San Antonio Ski & Snowboard Accident Lawyers
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Imagine you have spent your year’s savings on a family trip to an all-inclusive ski resort, and on the first day, you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence. It’s an unfortunate event, but likely the reason that you have navigated to this article. The frustration of skier injuries and an effectively ruined trip is only compounded by the frustration of trying to file a claim against the party at fault…in steps Zinda Law Group. With our skilled team of San Antonio ski accident lawyers, filing an effective claim just got much easier. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group are experienced in handling various types of accidents, including those that involve skiing and snowboarding.
When a ride down the slopes turns into a ride to the hospital, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with skilled San Antonio ski accident lawyers.
Common causes of ski& snowboard accidents
Most skiers and snowboarders know their limitations and make safety a priority when treading the slopes. Other skiers try to push their limits and may engage in negligent or reckless behavior. In most instances, when an accident occurs, it was likely caused by someone else’s negligence.
Skiing and snowboarding are inherently risky sports. Your mobility is severely limited by what you are wearing and the equipment you are using. When skiing, your hands are occupied by ski sticks, and both feet are strapped to your skis; when snowboarding, both feet are strapped to the board and your lower body is fully constrained.
Many skiers and snowboarders do not fully appreciate the risks that are inherent in the sport and go all out despite the danger that they pose to other skiers. Even if you are taking the utmost precautions, there are those around you who will amplify the dangers of skiing. Not to mention, there are inherent dangers such as weather conditions, bare spots, forest growth, rocks, signs and posts, various terrain, and unaccounted for hazards all contributing to the likelihood of injury.
On any day the skiers and snowboarders on the slopes will have amongst them a wide range of experience and capability. Some skiers and snowboarders grew up on the slopes and have no problem traversing a black diamond mountainside, whereas a family with young children may be taking it slow in order to make sure that everyone is comfortable.
Skiers and snowboarders with more experience are sometimes known for being aggressive around those going down at a slower pace. Their intention may be to do something silly, like spray snow at cautious skiers, but they may end up causing a ski accident and injuring others in the process.
Negligent behavior can also include skiing or snowboarding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When someone consumes intoxicants before treading the slopes, their reflexes and athletic abilities are severely diminished. Coupled with the speed that they pick up going down the hill, they may not even realize the danger that they pose to other patrons of the ski slope.
Poor Slope Management
Neglect in the management sense can be the result of oversight with regard to the removal of natural obstacles, or the omission of legally required signage and warnings. A fallen tree or obstacle that could have been removed is a common cause of skier injuries. In this case, the liability falls on the owner of the premises and the management of the slope.
Ski Lift Failure
Equipment failures are another leading cause of ski slope accidents. While ski lifts are relatively simple mechanical devices, poor maintenance by the ski operator or an engineering/manufacturing defect can result in disastrous injury to ski slope patrons. The injuries are often severe because a ski lift accident may involve falling from a dangerous height.
Experts in ski lift operations are needed to maintain this large piece of equipment, and many ski slopes are trying to run a profitable budget. When an inexperienced ski lift operator is in charge, there is a heightened chance that the proper procedures for loading passengers will not be followed, and that the required maintenance will not be adequate. Permanent impairment is likely the result if the accident occurs from an elevated height.
As mentioned, ski slope lift failure may result in a skier falling from a considerable height, as in the case of Michael Schumacher. Michael Schumacher was a championed Formula 1 race car driver who, after falling from a ski lift, hit his head on a rock and suffered a catastrophic brain injury. The Michael Schumacher ski accident is a reminder of the dangers that are ever-present on the ski slope.
determining liability for my ski or snowboard accident
Negligence is the governing standard for determining liability in ski accident lawsuits. Negligence refers to one’s state of mind, and their culpability in causing the accident. To establish negligence, the injury attorney must show that the defendant was aware or ought to have been aware of an unjustifiable risk and considering that risk acted or failed to act to prevent harm.
Establishing negligence allows the plaintiff to recover the losses that they incurred because of their injury. This assessment comes down to a determination of whether the injury experienced was due to another party’s actions or carelessness, considering the surrounding circumstances. From a purely legal standpoint, there are four elements that must be proven to succeed on a negligent ski accident or snowboard accident claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
In general, there is a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing foreseeable physical harm when acting. In other words, there is a responsibility owed from one person to another to make sure that there are no obvious risks to one another’s safety. This level of care is determined by the standard of reasonableness, or what an ordinary and prudent person would do in similar circumstances.
In the context of a ski accident, there is a responsibility/duty to exercise a level of care that keeps the patrons of the slope safe and informed of the risks associated with skiing. This includes posting adequate warnings about the level of difficulty of each individual slope, and maintaining the slopes by removing obstacles that are difficult to traverse.
Breach of Duty
After establishing that a duty was owed, the next step is to show that a breach of that duty occurred. A breach occurs when the party who owed a duty to you fails to meet the specific level of care that the duty necessitated. In other words, their conduct was unreasonable in light of foreseeable risks of harm.
