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Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are thrilling and a great form of exercise. However, these activities are also inherently dangerous and have the potential to result in serious injury. The risk of injury applies not only to paying customers and participants, but also to snow sport resort workers. In fact, this class of employees has one of the highest occupational injury rates of all workforce sectors. Employees injured while on the job may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a ski employee that responds to injuries, or to learn more about filing a claim following a workplace injury, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
ABOUT WORKPLACE INJURIES AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
The term “workplace injury” refers to any work-related injury or illness. A workplace injury can occur quickly and abruptly, such as when a grocery store employee sprains his back while carrying heavy inventory. But a workplace injury may also develop slowly over a prolonged period. For example, a nuclear plant employee may be exposed to harmful chemicals that can lead to disease. Given the nature of snowsports, many of the injuries that occur to resort employees tend to be sudden or abrupt. For example, a ski patrolman may sprain an ankle or tear a ligament while instructing a student or attempting to rescue a guest.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that may provide medical and wage benefits to an individual who has missed time from work due to a workplace injury. The basic concept behind workers’ compensation is that an employee is accepting benefits in exchange for giving up the right to sue his or her employer for their workplace injury. In this context, a ski resort employee who accepts workers’ compensation benefits may forfeit his or her right to sue the resort where they work if a workplace injury were to occur. Thus, the objective of workers' compensation is to offer financial protection to employees and to protect employers from any liability following a workplace injury.
When a workplace injury occurs, the injured employee, such as a ski instructor, is required to notify the employer as soon as possible. The injured employee is then referred to a physician who may be affiliated with or selected by h the company. Depending on the physician’s examination of the injured employee, workers’ compensation benefits can be granted or denied.
An experienced lawyer may help you determine whether workers’ compensation applies, or whether you may be able to use your employer or another third party.
Read More: Colorado Workers’ Compensation
COMMON SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACCIDENT INJURIES
Snowsports are fast-paced and require extreme coordination and maneuverability. Even a slight lapse in concentration can lead to an accident. Ski and snowboard accidents have the potential to result in a broad range of injuries, the severity of which depends on numerous factors such as the activity involved. Several common ski and snowboard accident injuries include:
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Broken arms
- Broken legs
- Fractured or sprained wrists
- Fractured or sprained ankles
- Fractured or sprained ankles
- Torn ligaments (e.g., torn ACL)
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SNOW SPORT WORKPLACE INJURY
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important step to take after being injured in an accident is to seek professional medical attention as promptly as possible. Ski resort accidents have the potential to be gruesome. For instance, a broken bone or torn ligament can occur. These injuries obviously require immediate medical attention. However, even seemingly minor injuries have the potential to lead to long-term debilitation. For example, a herniated disk can severely limit a person’s range of motion days or even weeks after the accident occurs. Thus, you should consider having a trained medical professional examine you even when the injury does not appear to be severe.
2. File a Report and Document the Accident
The next step you should take after being involved in a workplace accident is to file a formal accident report with your employer. Filing a report will create an official record of the accident and may even prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
It is also imperative that you document the accident by creating and maintaining a thorough record of all documents relating to the accident and medical obtained sought. For instance, you should keep a running file of important documents such as:
- Witness statements
- A copy of the accident report
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Medical bills and records
3. Contact a Ski Resort Employee Attorney
Finally, you should reach out to a workplace accident attorney for a consultation. After an initial consultation in person or over the phone, the attorney may be able to provide valuable legal advice regarding any rights and remedies you may have. If hired, the attorney may conduct further investigation into the accident. For instance, the attorney may interview witnesses and review your medical records. If necessary, the attorney may file a claim on your behalf.
WHO CAN I SUE?
The Ski Resort
Typically, legal action against your employer may not be pursued if you agreed to accept the benefits of workers’ compensation. However, if your employer does not provide workers’ compensation, you may be able to file a claim. Additionally, you may also be able to sue your employer if your injuries were the result of your employer’s intentional acts or omissions. For example, if your employer intentionally failed to provide you with necessary safety equipment, you may be able to file a claim against your employer.
Read More: Can You Sue a Ski Resort?
Manufacturer of Defective Product
If your injuries were caused by a defective product, you may be able to file a claim against the party that manufactured or sold the product. For instance, if you were injured in a snowboarding accident because the securing mechanism on the snowboard was defective, you may have a claim against the company that manufactured the snowboard.
If an injury was caused by the intentional or reckless conduct of someone other than your employer, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that individual. For instance, if you were injured due to the negligence of a fellow skier, you may be able to file a claim against that person.
Consult an Attorney
Determining whether legal action can be pursued and who can be sued is a tricky question that often requires a careful analysis of several important factors. In some cases, more than one party may be at-fault for a workplace injury. Consider consulting with a workplace injury attorney to grasp a better understanding of your rights following a workplace accident.
WORKPLACE INJURY COMPENSATION
The types of compensation that may be available to a workplace accident victim fall into two broad, separate categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to losses that can be quantified. The primary economic damages involved in a workplace accident claim may include:
- Medical and pharmacy bills
- Lost income and wages
- Future lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
In contrast, non-economic damages are intangible losses that cannot be easily quantified. Instead, non-economic damages are typically evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages in a workplace accident may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
OUR WORKPLACE INJURY ATTORNEYS ARE READY TO HELP INJURED SKI EMPLOYEES
Zinda Law Group’s Denver attorneys offer years of experience handling workplace injuries. Let us protect your rights while you worry about recovering from your injuries.
In addition to years of experience handling workplace injury, our attorneys take pride in providing top-notch customer service to all of our clients, making sure to give every aspect of your claim the attention to detail it deserves.
Our attorneys are also seasoned negotiators who know how to effectively communicate with multi-million-dollar insurance companies. Typically, these companies are reluctant to pay out the value of your claim. However, with a Zinda Law Group attorney in your corner, you can expect zealous representation and take comfort in knowing that your legal rights will be fully protected. Our team of attorneys may work tirelessly to ensure that these companies do not take advantage of you while you are at your most vulnerable.
Our firm also believes that an 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 pay nothing unless we win your case.