Skiing Collisions and Accidents
The Brown Law Firm, LLC has offices in Denver and Steamboat Springs. I live in Steamboat Springs because I love the community and love skiing. In the winter, my family spends our free time on the mountain. Our time spent skiing has been injury free this year. Yet this year alone, my daughter has been hit by a skier and a snowboarder, and a skier collided into me. Fortunately, beyond a few bruises, we were not badly injured. Yet, I know from my clients that not everyone escapes serious injury on the mountain.
Each time you go skiing, you know that there are certain risks to skiing that are not present in other sports. When you are injured because of another skier’s carelessness, you should take time to explore your legal options against the negligent or reckless skier.
Colorado has enacted many laws that define skiers’ duties, and the Colorado Courts have considered many cases — further defining a skiers’ duty. For example, all skiers have a duty to ski within their abilities and avoid a collision. Uphill skiers have a duty to maintain a watch for skiers downhill in order to avoid a collision. Perhaps you have seen some of these notices while skiing.
All ages of skiers are found on the slopes enjoying the thrill that assumes a measure of risk in pursuit of this strenuous sport. Skiing and snowboarding is considered a high-energy participation sport that involves some inherent risk that lessens as physical skills increase over time. Skiing provides health and fitness benefits that affect physical, mental, social, and emotional aspects of wellness. The effort that goes into positioning different parts of the body while skiing defines the sport as a proprioceptive activity.
Unfortunately, skiing accidents do occur that can have lasting, long-term implications. As reported by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), in the past 10 years, 41.5 people have died from skiing accidents on average per year. A former professor at Rochester Institute of Technology submitted a research paper to the International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS) reporting that collisions with other skiers or snowboarders accounts for 6.4% of accidents. The report also confirmed that skiers are 3 times more likely to be in a collision with other people versus snowboarders.
Collision accidents occur for many different reasons. The key to determining next action is dependent upon many factors. Several cases, such as the one reported in the Denver Post, focus on negligence as the factor contributing to the collision. In this case, the witnesses and plaintiff reported that the defendant was skiing “out of control.” Below are some questions to consider in determining if consulting with a legal representative is the best course of action.
- Was the other person negligent?
- Did they demonstrate unsafe practices such as skiing too fast for the terrain?
- Did they act with reasonable care in abiding by all posted signs?
- Did they violate the responsibility code?
The responsible code which consists of 7 points is taken very seriously to defend against accidents. Many ski resorts even post additional responsibility codes to protect skiers.
For example, Snow Trails in Mansfield, Ohio posted 9 additional responsibility rules to keep their slopes safe. Make sure to take note of these additional posted responsibilities to stay informed. Skiing collisions can occur; the key is determining if the collision could have been avoided if the other person had acted responsibly.
Of course, responsibility code can prevent injury, but the many laws provide guidance for obtaining compensation from the other skier for your harms and losses in the case of an injury. Contact our office today to discuss your legal options.