Texas Ski & Snowboard Accident Lawyers
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Although Texans may not be too familiar with skiing and snowboarding within the Lone Star State, plenty of residents have enjoyed the slopes while on vacation. States such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona are popular destinations for people looking to ski or snowboard. Though these activities are exhilarating and fun, they are also a source of many injuries. It is thus important to understand your rights following a skiing or snowboarding accident. This article will discuss those rights, including how a ski resort may be liable for your injuries and what forms of compensation may be available following an accident.
To learn more about your rights following a skiing or snowboarding accident, or to learn more about filing a claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our personal injury attorneys.
COMMON SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACCIDENTS
Ski and snowboard accidents may result in minor injuries such as a sprained wrist. In some cases, these accidents can lead to severe injuries which may require months of rehabilitation. Listed below are examples of common causes of ski and snowboard accidents, as well as the injuries that may result from such accidents.
In some cases, a ski or snowboard accident may be caused by defective equipment. For instance, a broken ski may not function properly, making the activity dangerous for you and those around you. A defective helmet may also do a bad job of protecting your head if you were to fall. In these cases, the party that provided or manufactured the equipment may face liability for your injuries.
To learn more about cases involving defective products, view our article on Product Liability Injuries.
Snowsport accidents and injuries can frequently be attributed to inexperience. An ambitious but unprepared skier may pose a risk for himself and for others by trying to do perform an unfamiliar task. When this happens, injuries may occur. Common injuries may include sprained muscles, fractured bones, or head and neck injuries.
Lifts and Machinery
A ski resort is expected to properly maintain its ski lifts and other related machines. Resorts are also expected to have trained staff members to operate these types of machines. If a lift is improperly maintained or being operated by an inexperienced and untrained staff member, the risk of injury increases dramatically. If you have been injured due to a broken lift or due to the negligence of a lift operator, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries against the ski resort.
- Knee sprains
- Fractured or sprained wrists
- Broken legs
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Shoulder dislocations
- Fractured or sprained ankles
To learn more about common injuries from ski accidents, check out our infographic.
Colorado Ski Law
Colorado’s ski laws are governed by Colorado’s “Ski Safety Act.” This legislation states that skiers and snowboarders assume the risk of certain inherent dangers. The legislation also holds skiers and operators to certain statutory duties.
Under Colorado’s ski laws, skiers and snowboarders have duties to ski within their abilities. Skiers and snowboarders also have duties to obey warning signs and control the speed and course of their activities. A breach of any of these duties may constitute negligence, which may lead to a forfeiture of the opportunity to secure compensation from another at-fault party in the event of an injury.
Ski resorts themselves are also expected to abide by certain duties. For instance, ski resorts must take certain precautions such as marking trails, posting certain warnings, and providing notice of on-mountain trail closures.
To protect themselves from liability, ski resorts often require its guests to sign liability waivers. These waivers state that the ski resort cannot be held liable in the event an injury occurs. Whether a certain waiver will be upheld as valid depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. If you have signed a liability waiver and have questions regarding your legal rights, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney.
To learn more about how we handle ski accidents in Colorado, view our article on Colorado Ski Accident Injuries.
New Mexico Ski Law
Like Colorado, New Mexico has also instituted a Ski Safety Act. Under the Act, ski resorts are expected to maintain the premises and machinery in a safe a proper manner. Primary responsibility for skiing safety rests with the individual skier. This means that a skier or passenger must conduct his or herself carefully and responsibly while realizing that skiing and snowboarding involves inherent risks which may lead to injury. If an injured skier was acting negligently prior to being injured, that person risks losing the opportunity to secure compensation from the other party.
Arizona Ski Law
The state of Arizona also has a Ski Safety Act. Under Arizona law, skiers and snowboarders are held to have assumed all inherent risks that are an “integral part of the sport of skiing, excluding acts of ordinary or gross negligence, or reckless or intentional conduct on the part of the ski area operator.” Under the law, inherent risks expressly include collisions with other skiers. Thus, although an injured skier may be able to sue another skier who was acting recklessly, the injured skier may have trouble pursuing compensation from a ski resort that has upheld its statutory duties.
HOW DOES A SKI ACCIDENT CASE WORK?
If you have been hit and injured by another person while skiing or snowboarding, you may be able to sue that other person. Because skiers and snowboarders have a duty to ski within their abilities and to carry themselves in a safe and responsible manner, a cause of action for negligence may exist if someone breaches one of the duties by acting recklessly or irresponsibly.
For instance, uphill skiers owe a duty to yield the right of way to downhill skiers. If an uphill skier fails to do so and collides with a downhill skier, the downhill skier may be able to sue the uphill skier for breaching this duty. The precise duties imposed upon skiers and snowboarders vary slightly from state to state.
If you have been injured in a collision with another skier or snowboarder, be sure to collect the other party’s contact information. In some cases, a person’s homeowner’s insurance policy will cover them for their fault in collision. Collecting the at-fault party’s information may thus simplify the compensation process.
Suing the Ski Resort
In some cases, it may also be possible to take legal action against the ski resort itself. The strength and viability of a claim against a ski resort depends on the laws of the state in which the accident occurred.
In general, a ski resort may be sued if it acted or failed to act in a safe and responsible manner. For instance, ski resorts are expected to mark trails and post certain warning signs. If a person was injured by a hazard which should have been marked, that person may have a cause of action against the ski resort. In some cases, ski resorts may also be held liable for providing defective equipment to its guests, or for failing to maintain equipment such as ski lifts.
SKI ACCIDENT COMPENSATION
In personal injury cases such as a skiing accident, if the alleged at-fault party is found to be liable for the harm suffered, the at-fault party may face the consequences by having to compensate the victim. This compensation is referred to as “damages” and comes in two broad categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be accounted for, added up on paper and quantified. Examples of economic damages which may be available to the victim of a skiing or snowboarding accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income (present and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage, if applicable
Medical bills may cover things such as the costs incurred by the victim for hospital stays, doctors’ appointments, pharmacy costs, and physical therapy. Lost income may include the compensation lost by the victim due to missed time from work. If the injury prevents or impairs the victim’s ability to work in the future, lost income may also include the victim’s loss in earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses which generally cannot be added up on paper and quantified. Rather, non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by a jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages which may be available to a skiing or snowboarding accident victim include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
GET HELP FROM THE SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have experience handling ski and snowboard accident claims. Our team is ready and waiting to fight for our clients after an accident. Our firm is able to provide clients with the knowledge and resources necessary to help address the concerns that come with being involved in an accident while out on the slopes.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.
Can you sue someone for a ski accident?
In general, you may sue someone following a ski accident. However, the strength and viability of your case will depend on several factors. For instance, it is important to consider how the accident occurred. If the other party was acting negligently or recklessly before causing your injuries, then you may have a viable cause of action against that person. Because the success of your claim depends on several important factors, it may be a good decision to consult with a personal injury attorney before deciding whether to commence legal proceedings.
Can you sue a ski resort?
Legal action against a ski resort may be pursued under certain circumstances. To best answer this question, it is important to consider the laws that regulate skiing and snowboarding activity. For instance, some states absolve ski resorts from liability that may arise from the reasonably obvious, expected, and necessary aspects of skiing or snowboarding. In these states, activities such as colliding with another skier may be considered an expected aspect of skiing. Thus, a ski resort may be free from liability if you are injured after colliding with another skier. Because these laws vary from state to state, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to help determine whether a ski resort can be held liable for your injuries.