As temperatures drop and snowfall totals increase, more and more people will take to the slopes to unwind and relax. Skiing and snowboarding are popular yet challenging pastimes that provide thrills as well as health and fitness benefits. For beginners and the inexperienced, these sports can prove dangerous – or even deadly. In some cases, an injured skier or snowboarder may be able to recover legal compensation for the injuries he or she suffers on the slopes.
Skiing and Snowboarding Injury Statistics
Skiing and snowboarding are generally safe activities. Nonetheless, accidents can and do occur. According to the National Ski Areas Association, from 2002 to 2012 about 41.5 people have died annually from skiing and snowboarding injuries. About 44.7 serious head injuries or paralyzing injuries per year occurred over the same time period. To place these numbers in perspective, the National Safety Council reported in 2011 that 35,900 individuals died in motor-vehicle accidents, 2,400 individuals drowned in public swimming areas, and 800 bicyclists died.
There Must Be Some Breach of Duty to Recover Damages
Following an accident on a ski slope, recovering damages depends on showing that someone else bears some measure of responsibility for that accident. For instance, if one amateur skier is injured after a collision with another amateur skier on the beginner course while both skiers were skiing cautiously, it would be very difficult for the injured skier to recover. Because both skiers were using reasonable care, a court would not find the second skier responsible for the first skier’s injuries.
But suppose that a beginner skier attempts an experienced course without receiving the proper training. If that beginner skier injures another on that course, he or she could be held responsible for those injuries. In this instance, the beginner skier was careless in attempting a course he or she was not qualified to undertake. He or she should have known not to attempt such a course.
Likewise, suppose an experienced snowboarder attempts a beginner course. On her way down the course, she performs a number of elaborate stunts and maneuvers that put her in close proximity to other, less-experienced skiers on the course. One of these beginner skiers becomes afraid of a collision with the experienced skier and, as a result, performs an evasive maneuver. Unfortunately, the beginner skier’s maneuver causes him to crash into a tree. In this case, the experienced snowboarder’s actions may be seen as negligent – perhaps even reckless – and a court may require the experienced snowboarder to pay for the beginner skier’s injuries.
Obtain Experienced Help After a Skiing Injury
Establishing fault after a skiing or recreational injury is difficult. Those who hit the slopes or engage in other recreational activities assume a certain amount of risk that they might suffer an injury. Following an injury, it is important to contact us at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation. We will evaluate all the facts surrounding your injury and advise you whether another individual is legally responsible for your accident.