Damages IN a Ski or Snowboard Accident Claim
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Individuals who engage in alpine sports, like skiing and snowboarding, carry a heightened risk of serious injury and/or fatality.
Snow accidents invoke a broad variety of laws and practices that may vary depending on the specifics of the accident itself. Thus, it is imperative that skiers and snowboarders know what to do and who to contact if they are injured on the slopes.
If you or a loved one was injured, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys to determine what damages may be available in your ski or snowboard claim.
What Causes Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents?
The popularity of skiing and snowboarding has increased in recent years. Naturally, this increase in popularity has led to a spike in injuries as well. An athlete may sustain a variety of injuries depending on the specifics of the accident. Accidents involving high-impact crashes may yield more severe injuries, while smaller falls may only temporarily inflict harm. According to alpine experts, there are some common causes of these snow-related sport accidents. These causes include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Chair Lifts
Although chair lifts do not cause as many injuries as steep slopes, they still inflict harm on skiers every season. Chair lifts, which are often automatic like a revolving door, may injure new or inexperienced skiers, especially if they have never ridden a chair lift before. Mounting chair lifts may prove to be difficult for many skiers; many are injured when attempting to load up incorrectly. Luckily, many resorts offer classes on how to safely board a chair lift as a means of avoiding these types of preventable injuries for their guests.
2. Failure to Follow Safety Guidelines
Many lift, transportation, and resort companies publish a list of recommended safety guidelines for snowy regions. These guidelines may be extremely helpful for first-time skiers and may even provide a refresher for seasoned mountain-goers. Athletes who fail to research the proper safety rules or regulations before approaching the mountain run the risk of putting themselves and others in substantial danger.
3. Falls or Collisions with Objects
Skiing and snowboarding injuries most commonly occur on the slopes themselves. As snow sports become more popular, athletes are pursuing higher speeds and more challenging moves. Regardless of talent or ability, countless skiers and snowboarders are involved in mountain collisions every year. These accidents usually involve direct collisions with trees, fences, barriers, rocks, and traffic signs. Although uncommon, even avalanches cause a few skier deaths per year in the United States. Notably, these direct collisions cause substantial injuries every year.
4. Inadequate Instruction
Just like any other sport, skiing and snowboarding require adequate instruction and ample practice. New alpine athletes should attend informational classes to learn how to operate and navigate the equipment and snowy landscape. Skiers who fail to attend these instructional sessions put themselves and others at risk on the slopes.
5. Collisions with Other Skiers or Snowboarders
In addition to collisions with objects, snow accidents are also commonly caused by collisions with other skiers. Skiers and snowboarders who fail to clear their path or pay attention to their surroundings create a greater risk of injury.
6. Equipment Failure
Unlike the previous causes that are mostly athlete initiated, some accidents occur simply due to faulty equipment. Skiers and snowboarders should check their equipment regularly to avoid these types of accidents and injuries.
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While the aforementioned list is not exhaustive, it does include the most common causes of skiing and snowboarding accidents. Snow accidents can inflict serious injuries on a victim and damage their livelihood. Luckily, many accidents are preventable if athletes consciously choose to take adequate safety measures hitting the slopes.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured While Skiing or Snowboarding?
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you are involved in an accident while skiing or snowboarding, you should seek medical attention immediately after the incident. Even if your injuries appear minor, you should still visit a healthcare professional to evaluate your well-being after the accident. Commonly, especially in accidents involving blunt-force trauma, injuries do not appear immediately after an incident. Thus, visiting a doctor may help catch a problem early on before it becomes debilitating. Additionally, visiting a medical professional may also help you create an official medical report of your injuries that can be referred back to if you later wish to pursue your legal options.
2. Document the Incident
If you are involved in a skiing or snowboarding accident, it is imperative that you document the incident. Immediately after the accident, you should contact the appropriate authorities. If contacted, the snow police or patrol will draft an official report of the incident and your injuries. This report will likely include witness information, obvious injuries, and potential causes of the incident. You should also try to create your own record of relevant information about the incident. If you plan to pursue a legal claim, you may be required to present documentation supporting your assertions. You should establish this well-documented record early on in the proceedings.
3. Speak with a Lawyer
Colorado has unique laws regulating winter sports. Additionally, the details of your ski and snowboard claim may change the damages available to you. A skiing and snowboarding accident attorney may determine applicable laws, assess party liability, assist in evidence collection, and even potentially negotiate a fair settlement. Undoubtedly, retaining an attorney poses a variety of benefits that may help you and your case succeed. Therefore, it might be beneficial to speak with an expert accident attorney to truly evaluate your options for legal compensation and move forward in the judicial process.
What Damages Can I Get from My Ski or Snowboard Claim?
Damages in a skiing or snowboarding injury claim will generally be based on a theory of negligence or product liability.
If your skiing or snowboarding injury case is based on negligence, you will likely need to prove that the party you are suing is legally responsible or at fault for your specific injuries. To prove negligence in Colorado, you must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the injured party, they breached that duty, and that breach caused actual injuries to the plaintiff.
On the contrary, if your accident was caused by a defective or dangerous product, you may be entitled to compensation from the companies that designed, manufactured, or distributed the product. Regardless of which avenue you choose to pursue, you may be entitled to a variety of damages. Depending on the specifics of your claim, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Emotional trauma
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Physical pain
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
The damages available to you may depend on a broad range of factors, including the specifics and severity of your injuries. States also allow parties to share responsibility for the accident. The allocation of fault may also impact your ability to recover compensation. Colorado follows the modified comparative negligence rule, so any plaintiff who was 50% or more responsible for the accident may not recover any damages. Thus, it may be beneficial to retain an attorney to help you evaluate the damages and legal options available in your case.
Get Experienced Help from Zinda Law Group
If you or a loved one has been injured in a skiing or snowboarding accident and want to seek compensation, you should contact a lawyer who handles personal injury lawsuits as soon as possible. Our lawyers may help you understand seek damages in a ski or snowboard claim.
At Zinda Law Group, our Denver injury lawyers have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek the highest compensation possible. Zinda Law Group provides quality consultation on the best way to handle your case. The sooner you contact our office, the higher the likelihood that we will be able to assist you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a skiing or snowboarding accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.