In instances involving ski accidents, a breach may occur in just as many ways as the relevant duties that were owed. In general, however, the party owing the duty will either through their actions or omissions fail to maintain a reasonable level of care. Similar to the duty of care analysis, the determination of whether a breach occurred is made through the lens of the objectively reasonable person.
During the causation part of the analysis, your personal injury lawyer will seek to establish that there is a tie between the breach and the injury that occurred. Simply put, the goal here is to establish that the breach that occurred resulted in the injury. Although this analysis seems straightforward, it is often the most contested part of the litigation.
Essentially, the plaintiff will argue that, but for the defendant’s breach, the injury would not have occurred. Given the set of facts, your injury attorney does not need to eliminate every other possible cause but it is good to call into doubt other possible causes to show the defendant’s breach was more likely than not the cause-in-fact. On the contrary, the defense will try to establish that little to no correlation between the breach and the injury occurred.
The standard form of tort redress is the payment of money damages by the defendant to the plaintiff. There are two types of tort damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Successful plaintiffs are automatically entitled to compensatory damages.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to establish, and a jury is never required to reward them. Accordingly, in most cases, plaintiffs are awarded only compensatory damages.
For damages to be awarded, there must be some sort of harm that occurred. Typically, if a lawsuit is initiated, it means that there was some type of harm for which compensation is sought.
The type of harm accounted for at the damages stage includes pain and suffering, emotional harm, damage to property, and so on. In the context of a ski accident, this typically means compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and funds to replace lost or broken equipment.
What to do after a skiing accident
Following a ski accident, it’s normal to feel afraid, confused, and overwhelmed. Very few skiers and snowboarders are prepared for a situation where their help is being requested. Not only that, it’s never a good idea to rely on a person with no medical training to assist unless the situation is absolutely dire.
For these reasons, the actions you take after a ski accident are largely dependent on the injury that you suffered. For example, if you hit your head and have suffered a concussion, then it may be best that you remain still and call out for help. Once someone has come to assist you, then get them to request a medical professional to assist you.
The most important things you can do are to remain calm and call ski patrol. After your medical condition is stable, you can begin to worry about the viability of a lawsuit.
This is where the attorneys from Zinda Law Group will be your greatest aid. We can work to get the names and contact information of everyone involved, obtain statements from witnesses, and accurately document the conditions involved in the accident.
Seek Medical Care
Even if you don’t feel like you have been injured, symptoms might begin to appear and become worse over time. Your adrenaline might be pumping because of the accident, and it may keep you from recognizing the full extent of your injuries.
Seeking medical help is crucial at this stage of the injury because a professional can properly document your injuries and prescribe any crucial medical treatment. Furthermore, the medical record they produce can be used later if you proceed with filing an injury claim.
Report the Accident
After you’ve received the necessary medical treatment, it is vital that the accident be reported to the local ski patrol unit. Typically, a mountain resort will have the ski patrol number listed on an information board or printed on the resort map. If your injuries are serious, medical professionals may suggest you be transported to a nearby hospital, but depending on the severity of your injuries, try to report the accident before leaving the scene.
Document the Accident
As mentioned, this is the part of the aftermath where having a San Antonio attorney will best serve you. Documentation of the accident will help corroborate the event as it occurred, giving you the best chance for a financial recovery. During this stage, an attorney can work on your behalf to document:
- The resulting injuries
- The circumstances leading to your injury
- Weather conditions
- Witness statements
- Contact information for parties involved
Following these steps will not only ensure your safety, but it can also ensure the preservation of evidence, which is key to succeeding on a ski or snowboard accident claim.
assumption of risk defense
Assumption of the Risk is a commonly used defense tactic which bars plaintiffs from recovery. This defense relies on whether a liability waiver was filed, whereby the patron relinquished their rights to sue defendants for tortious conduct.
It is standard for a ski resort to make patrons sign this type of waiver before granting access to their facilities. Fortunately, an exception exists, whereas as a matter of public policy, an agreement should be held unenforceable.
In most cases, enforceability of an agreement such as a liability waiver hinges on the language of the agreement. Specifically, it calls into question whether the language was sufficiently clear to reflect the party’s intent. Fortunately, the assumption of risk defense does not entirely preclude the defendant from bearing some of the responsibility for your injuries, but it might show that you were aware of the risks and thereby limit your recovery.
GET HELP FROM OUR San Antonio Ski ACCIDENT LAWYERS
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys focuses on protecting your rights and preparing your case after a ski or snowboard accident. A lawyer can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.
Ski accident injuries can be life-threatening and put you out of commission for a long period of time. A lawyer with Zinda Law Group can work to seek awards for your losses and hold negligent parties accountable.
After a ski accident you may ask yourself, “Where can I find an injury lawyer near me?” Look no further, as a lawyer from our firm would be honored to serve you during this challenging time. If you or a loved one has suffered a skier injury or been involved in a snowboard accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with our San Antonio ski and snowboard accident lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.