What Is a Ski and Snowboard Accident Case?
One of the most beautiful cities in the state of Colorado is Colorado Springs. Whether Colorado Springs is your home or a vacation destination, a large draw of the city is its frequent snow. The snow makes Colorado Springs perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
In fact, each winter, thousands head to Colorado Springs’ numerous resorts to enjoy skiing or snowboarding. However, these trips to the slopes can quickly go awry when another skier, snowboarder, or even the resort itself causes an accident. That’s why it’s important to call a Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyer if you were involved in an accident.
If you were the victim of a ski or snowboard injury due to another person or entity’s negligence, Zinda Law Group’s Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyers have the experience and understanding needed to properly help. We will zealously advocate for your legal rights and fight to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (888) 505-5622 for a 100% free consultation with a Zinda Law Group Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyer.
Common Causes and Examples
Skiing and snowboarding are extreme sports and carry an innate level of risk when on the slopes. However, not all ski and snowboard related injuries are foreseeable. The following are several of the more common ski and snowboard accident injuries caused by the negligence of another party.
Other Skiers and Snowboarders
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Colorado state law requires that anyone involved in the sport of skiing or snowboarding must obey certain rules. This means that you are expected to look out for others and act in a safe, reasonable manner while on the slopes. If a skier or snowboarder disobeys these rules and causes an accident, whether intentional or not, they may be liable for any injuries you suffer as a result.
On some occasions, an accident happens because there is an issue with the equipment. Typically, an accident from unsafe equipment stems from a poorly maintained or improperly operated chairlift.
Harmful Resort Objects and Inadequate Training
Sometimes, accidents occur due to poorly maintained grounds and rails at a ski resort, such as a skier or snowboarder who is suddenly confronted with a fence or debris in an unexpected area. In some cases, an accident may be due to poor training by the resort instructor.
Regardless of what the cause of your accident was, you can rest assured that your Zinda Law Group Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyers will use their vast knowledge and experience to find the best way to obtain the compensation that you are owed for your injuries.
What to Do After a Ski and Snowboard Accident?
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In the immediate aftermath of a ski or snowboard accident, you may feel confused, shocked, and unsure of what steps to take. Importantly, your initial steps following your accident can have a great impact on how your claim may go. Therefore, in order to ensure your best chance at receiving maximum compensation, you will want to follow these steps.
1. Seek Medical Attention for Your Injuries
Immediately after a ski or snowboarding accident, you should evaluate yourself to determine whether immediate medical attention is necessary for your injuries. If you are critically injured, obtain emergency medical care as soon as possible. After all, your health and safety are what matters most.
Additionally, even if your injuries are not dire, you should still receive an evaluation by a trained medical professional. That is especially true for skiing and snowboarding injuries as it may take several days before the severity of your condition becomes apparent.
2. Call the Ski Patrol and the Local Police
Whether your injury is from colliding with an unseen object, another person on the slopes, or from a ski operator’s failure to properly maintain the equipment, you should contact ski patrol and the local police. Importantly, after the police arrive and investigate the scene, you should request a copy of the police officer’s accident report. Often, accident reports are great assets to provide your ski and snowboard accident attorney with as they include the names of the parties involved, the location, eye-witness accounts, initial observations, and more.
3. Document the Evidence
Next, you should gather additional evidence to strengthen your claim. If you believe that you are in a safe position to do so, make sure to document what you observe in the aftermath of your accident. You should collect information regarding:
● The name and contact information of the other skier or snowboarder, if applicable
● The skier or snowboarder’s personal insurance information
● The skier or snowboarder’s behavior
● Your injuries
● The weather conditions
● The names and contact information of any witnesses on the scene
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Additionally, take photos that showcase whether the slopes were poorly maintained, if any of the equipment used was defective, and any injuries suffered as a result of the accident. Documenting the accident will assist the ski patrol and police with their investigation and can be an asset to you in the legal process.
Furthermore, you should write down as much as you remember about the accident including how it occurred, what you are feeling, what you observed, and any other information that you think may be relevant. It is important to document everything that you can following an accident as your memory could fade as time goes on. By writing things down in the aftermath of the accident, you can later use what you have written to bolster your claim and obtain better compensation for your injuries.
4. Call a Colorado Springs Ski and Snowboard Accident Lawyer
Importantly, to receive maximum compensation for your injuries, you will not want to rely on the other party or their insurer to have your best interests in mind. They will likely be combative, minimize their responsibility for the accident, and may even try to pin the blame on you. Therefore, you should hire an attorney who will represent your best interests and fight for you every step of the way. At Zinda Law Group, our experienced Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyers can assist in your legal battle while navigating the relevant laws and regulations applicable to your claim.
How Does a Ski and Snowboard Case Work?
Once you hire a Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident attorney, the next step is to file a lawsuit against the party or parties believed responsible for your accident. As the injury party filing the lawsuit, you are referred to as the plaintiff, while the party you file your lawsuit against is referred to as the defendant.
After filing a lawsuit against the defendant, the next step in the legal process is for your lawyer to investigate your accident. Usually, your lawyer will contact parties who were witnesses to the scene, go over the accident report, and gather documents relating to your medical expenses and any missed work.
From there, your Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyer will start the negotiation process with the responsible party’s insurance company. Your attorney’s goal is to obtain the maximum compensation which you are entitled to as a result of the accident. Remember, the more information you are able to provide your lawyer with, the more prepared your lawyer will be in negotiating with insurance companies who will otherwise try to downplay and minimize what you are entitled to for compensation.
