Accidents with other ski resort guests and stationary objects are the leading cause of skiing and snowboarder fatality incidents and catastrophic injuries, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). The NSAA reports 37 catastrophic injuries and 37 skier and snowboarder fatalities during 2017.
Catastrophic incidents are injuries with major head trauma, significant neurological trauma, spinal cord injuries resulting in full or partial paralysis, and injuries that involve a loss of limb.
Other common types of skiing and snowboarding accidents include:
- Accidents because of equipment failure
- Accidents involving the chairlift
- Inadequate skiing or snowboarding instruction
Skiing Accidents Caused by Negligence
If you or someone you love were involved in a skiing accident, you may be a victim of negligence.
Ski resorts have a duty to provide a ski slope that is well designed, maintained, and marked with visible signage. Machinery and other objects should be kept a safe distance from the slopes. Ski resort employees should be well-trained, especially when operating chairlifts when an emergency situation occurs.
It may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence if you were injured in any of the following situations:
- A ski or snowboard instructor-led you to a ski slope or terrain beyond your ability level
- You were skiing or snowboarding on a poorly designed, marked, or maintained ski run
- You were struck by a reckless skier or snowboarder
- Your injuries were caused by dangerous or defective ski or snowboard rental equipment (a broken binding or cracked skis, for example)
- You were injured due to the chairlift operator’s neglect of his or her duty
Liability for Your Ski Accident
Proving negligence and holding the responsible party liable can be complicated in skiing accidents. This is because the Pennsylvania State Legislature’s “Skier’s Responsibility Act” recognizes skiing as having “inherent risks.” Inherent risks can include trees, icy slopes, or other skiers and the resort has no responsibility to protect skiers against inherent risks, according to Pennsylvania courts.
Despite this, there are instances where the ski resort and/or its employees can be found negligent and damages can be collected. These instances would have to involve factors that were not the result of inherent risks commonly faced by skiers or snowboarders.
Wrongful death suits and injury claims can be brought against entities other than the ski resort even if an inherent risk was a factor in your injury
- Manufacturers of faulty equipment (including skis, snowboards, bindings, and boots)
- Companies or individuals tasked with maintaining the equipment
- Other skiers, snowboarders, or tubers
- The property owner, if you were legally skiing on property not deemed a resort
Seek Professional Help
Because of the complexity of personal injury lawsuits you should consult a personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one were involved in a ski-related fatality or catastrophic incident. Negligence must be present for a wrongful death suit or injury claim to have merit.
An experienced lawyer can help determine if the responsible party was negligent, and if so, help you get the compensation you deserve.