Skiing is one of the most popular winter sports in Colorado, but it can also be a dangerous activity. Skiers and snowboarders must exercise caution while enjoying the slopes, but sometimes that is not enough to prevent injury. There are cases in which serious injuries occur because of the unsafe behavior of other skiers or due to negligence on the part of the ski area operator.
Skiing and snowboarding accidents can cause severe injuries that require medical treatment and may even lead to long-term disability or death. Common causes of skiing and snowboarding injuries include:
- Downhill accidents
- Collisions with other skiers or snowboarders
- Collisions with trees or other barriers
- Reckless behavior of other skiers or snowboarders
- Slip and falls
- Ski lift accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Faulty equipment
- Poor signage
- Poor slope maintenance
- Other ski resort negligence
If you’ve been injured in a skiing or snowboarding accident at a Colorado ski resort, you should seek out the counsel of an experienced ski accident attorney.
Ski Safety Act
In 1979, Colorado adopted the Ski Safety Act, which defines the rights and responsibilities of both skiers and ski area operators. This act states that skiers assume certain inherent risks and dangers when participating in the sport. This means ski area operators are immune from responsibility for “any injuries resulting from the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.” This does not mean, however, that ski area operators are immune from all liability.
Ski area operators assume a duty to establish reasonable safety standards to mitigate the dangers and risks involved with skiing and snowboarding on the slopes. If a ski area operator is negligent in that duty, they may be liable for an injury incurred due to their negligence.
The Ski Safety Act also instituted a 2-year statute of limitations from the time of injury and a one million dollar cap on damages. These limitations make it critical that you speak with a ski accident attorney as soon as possible after suffering any injuries in a ski accident if you believe that the accident resulted from the ski area operator’s negligent actions.
Suing Another Skier or Snowboarder
The Ski Safety Act also states that skiers must exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to themselves and other skiers. The Act allows for an injured party to seek damages from another skier or snowboarder if they are found to be responsible for causing the accident.
The law holds that an uphill skier is presumed to be responsible for any collision that occurs with a downhill skier, unless the uphill skier can prove with a preponderance of evidence that the downhill skier was responsible for the crash. All skiers must also follow safety measures, including:
- Skiing within your abilities
- Controlling your speed
- Maintaining proper lookout for other skiers and objects
- Following posted signage
- Yielding to other skiers when entering a ski slope or trail from the side
- Using a strap or other device to stop the ski or snowboard if it becomes detached from the skier or snowboarder
If you believe that another skier or snowboarder failed to follow these safety guidelines, which resulted in a collision that caused your injuries, they may be liable.
If you suffer a collision with another skier, you should always:
- Collect the full names and contact information from any skiers involved in the accident
- Collect the names and contact information from any witnesses
- Take photos or ask a friend or witness to take photos of the scene
- Save your equipment, ski pass, and lift ticket
- Obtain the ski patrol incident report
- Get medical attention – even if you think you’re fine
- Save a record of your medical treatment
If you’ve been injured in a ski accident, Clawson & Clawson, LLP is here to help you pursue compensation for your losses. We can help to negotiate a settlement on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.
Contact us online or call us at (719) 602-5888 to schedule a free case evaluation.