Anytime you go skiing or snowboarding, you run the risk of injury. Sometimes, accidents happen out on the slopes and no one is really at fault for it. Other times, people may act carelessly or recklessly and cause another person to be injured. If you have been injured because of a collision with another skier or snowboarder you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against them in court. Here are some guidelines for doing that:
As in other personal injury cases, the first hurdle to overcome is to prove liability. In the case of a ski accident, it means showing that another skier or snowboarder acted negligently or unreasonably. However, just because another skier runs into you doesn't necessarily mean they are liable for your injuries. In Utah, liability is determined by assessing negligence or the failure to act with a reasonable amount of care. If the person you collided with was not skiing in a safe and accepted way, then they may be found at fault for your injuries.
One of the standards to reference is the Skier Responsibility Code. This set of guidelines put out by the ski industry can be found in many places. All skiers and snowboarders should be aware of them. If the person who hit you violated any of the rules outlined in the code that would be strong evidence in favor of your claim. Some of the Skier Responsibility Code standards include:
Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
You must not stop where you obstruct a trial, or are not visible from above.
Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trial, look uphill and yield to others.
Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
Observe all posted signs and warning. Keep off closed trials and out of closed areas.
Prior to using any lift, you much have knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
You might not be able to collect evidence yourself if you've been injured on the slopes, but if you have friends with you they can help by taking as many photos of the scene as possible. Have them document any damage to your equipment as well as the state of the other person's things. They should also take pictures of you and the person who hit you.
Besides taking photos, it's a good idea to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene who can give evidence. Often times an official report of the accident will be done by the Ski Patrol. This report provides good documentation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident.
Even if you can prove negligence, recklessness, and liability, you still may not be able to recover damages from the other person. Many times the ability to recover monetary damages depends on the availability of insurance. If the other person does not have insurance, they won't be able to pay damages. Often times skiing accidents are covered under homeowners insurance.
If you have been hurt in a skiing accident that you believe was caused by the negligent behavior of someone else, contact us today for help with your case.