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Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports, but they can come with risks and dangers that cause serious injuries. Additionally, ski accidents are sometimes the result of someone else’s actions, but may also be due to negligence of a resort.
Who is Liable in a Ski Accident?
The person responsible for your injuries will be the one liable in the event of a ski accident. Injuries on the slope occur due to a variety of reasons. If a person was injured due to their own fault, then no one is liable. If the injuries were caused by someone else, then the injured person can recover from them in the form of damages.
A New Mexico ski accident attorney may be able to help you establish liability, and there may be one or more people liable to you for your injuries. These parties may include ski teachers who fail to properly instruct skiers or lead students into dangerous situations. Other potentially liable parties include the other skiers on the slopes, property owners of the slopes, and ski resort owners.
What to Do After a Ski Accident
To help preserve your claim and to minimize injury, consider these steps if you or a loved one is involved in a ski accident.
Collect Contact Information
If your ski accident was a collision with another person, then you should try to collect their contact information. Collect their name, phone number, and anything else that may be relevant later. Be polite and do not admit fault.
If there were witnesses, ask if you can collect their information as well and if they would be willing to provide a statement. If they do not feel comfortable talking to you, consider asking them if they would be willing to speak with the ski patrol office instead.
Report the Accident
Report the accident to the ski patrol office or a park ranger. Make sure to file a report even if there were no serious injuries. It is important to have the accident documented should you wish to file a claim later or if your injures become worse.
Take Pictures of the Scene
Take pictures of the surrounding area where the ski accident took place. There may be snow conditions or obstructions that contributed to the collision. These conditions may not be the same every day due to weather variations.
Limit Communication with Others
Avoid speaking about your injuries with others. Do not post any photos or statements on social media. Speaking with others without speaking with an attorney first might work against you later. Do not speak with insurance claims adjusters without first speaking to your attorney.
Contact a Ski Accident Lawyer
A New Mexico ski accident lawyer may be able to help you with your claim. Having an experienced lawyer may benefit you by making sure your case is handled appropriately.
Be Cautious of Liability Waivers
Liability waivers may be required before skiing at a resort. Be sure to read the waiver carefully. Some of these waivers may include not holding the ski resort liable in the event of an accident.
If you are presented with a waiver after a ski accident, be especially cautious about signing it. Consider speaking with an attorney first before signing a waiver immediately following an injury. Signing a release waiver immediately following a ski accident may be agreeing to a significantly less settlement amount than the damages you could potentially receive.
Do You Have a Claim for a Ski Accident?
To know if you might have a claim for a ski accident, there must have been someone responsible for our injuries. There must have been fault by another party for liability to attach and for you to be able to recover damages.
One way to recover damages in a ski accident is to prove negligence. This means that the other person failed to act with reasonable care and because of that, you were injured. One example of negligence would be failing to follow the ski resort rules when it comes to rider safety. Failing to implement common sense or reasonable care may also demonstrate negligence.
The Skier Responsibility Code by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) also provides a set of guidelines, which, if violated, could show negligence. Some of these guidelines include:
- Stopping to avoid other people and objects
- The skiers in front have the right of way
- Yield to others when merging
- Observing signage and warnings
It is not an excuse if the other person does not know of the resort rules or the Skier Responsibility Code. Everyone has a responsibility to act reasonably and with care on the slopes.
Recklessness means acting more unreasonably than standard negligence. A reckless action occurs when a person knows or should know that the action is unsafe, but the person chooses to act in this manner anyway. For example, if an experienced skier chose to ride very fast down a slope full of beginners and the slope conditions were icy and unsafe, and that skier hits another person, that behavior is likely to be found reckless.
Pure Comparative Negligence
In New Mexico, a victim may be held partially at fault for the accident that injured them. If you were also behaving negligently and contributed to the accident, your ability to recover compensation will be reduced accordingly.
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What Damages MAY You Recover?
There may be injuries or property damage that occur from a ski accident. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to recover economic and/or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensation you receive as a result of monetary losses. This may include hospital bills, lost wages, property damage to your equipment, and any out-of-pocket costs resulting from the accident.
Non-economic damages are subjective and will vary on a case-by-case basis. These include pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and other emotional distress in dealing with the accident.
Common Injuries and Causes
Typical injures that may occur as a result of a ski accident include sprains or strains, broken bones, wrist or hand injuries from breaking a fall, head and spinal injuries, or bruising or internal bleeding.
The common causes of ski accidents include:
- Collisions between skiers
- Collision with objects such as trees or snow equipment
- Accidents on the ski lift from not properly mounting, dismounting, or securing yourself on the lift when it is in motion
- Improperly maintained slopes
- Improperly marked trails
- Defective equipment
Prevent skiing injuries in the future by ensuring you have the proper training and knowledge before skiing. Make sure to understand how to mount and dismount the ski lift and know the rules on the slopes. Review the trail map before choosing a slope and know what the slope difficulty rating is based on the symbol.
Utilizing common sense on the slopes can also prevent injuries. Do not attempt higher difficulty slopes without the proper skill to ski it. Pay attention to warning signs and changing snow conditions, which could change quickly. Avoid skiing too fast when around other skiers, especially if they are below your skill level.
Get Help from New Mexico Ski Accident Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced New Mexico lawyers have handled many victims involved in collisions. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation after a ski accident.
Our firm also believes that a ski accident injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Call us today at (800) 863-5312.
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