Proving Liability in a Ski Accident
Proving ski accident liability typically relies on demonstrating that the other party was negligent, which resulted in the accident that caused your injuries. You are not alone if you do not know how to demonstrate that someone was negligent. Proving negligence is where an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyer comes in. An attorney at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., can guide you through the lawsuit process and advise you of your rights. Our team has decades of experience helping clients recover compensation after devastating accidents. You can focus on recovering from your injuries while we take care of your personal injury claim.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a ski accident, contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover right away to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.
Proving Liability in a Ski Accident: Elements of Negligence
After a ski accident in Colorado, liability hinges on who was negligent. The injured party who files the lawsuit, referred to as the plaintiff, bears the burden of proving negligence. Negligence is made up of four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. You must prove all four elements to prevail in your claim.
Duty of Care
First, you must prove that the at-fault party owed you a legal duty to act as a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. For example, property owners have legal duty to visitors to eliminate from their premises dangerous conditions or provide a warning of any dangers. This duty applies to ski resort owners as well. Additionally, someone skiing in a public area owes a duty of care to everyone else on the slopes to act reasonably.
Breach of Duty
The second element of negligence requires proving that the at-fault party breached their duty by failing to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. For example, a ski resort owner who knows about a dangerous condition on their premises but fails to remedy the issue or post a warning breaches their duty of care to visitors. Disregarding posted signs and skiing in a reckless manner can indicate that a skier has breached their duty of care to others around them.
Third, you must demonstrate a connection between the at-fault party’s breach, the accident it caused, and the injuries you suffered. That means the accident occurred as a direct result of the at-fault party breaching their duty, not due to some external factor like low visibility. For instance, if a skier crashes into you and causes an injury because they are going too fast, it’s likely that a court will find a causal link between the breach, the accident, and the damages you incurred as a result.
The final element of negligence is damages. To establish damages, you must prove that you suffered harm and financial loss as a result of the responsible party’s negligence. If you did not suffer any harm in the accident—meaning you did not suffer any physical injuries or property damages—you probably cannot recover compensation through a personal injury claim.
Claims Against Other Skiers
If another skier caused the ski accident that resulted in your injuries, they might be liable for your damages. Remember, it is the victim’s burden to prove that the opposing party’s negligent behavior caused your injury. While skiers accept the risk of injury from the inherent dangers of skiing, a skier does not accept the risk of injury from others acting negligently. Colorado law requires skiers to maintain control of their speed and imposes a duty on anyone skiing downhill to avoid a collision with anyone below them. A violation of this statute can easily demonstrate a breach of a skier’s duty of care. If you need help proving the element of negligence after a ski accident, contact an attorney at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover as soon as possible.
Claims Against Property Owners
As stated above, a property owner can breach their duty of care by failing to remedy or warn visitors of a hidden danger on their premises. Additionally, Colorado law imposes other duties on ski area operators. Ski area operators must post signs detailing:
- The least difficult trails and slopes, designated by a green circle and the word “easiest”;
- The most challenging trails and slopes, designated by a black diamond and the words “most difficult”;
- Trails and slopes with a degree of difficulty that falls between the green circle and the black diamond designation, designated by a blue square and the words “more difficult”;
- Extreme terrain, designated with two black diamonds containing the letters “E” in one and “X” in the other in white and the words “extreme terrain”;
- Freestyle terrain, designated by an orange oval; and
- Closed trails or slopes, designated by an octagonal-shaped sign with a red border around a white interior containing a black figure in the shape of a skier with a black band running diagonally across the sign from the upper right-hand side to the lower left-hand side and with the word “Closed” printed beneath the emblem.
If a ski area operator fails to comply with these statutes, they may be liable for any injuries resulting from the breach.
Even if you signed a liability waiver when purchasing a lift ticket, you should contact an attorney immediately if you suffer injuries at a ski resort.
If You Have Questions About Ski Accident Colorado Liability, Contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover
Many Coloradans seek solace on the ski slopes to participate in the thrilling sport. Yet, ski accidents can result in severe injuries, especially when someone is negligent. An experienced ski accident lawyer can assist with your lawsuit by:
- Advising you of your rights and options,
- Retrieving witness statements, and
- Explaining state law that applies to your claim.
Our attorneys at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover have more than 100 years of combined experience representing victims injured due to someone else’s negligence and have recovered over a hundred million dollars on behalf of our clients. Let us help you.
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