Roswell Ski & Snowboard Accident Lawyers
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Skiing and snowboarding are common pastimes, especially in Roswell, where there are numerous well-regarded ski resorts such as Ski Apache. Though popular, these activities are dangerous, with a high potential for accidental injuries from a snowboard accident or ski accident. These injuries often leave people wondering how they will financially recover. At Zinda Law Group, we believe that no skiing or snowboarding accident victim should face this challenge alone. Our Roswell ski and snowboard accident lawyers have the experience and understanding of the law to help you maximize your compensation and put your life back on track.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a ski or snowboard accident in the Roswell area, contact Zinda Law Group. We have Roswell Ski Accident Lawyers who can help you seek maximum compensation for your injury. Call (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation today.
How Do Accidents Happen?
There are many ways that skier injuries and snowboarder injuries happen. Sometimes the injured party is at fault, such as by going too fast and colliding with an object (such as a tree). On other occasions, the injury is the result of another skier or snowboarder colliding with the injured party, poorly maintained slopes, malfunctioning equipment, or inadequate guidance from resort instructors.
One common area for skier injuries to occur is on a ski lift. A ski lift accident often occurs when a party has difficulty getting off or onto the ski lift. Accidents also happen when the ski lift itself is not properly maintained by the resort, or when a party falls off the ski lift from a great height.
While many accidents are not the fault of the injured party, there are ways to lower your risk of an accident. To do so, experts recommend that you:
- maintain physical condition
- ensure that your gear is properly fitted and secure
- remain aware of the people and objects in your surroundings
- be ready to safely stop and yield to skiers/snowboarders going by you
- not wander of designated paths
- be ready to stop the activity and head home if you are feeling fatigued (accidental injuries have a greater risk of occurring when there is exhaustion)
What Type Of Injuries Are Common at ski resorts?
Despite their similarities, skiing and snowboarding usually result in different injury patterns. Because snowboarders do not use poles to maintain balance, injuries to snowboarders often occur when the injured party falls forward or backwards with outstretched arms. That is why snowboarders have a higher likelihood of suffering upper-extremity injuries during an accident.
Conversely, because skiing requires a lot of twisting and turning, particularly with knees, skiers are more prone to lower-extremity injuries during an accident. Some of these can lead to permanent injury. Indeed, the NSAA reported that there were 41 “catastrophic” injuries during the 2020-21 season.
A catastrophic injury includes:
- significant neurological trauma
- major head injuries
- spinal cord injuries leading to some form of paralysis
- the loss of a limb
The NSAA only accounts for ski and snowboarding injuries that take place during normal business hours. Other examples of common injuries include:
- broken bones
- dislocated elbows and shoulders
A well-known ski accident occurred to famous Formula 1 Driver Michael Schumacher. While skiing outside of a designated ski area, Michael Schumacher fell and landed on a rock causing a serious head injury. Despite having a helmet on, the injuries caused a traumatic brain injury, permanent paralysis, and loss of speech.
What To Do After An Accident?
If you were injured in a ski accident or snowboarding accident in Roswell, New Mexico, please take the following actions:
1. Evaluate Your Health
In the aftermath of an injury, you must examine your injuries to determine whether immediate medical care is necessary. Your health and safety are of utmost importance.
The location where you are skiing or snowboarding will have a patrol that can provide you with medical services. Even if your injuries are not dire, you should still seek or accept medical care. That is especially true for skiing and snowboarding injuries as it may take several days before the severity of your condition becomes apparent.
2. Keep Your Equipment On
You should not remove any ski or snowboard equipment. That is because the equipment could then slide down the mountain becoming lost (making a potential defective product claim near impossible to prove) or tripping up a fellow skier or snowboarder, potentially causing them injury.
3. Report the Accident
Whether your injury is from colliding with an unseen object or another skier/snowboarder, or the result of the operator’s failings, contact ski patrol and the police. If the injury resulted from another skier/snowboarder, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. If there are any other parties around who witnessed the incident, ask for their contact information.
4. Document the Accident
Assuming you are not putting yourself at great risk by doing so, take photos of the scene of the accident. If you are unable to, have another party (either a friend, family member, or nearby bystander) do so.
Focus on taking photos that demonstrate poorly maintained slopes, equipment malfunction, the immediate area uphill as well as downhill of the accident, and any injuries suffered as a result of the incident. Documenting the accident will assist the ski patrol and police with their investigation and can be an asset to you for litigation purposes.
5. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
To receive maximum compensation for your injuries, you do not want to rely on the responsible party’s insurer to have your best interests in mind. Instead, you will want to hire an attorney who will fight for you every step of the way. Experienced Roswell ski accident lawyers can assist you in your legal battle and help you navigate through relevant laws.
If you are wondering, “Is there an injury lawyer near me?” Rest assured, there is! Visit zdfirm.com and you’ll be sure to find one of our offices located near you.
6. Talk to the Insurance Company
After retaining a lawyer, you will want to then talk to the insurer of the party responsible for your injuries. The, on your behalf, will negotiate with the insurer so that you increase your likelihood of receiving the best settlement outcome. If the insurer is unwilling to meet your demands, your attorney may then recommend that you pursue the case at trial.