Finally, if your lawyer believes that negotiations are not progressing, they will prepare to take your case to trial and present your case in front of a judge. Your attorney will attempt to showcase that the other side is responsible for the accident and should pay a specified amount to you as compensation for your suffering.
What Are the Elements?
Often, proving liability for a ski or snowboarding accident relies on showcasing that the other party was negligent. In the legal world, negligence means that a party failed to meet the level of care that would be reasonably expected under the circumstances. Negligence is made up of four elements:
1. Duty of care
2. Breach of duty
Duty of Care
First, you must prove that the responsible party owed you a duty under the circumstances. For example, skiers and snowboarders owe a duty to act responsible on the resort by not going excessively fast, giving downhill traffic the right of way, and not stopping in a spot on the path that is not visible to other skiers and snowboarders. Additionally, ski resorts owe a duty to the skiers and snowboarders to properly warn of any dangers on the trails.
Breach of Duty
You must prove that the responsible party breached the duty of care by not acting as a reasonable person under the circumstances. For example, a skier traveling down a trail excessively fast without properly slowing down breaches their duty of care if they collide with another skier causing an accident.
You must prove that the accident would not have happened but for the responsible party breaching their duty of care. Simply put, this means that there must be a direct connection between your accident and the responsible party’s actions. For example, if a ski lift breaks due to improper maintenance, a court will likely find that the ski resort’s failure to properly take care of the equipment was a direct cause of your accident.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of the responsible party’s actions. Damages can be in the form of physical harm, financial loss, and mental anguish. For example, if your ski or snowboard accident directly led to you needing medical treatment for any associated injuries, you have suffered damages and can bring a claim against the responsible party.
Who Can Be Sued?
Typically, the most complicated part of a ski or snowboard accident claim is determining who to bring a claim against. A Zinda Law Group Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyer will ease your stress by examining the facts of your case and decide which party bears responsibility for your accident. Usually, the responsible party is another skier or snowboarder on the slopes, the manufacturer of the defective equipment, or even the ski resort itself.
Another Skier or Snowboarder
When the party responsible for your injuries is another skier or snowboarder, your lawyer will likely argue that the accident was due to negligence. Additionally, if you are successful in your claim against the skier or snowboarder, you will likely receive compensation from the skier or snowboarder’s insurance company. If the skier or snowboarder does not carry insurance, you may still be able to recover fair compensation for your injuries through an insurance policy of a family member of the responsible skier or snowboarder.
On some occasions, the responsible party is actually the manufacturer of the faulty equipment that caused your injury. For example, the snowboard you use on the slopes could snap in half due to being improperly made, causing a serious injury. Therefore, if your ski or snowboard equipment was defective, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the equipment.
The Ski Resort
Although ski and snowboard resorts have a high level of liability protection from lawsuits, they do not have absolute immunity. This means that if your attorney can prove that the ski resort did not fulfill its duty to keep the resort safe for customers, you may be able to pursue a claim against the resort. Examples of a ski resort not meeting its responsibilities include failing to keep the ski lifts properly functioning, not clearing the slopes of excess trees and other debris, and not adequately warning customers of dangerous conditions on the slopes.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
After a ski or snowboard accident, if the at-fault party is found liable for your injuries, a court may determine that the party must compensate you for all of your losses. These losses are known as damages. For civil cases, damages are typically awarded in the form of monetary compensation, also known as compensatory damages. In Colorado, this is usually broken down into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the tangible losses and expenses that you suffered as a result of your accident. This may include:
● Medical bills
● Loss of earnings
● Loss of use of property
● Lost wages
● Physical therapy
Most importantly, in order to ensure that you receive accurate compensation for your economic damages, keep any and all documents that detail your medical expenses, property damages, and loss of work.
Non-economic damages are compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain & suffering, emotional distress, and trauma. Compared to economic damages, non-economic damages are more difficult to put a dollar amount behind because they are not tangible or easily identifiable. For example, while you can document exactly how much it cost you to go to the hospital, pay for necessary care, and go to physical therapy, it is difficult to say exactly how much money you deserve for the emotional trauma that you suffered as a result of the accident.
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the at-fault party was not merely negligent but rather was deliberate and intentional through “willful and wanton conduct” in causing your injuries. Unlike economic or non-economic damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party rather than compensate the victim.
Importantly, while the rules on punitive damages vary by state, Colorado law is clear that any amount of punitive damages you are able receive cannot exceed what you obtained in compensatory damages. Therefore, if you received a total of $25,000 in economic and non-economic damages, you could only receive up to $25,000 in punitive damages.
At Zinda Law Group, our team of Colorado ski and snowboard accident lawyers are behind you every step of the way. You can focus on your health and on your recovery while we put our energy into determining what your claim is worth and how we will work to acquire that amount for you.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
In Colorado Springs, you have two years from the date of your ski or snowboard accident to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file your claim within that two-year window, you will not be able to bring the claim. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you obtain a Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyer so that you can file a claim as soon as possible and obtain the proper compensation that you deserve.
Why Hire Zinda Law Group?
At Zinda Law Group, our Colorado Springs ski and snowboard accident lawyers understand the enjoyment that comes from being outdoors on the slopes. That is why we will fight to keep the slopes safe and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. If you were injured due to another person’s inattention to the rules, faulty equipment, or poor maintenance at a ski resort, we can help. We have years of expertise in ski and snowboard injury cases and can handle the legal process while you focus on your health and recovery.
If you were the victim of a skiing or snowboarding accident in Colorado Springs, contact Zinda Law Group today at (888) 505-5622 for a 100% free consultation. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee