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In the wintertime, one of the most popular leisure activities for a large segment of the population is skiing and snowboarding. In fact, millions of people get out and hit the slopes every year. In particular, skiing and snowboarding are a big part of life in Breckenridge, which sits at over 12,000 feet of elevation and gets hundreds of inches of snow per year. Unfortunately, skiing and snowboarding often involve being around many other people, many of them inexperienced. This can lead to collisions for even the most skilled and careful of skiers and snowboarders, which might require the help of a Breckenridge ski and snowboard collision attorney.
SKI AND SNOWBOARD INJURIES
Breckenridge is a popular destination for skiers. When you are skiing or snowboarding at high speeds down a mountain among a sea of others doing the same, the risk of injury is always going to be present. While skiing by oneself presents inherent risks, the presence of other skiers and snowboarders magnifies the possibility of getting hurt.
There are a wide variety of injuries that skiers and snowboarders typically will suffer. For skiers, having a foot inside of a rigid boot in a binding means that they are apt to suffer from lower-body injuries like knee and ankle sprains. For snowboarders, upper body injuries can be more common, especially for those who don’t have much experience, because it is common to reach out and attempt to break falls with your hands. This can lead to broken wrists and dislocated shoulders upon impact with the ground.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING COLLISION
A skiing or snowboarding collision can be a traumatic experience. Getting out to a Breckenridge ski resort is supposed to be a fun and relaxing time, and a collision can turn these expectations on their head. To keep yourself safe and attempt to preserve any potential damages that you might be entitled to, it is important to follow a few key steps.
1. Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, ski patrol will likely be on hand to triage the situation and offer the help that they can. However, it is important to seek further medical attention as it becomes necessary after the accident happens. Going to a doctor to address any medical concerns after the accident is important for a couple of reasons. One, certain injuries might not be immediately apparent, and talking to a doctor can help prevent them from getting any worse. Seeking medical attention quickly may help prevent another party from arguing that your injuries aren’t serious or that they aren’t tied to the collision.
2. Document the Accident
After any sort of accident, it is preferable to gather more information than needed as opposed to too little. This can include any report that was generated by the ski resort or law enforcement, any contact information for the witnesses and parties involved, and medical records as you treat your injuries.
3. Contact a Breckenridge Ski and Snowboard Collision Attorney
When it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries, the process involved is very complicated and there are lots of mistakes that an inexperienced person can make. These mistakes can mean the difference between receiving enough money to get you and your family through a difficult time and receiving nothing. Speaking with an experienced attorney soon after your accident can help ensure that you have the best shot possible at receiving a fair and adequate settlement.
WHO IS LIABLE?
To succeed in a ski or snowboard collision suit, it will be critical to establish that another party is liable for your injuries. Liability is the legal term that applies when another party is responsible for your injuries. If another party is liable for your injuries, then they may be on the hook to pay damages for the costs that you have incurred. This means that establishing liability is a crucial component of any personal injury case. In a collision, the liability will typically be attributed to one of two main sources.
When it comes to skier safety in Colorado, many of the main rules and regulations can be found in the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which has served as a model for many similar pieces of legislation around the country. Generally speaking, a skier who is acting recklessly will be liable for the injuries that they cause. For example, if a skier causes injury while they are very intoxicated, then it is likely that they will be held liable.
Aside from cases in which a skier or snowboarder is acting extremely recklessly, every skier has the general duty to enjoy their time on the mountain safely and responsibly. This means maintaining a responsible speed, not skiing or snowboarding outside of their skill level, and making sure that they keep a lookout for other people on the mountain. It is also true that it is incumbent upon the uphill skier, that is, the skier who is higher up the mountain, to avoid collisions with those below them. While this doesn’t absolve the lower skier from responsibility, it does place the primary burden on the uphill party.
Though it is relatively rare, there are circumstances in which a resort can be held liable for the damages caused by a collision. According to statute, it is generally the responsibility of the skier or snowboarder to act responsibly, which means that ski resorts are absolved of responsibility in the majority of cases. This does not mean that ski resorts are impervious to lawsuits, however. If it is determined that a ski resort acted recklessly and that this action ended up causing a collision, then they could be held at least partially liable for the damage that they caused.
HOW TO FILE A SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING CLAIM
There are a series of important steps that are required to seek compensation for your injuries. Failing to follow these steps can result in recovering nothing, even if your injuries were caused by the fault of another.
1. Contact a Breckenridge Ski and Snowboard Collision Attorney
Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that govern ski and snowboard accidents in the state of Colorado. Thus, the first, and perhaps and most important, step after an accident is to hire an experienced attorney. When speaking to attorneys, make sure that they are effective communicators who have the necessary experience and time to be able to take on your case and give it the attention that it deserves.
2. Research and Gather Information
After you have completed the important first step of hiring an attorney, they may be able to get to work on gathering the necessary information that your specific case requires. This may include looking at photographs or video evidence, conducting interviews with witnesses, and analyzing medical reports. They may also research the Colorado laws that will govern your case.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
After your attorney has done the necessary research, they may be able to begin the process of negotiating a settlement with the other parties involved. This step is crucial because settlements are much more common than actually going through a full trial. At the settlement stage, your attorney may be able to argue for a larger settlement for your injuries by emphasizing the fault of the other parties in a persuasive manner while minimizing any potential weaknesses in your own case. If the settlement negotiations fail, your case may need to go to trial, where your attorney may represent you.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
When you are considering a skiing or snowboard collision claim, it is important to remember that your ability to file suit actually has an expiration date. This legal time limit is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that you have, starting from the date of your accident, within which to file a claim. The applicable statute of limitations in Colorado is two years, which means you have two years from the date of your accident to start the legal process.
There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations that might apply in certain situations, however. For example, if you don’t discover an injury until some time after the accident, the statute of limitations might be tolled. The same applies if the victim of the accident is a minor, in which case the statute of limitations might be put on pause until they reach the age of majority. In any case, the best way to move forward is to contact an attorney as quickly as possible to prevent missing out on compensation because of a failure to timely act.
CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
After your accident, Zinda Law Group may be able to help you and your family in more ways than one. Our experienced Colorado attorneys may be able to inform you of what your options are and how to most efficiently pursue them. In a larger sense, we may be able to remove the burden of the legal process from your shoulders so that you can focus fully on your recovery. We believe that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation. This is why we work on a contingency fee basis—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.