With New Mexico a popular state to ski and snowboard in, the state legislature has crafted laws designed to make it clear to all involved parties what their legal rights and obligations are. The New Mexico Ski Safety Act governs most snowsport accidents in the state. The Act provides that skiers and snowboarders are responsible for any “inherent dangers” and that no resort will be responsible for injuries that arise from those inherent dangers.
Some of the inherent dangers described in the Act include injuries from:
- bare spots
- variation in terrain
- snow-making equipment that is plainly visible
- skiers/snowboarders pushing themselves beyond their known limits
Despite the restrictions, ski operators may still face a lawsuit if they have not properly marked slope difficulty or indicated that certain areas are off limits to customers. They may be liable also if they were not ensuring that all ski lifts accessible to the public on their property were in safe, working condition.
New Mexico laws are incredibly strict regarding when you can file a lawsuit for a ski or snowboard injury and how much you are allowed to recover. That is why hiring an experienced accident injury attorney is crucial. By doing so you can strategize on whether you have a valid claim and what your best approach is to obtaining maximum compensation.
When Should I File A Claim?
After a ski or snowboarding accident occurs, a victim is likely confused and unsure of how to proceed with a potential lawsuit.
When the Responsible Party Is the Resort
While ski and snowboarding resorts have a high level of protection, including a shield from negligence if the injured party previously signed a waiver, resorts may still face responsibility when they are at fault. Operators must still ensure that the ski lifts are functioning properly, the equipment is maintained, and there are no dangerous objects on the skiing/snowboarding path, such as a tree shrouded by snow on the main path.
When the Responsible Party Is Another Skier/Snowboarder
When a skier/snowboarder is injured by the negligence of another skier/snowboarder, you will likely receive compensation from the responsible party’s insurer. If the party does not have insurance, you may be able to receive compensation from the insurance of a family member of the party.
Had A Duty Of Care
Skiers and snowboarders owe each other a duty to be proactive and avoid putting themselves in positions where they could harm one another. While on the slopes, you must be aware:
- that all skiers/snowboarders in front of you have the right of way on a trail,
- that you must yield to those trying to merge onto a trail, and
- that you must not obstruct a trail when stopped.
Breached their Duty of Care
A fellow skier or snowboarder breaches their duty of care to you by ignoring guidelines for expected behavior, which may include skiing under intoxication or ignoring signs indicating that you may only go down the slopes at a certain speed. Proving a breach of the duty of care becomes easier when there are witnesses to the accident that can attest to how reckless the at-fault party was on the slope.
There Is Causation
At this juncture, you would need to show that the accident happened because of the other party’s actions. If the accident would have taken place regardless of what the other party did, you cannot show causation.
Lastly, you will need to provide evidence that you suffered compensable injuries as a result of your accident. Compensable injuries include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Not every collision with another skier or snowboarder will result in a successful claim. If the accident was not the fault of the party who collided with you then you will likely have to consider bringing a claim against the operator or a manufacturer instead.
When the Responsible Party Is the Manufacturer
Although not as common, sometimes the responsible party is the manufacturer of the faulty equipment that you used when the injury occurred. If your ski or snowboard equipment was defective, the manufacturer of the used product may be liable for your injuries.
What If There Is A Waiver?
New Mexico law gives ski operators great protection from liability when you sign a waiver prior to skiing or snowboarding at the resort. But just because you sign the waiver does not mean you are out of options if you suffer an injury.
For example, the waiver may be legally defective and not enforceable in a court of law. In addition, even if the waiver is legally enforceable, the resort may face liability if the accident was the result of reckless or intentional behavior by anyone involved with the resort.
How Much Money Can I Recover?
Unlike other states, New Mexico does not have a cap on economic damages or noneconomic damages outside of medical malpractice lawsuits. This means that there is no limit on what an injured party in Roswell can receive in monetary compensation for their injuries.
Economic damages refers to monetary compensation such as medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and any cost of repairs, if applicable.
Non-economic damages refers to non-monetary compensation such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
New Mexico allows a party to receive punitive damages when the offending party committed the offense with malice or reckless disregard for human life. Punitive damages punish the offending party—which is in contrast to economic/noneconomic damages that are meant to make the victim “whole again”—and are not bound by damage caps. Talk to your injury attorney to see if you have a viable path towards punitive damages.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
Under NM state law statute of limitations, a victim of a ski or snowboard accident has 3 years from the day of the injury to file a lawsuit seeking damages against the resort operator and/or any of the operator’s employees. Once the 3-year period expires, you are no longer able to file a claim against the responsible party or parties. That is why you should consult an injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident in order to allow him or her enough time to evaluate your claim and likelihood of receiving maximum compensation.
Our Roswell Ski and Snowboard Accident Lawyers Are Here To Help
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys believe that no victim of a ski or snowboarding accident should be afraid of not being able to afford excellent legal representation. Our accident attorneys have the knowledge and capabilities to provide you with the legal services that you need to receive maximum compensation for your injury.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a ski or snowboarding accident in or near Roswell, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with one of our Roswell ski accident lawyers. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.