When ski vacations lead to hospital visits, who's liable?

Ski vacations are a popular way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while taking in some serene winter landscapes. Californians have many options here in the state as well as in neighboring Utah and Colorado. But who exactly is liable in the event of an accident on a ski hill? The answer will depend on the details of the accident.

Liability and ski accidents: The ski hill

Anyone that has taken a trip to a ski resort has likely noticed a slew of legal terms on the bottom or back of their lift ticket. Look more closely, and the ticket likely includes language that attempts to remove liability from the ski hill in the event of an accident.

The extent of this release may extend to include acts of negligence. A case out of Colorado provides an example. In this case, a woman suffered a broken leg because the lift operator chose to slow the lift instead of stop it when her leg became stuck underneath the lift. Had the operator stopped the lift, the woman may not have suffered the injury. Ultimately, the court held that the lift operator's action qualified as negligence and that the ski resort was removed from liability.

This type of application can make it difficult, but not impossible, to hold the resort liable for injuries that result from accidents on the hill. Cases that involve recklessness would still qualify. An accident that resulted because the operator was asleep or possibly playing on a phone instead of doing his or her job could qualify.

Liability and ski accidents: Other people

In some cases, the accident may the result of another individual crashing into or causing a dangerous situation that contributes to the accident.

Liability and ski accidents: Legal counsel

In some cases, it is wise to take the case to an attorney. If you believe the accident was the result of another's reckless behavior, compensation may exist through a personal injury claim. Contact an attorney to review your ski or snowboarding accident and provide guidance on whether or not a personal injury lawsuit is a viable option for legal relief.

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