There’s nothing better than racing down the slopes and enjoying the fresh powder on your skis or snowboard. While skiing is one of the world’s greatest winter pastimes, it is also the source of thousands of injuries every year. Ski accidents range from something that can be taken care of by some hot chocolate and ice pack to severe and debilitating injuries. If you have been injured in a ski accident you need to understand your rights and options.
When You Have a Claim
Under personal injury law you’re entitled to compensation when you are hurt because of somebody else’s negligence. But this does not mean that you were able to get money for every ski accident injury. The law does not allow you to collect money for accidents that are your own fault.
Negligence means more then somebody simply making a mistake. If two beginning skiers are both taking lessons and going down the bunny slope and accidentally run into each other, most likely neither skier is legally negligent. Neither one would be able to collect damages from the other one.
Negligence requires that there be at least four elements. Somebody must know somebody else a duty of care. Somebody must file eight or breach their duty care. Another person must be hurt or injured. The hurt person must have also suffered damages.
Because skiing is such a dangerous sport some states have created an even higher standard to recover compensation and ski accidents. The states require that instead of acting negligently, somebody must act recklessly. Reckless behavior would include taking risks that a reasonable person knows or should know, are likely to result in injury to another person.
The party at fault in ski accidents is not always another skier or snowboarder. Sometimes the one at fault for the accident is a contractor, instructor, or the ski lodge itself.
Causes and Types of Ski Accidents
Ski accidents can be caused by any number of different factors. Some of the most common causes of ski accidents are:
- Inexperienced skier
- Poor weather conditions
- In properly maintained equipment
- Failure to maintain trails
- Failure to follow you posted rules
- Unsafe speed
- Reckless risk taking
One or more of these common causes for ski accidents is usually at play. Ski accidents can occur anywhere on the mountain. Typical types of ski accidents include:
- Ski lift accidents
- Slip and falls
- Running into a fixed object
- Falls from trail conditions
- Avalanche injuries
- Falling off cliffs
Common Injuries in Ski Accidents
The most important thing in any type of injury is to get appropriate medical help as soon as possible. Most ski resorts have some type of medical professional on staff. The most common types of injuries and ski accidents are:
- Fractured bones
- Traumatic head injury
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Sprained ankles
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Even when you do not require emergency care for an injury suffered in a ski accident, you should still seek a medical evaluation. Often times injuries will not become obvious until 24 to 48 hours after an accident. You may also have hidden internal injuries that you are not aware of.
Seeking medical help is not only essential for your health and well-being, but it also impacts your ability to get the compensation you are entitled to because of your injuries. Sometimes you will also need to fill out paperwork with the ski resort to report your injury. You should never delay getting emergency medical treatment to fill out a form with the ski resort or ski lodge.
After you have received your initial treatment for any injuries, you need to continue to follow your doctor’s orders. This includes doing any rehabilitation exercises and attending follow up appointments. One common reason for ski accident claims to be undervalued is because the injured skier fails to do their part in recovering fully from their injuries.
The Claims Process
The process for submitting a claim and getting compensated for an injury as part of a ski accident will vary depending on the type of accident. If you were injured because of another skier’s negligent or reckless behavior you will need to seek compensation from that person. Identifying the person at fault is one difficulty. Unlike car accidents most people do not exchange information after a skiing accident. Tracking down the person responsible may be difficult.
The process is more straightforward, but not necessarily any easier, when the ski lodge or resort is at fault for the accident. Most lodges and resorts carry liability insurance. One of the first steps in the process is to file a claim with that insurance company.
Successfully getting compensated for injury claims and ski accidents is tough. But, you do not need to take on this process by yourself. Let us help you find an experienced and knowledgeable ski accident injury attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.