CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A FORT COLLINS SKI AND SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
For many Fort Collins residents, partaking in recreational activities such as skiing and snowboarding is common during the winter. After all, there are at least a dozen ski resorts in the Fort Collins area to choose from. However, like many recreational activities, there is an increased risk of physical injury. Because skiing and snowboarding can involve traveling at high speeds, a collision into another skier or physical object can be deadly.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a ski or snowboarding accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Fort Collins ski and snowboarding accident lawyers.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Though getting injured may be the last thing on your mind when going out to ski or snowboard, severe injuries and death do arise from these recreational activities. Surprisingly, experienced skiers are more likely to die than inexperienced skiers. According to the National Ski Area Association, in 2016, a seasoned male skier in his thirties was, on average, more likely to die in a skiing accident than any other group. This may be because experienced skiers tend to perform riskier maneuvers and ski at higher speeds than inexperienced skiers. In Colorado, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, an average of 11 deaths occur each year.
COMMON CAUSES OF SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING INJURIES
- Collisions with other skiers/snowboarders
- Chair lift accidents
- Inadequate instruction from skiing/snowboarding instructor
- Accidents from skiing/snowboarding equipment failure
- Crashes into physical objects such as trees
COMMON SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING INJURIES
- Knee sprains
- Fractured wrists
- Broken legs
- Cranial injuries
- Shoulder dislocations
- Ankle/foot sprains
- Back injuries
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)/MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries
- Thumb injury
ACL/MCL, back, wrist, and thumb injuries are the most common of the injuries in the list above. Some special attention will be given to how to prevent these injuries.
Preventing ACL/MCL Injuries
Your ACL is the part of your body that makes sure that your shin does not move too far forward while your MCL is the part of your body that makes sure that your knee does not bend inward. However, when extreme pressure is applied to your legs at an uneven angle, these ligaments can be injured. To prevent ACL/MCL injuries while on the slope, you should strengthen your legs by doing squats and wall-sits weeks or months before going skiing or snowboarding.
Preventing Back Injuries
Back injuries encompass injuries involving muscles and bones. Back muscle injuries can occur when your body is forced into a hunched position. This often occurs on the ski slope when a skier tries to avoid a fall or when the skier is skiing on uneven terrain. Bone injuries can occur when the skier falls or collides with a physical object. One way to prevent such injuries is to strengthen your back by doing back exercises such as cat stretches.
Preventing Wrist Injuries
When you realize you are about to fall while skiing, your instinct will be generally to extend your arms forward to lessen the impact. Though you may break your fall by doing so, your wrists may fracture as a result. Consider wearing wrist braces while skiing to reduce the impact on your wrists from falls.
Skier’s thumb makes up approximately 10 percent of ski injuries. Generally, skiers hold ski poles by putting their hands into the loops of the ski poles. Unfortunately, when a skier falls, this can end up causing their thumbs to bend far too outward, which can lead to the injury in the thumbs. To prevent this injury, try not to place your hands into the ski poles. That way, when you know you are about to fall, you can let go of the ski poles right away. If this is not possible, try to acquire ski gloves that have thumb stabilizers.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHILE SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING
In addition to protecting yourself from the most common skiing or snowboarding injuries, there are other ways to reduce your chances of having an accident or, at the very least, reduce the severity of your injuries if an accident does occur. Below is a list of tips you should follow while at the ski resort:
- Wear a helmet
- Make sure to check that your skis or snowboard do not have any damage
- Do not consume alcohol or drugs
- If the weather becomes severe, head to shelter
- Stay within the bounds of the resort
- Follow ski patrol instructions
- Before skiing, make sure that you are hydrated and that your muscles are loose
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SKI OR SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT
1. Assess Your Injuries and Get Medical Attention
Your health is your number one priority. After a ski or snowboarding accident, make sure that you receive medical attention. Even if you believe you are fine, you should still go to a doctor to make sure that there are not any abnormalities. There are plenty of cases where a plaintiff feels fine after an accident, does not receive immediate medical attention, and later suffers from latent injuries. In such cases, the plaintiff often loses out on compensation because the defendant successfully argues that the plaintiff’s injury is not as serious as he or she claims because he or she did not report the injury right away. Do not let this happen to you.
2. Collect Evidence and Witness Information
If you are able, take photographs of the scene of the accident and the injuries you received. Because witness testimony can be valuable in a personal injury lawsuit, if there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get their names and contact information. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies.
3. Hire an Attorney
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may wish to hire an experienced attorney. A minor sprain may not require an attorney, but if your injury has prevented you from working, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Furthermore, whether you should hire an experienced attorney may depend on who was the cause of the accident. If the ski resort was responsible for the accident, you may not want to fight alone, as a ski resort probably has an experienced legal team on its side.
LEGAL BASIS OF SKI AND SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT CLAIMS
In general, when you file a personal injury claim based on a ski or snowboarding accident, you will file a claim arguing that the defendant was negligent. To prove that the defendant was negligent, you must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- The plaintiff was injured
- The defendant’s breach was the cause of the injury
For instance, if you were injured because another skier collided into you, you may argue in your negligence claim that:
- Skiers and snowboarders have a duty to not ski or snowboard recklessly or carelessly
- The defendant violated this duty by skiing or snowboarding recklessly or carelessly
- The plaintiff was injured
- The defendant’s skiing or snowboarding caused the injury
Negligence is not the only possible basis for your legal claim if your injury was caused by a defective product. For instance, if your injury was caused by a defective ski lift, you may be able to file a defective product claim against the company that designed, manufactured, and distributed the lift.
WHOM MAY I SUE?
If your injury was caused by another skier or snowboarder, you may file a claim against that individual.
Because ski resorts have a duty to make sure that their equipment and environment are in good condition, you may have a claim if they failed to meet that duty.
Read More: Fort Collins Premises Liability Lawyers
Ski Equipment Manufacturer
A defective ski lift can be a basis for a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the ski lift. This applies to other equipment as well.
Economic losses include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Damaged property
- Past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- Past and future emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
Be aware that Colorado follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means that you may be entitled to compensation as long as you are not 50% or more at fault for the injury. If you are 49% or less at fault for the injury, your compensation will be reduced by that percentage.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN COLORADO
A statute of limitations is the time frame during which plaintiffs must file a claim. In Colorado, if you suffered an injury from a skiing or snowboarding accident, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
CONTACT A FORT COLLINS SKI AND SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced Fort Collins attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with a ski and snowboarding accident claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.