Read More: Can You Sue a Ski Resort?
Ski Lift Employees
When ski employees are negligent, they may fail to warn backcountry skiers of known dangers, hit skiers with heavy machinery, or fail to stop a malfunctioning ski lift.
Skiers can gather significant speed when going downhill. However, when backcountry skiers become distracted, act recklessly, or lose control, their speed may cause a deadly collision.
When ski equipment is defectively manufactured, the chances that a skier will be injured or killed increase. A defective product may include faulty safety mechanisms or incorrectly designed equipment.
HOW IS CASE VALUE DETERMINED?
Determining the exact value of your wrongful death case will depend on several factors. It can be extremely complicated to determine the exact amount in a wrongful death suit. Experts, such as economists and actuaries, will often be used to help determine the dollar amount the deceased individual contributed and would have continued to provide if not for their death. You may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages from a wrongful death lawsuit.
Economic damages include the tangible financial contributions the deceased would have provided to the survivors if they had not died. The calculation may be based, in part, on the deceased’s age, health prior to death, and earning capacity. The age of the deceased’s children and the type of assistance that would have been provided can also be factors to determine the value. These may include:
- Loss of expected earnings, including the amount the deceased would have earned over their career
- Loss of benefits, such as health insurance, dental coverage, and pension plans
- Loss of inheritance, including the inability to accumulate money to provide an inheritance to beneficiaries
- Medical and funeral expenses, including medical care from the accident that resulted in the death of the victim
- Value of the goods and services that the deceased provided for survivors
Although non-economic damages may be harder to calculate, they can often have more value than economic damages. Non-economic damages can be used to help with the devastating loss of a loved one and the nurturing and supportive role they played in the lives of their survivors. These damages could include:
- Pain and suffering for the deceased’s survivors
- Loss of consortium of a spouse
- Loss of companionship including support, care, and guidance from the deceased
In cases where a defendant is seriously reckless or malicious, and those actions resulted in the deceased’s death, punitive damages may be awarded in some circumstances. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are very rare. An experienced backcountry ski wrongful death attorney may be able to assist in determining whether punitive damages are applicable in your situation.
HOW LONG DO WRONGFUL DEATH CASES TAKE?
No two wrongful death cases are the same. While some cases may be settled in a matter of months, others may take a few years. Our wrongful death attorneys may thoroughly investigate the facts, calculate a settlement value, and help you seek the maximum compensation available. All of this takes time, and the precise length it takes to settle your case will depend on the specific facts of your case.
Although the majority of cases are settled without going to trial, in some wrongful death cases, a trial is necessary when the parties are unable to come to an agreement on a fair compensation value for a wrongful death claim. A trial may extend the time it takes in a wrongful death case, but if a settlement offer isn’t fair and doesn’t accurately reflect the damage and pain that victims have lived through, our attorneys may take the case to trial and continue to fight for you.
WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO BE COMPENSATED?
Most states have laws that cover who can benefit from compensation in a wrongful death settlement. These laws usually require that the individuals suffer as a result of the deceased’s death. In Colorado, the following parties may be eligible to bring a wrongful death suit:
If the decedent was married, the surviving spouse is the only party who may bring a wrongful death claim in Colorado for the first year after the decedent’s death. This could include a claim for loss of consortium and loss of expected income.
After one year has passed since the decedent’s death, surviving children may bring a Colorado wrongful death claim.
If there were no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the decedent may bring a wrongful death claim.
You should consult an experienced Colorado wrongful death attorney to determine if you are eligible for compensation.
ZINDA LAW GROUP’S WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS MAY HELP YOU
At Zinda Law Group, our backcountry ski wrongful death lawyers have helped many survivors get the compensation they deserved after losing a loved one in a tragic accident caused by another party’s negligence or intentional actions. We understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one, but we want to help you seek the financial and emotional support you deserve by understanding the value of your wrongful death claim.
We believe that you should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing unless we win your case.