Boulder Ski Accident Lawyers
Have you been injured in a Colorado ski or snowboard accident? If so, you’re not alone. Advocacy group Safe Skis Colorado analyzed Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment skier safety data and found that up to 55 skiers and snowboarders go to area emergency rooms each day.
Shockingly, the number of skiers and snowboarders visiting ERs grew by more than 80% from 2016 to 2019. What’s more, many of these injuries were serious. More than a third of skiers transported to emergency rooms in one ski season required immediate surgery.
If you experienced a ski accident injury, you must contact an experienced ski accident attorney right away. Colorado law makes it difficult for injured ski victims to recover fair compensation, so you need a ski accident lawyer who understands how to get you the money you need.
Here, we’ll provide an overview of Colorado ski accident law and share what you should do to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?
You may experience an accident due to your own inexperience, the recklessness of another skier, or the ski resort’s negligence. Determining who is responsible for your injuries impacts the compensation you may be able to recover.
The Ski Resort
Unfortunately, Colorado ski resorts enjoy great protection from liability for ski injuries. In January 2021, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the small-print waivers on the back of lift tickets release ski resorts from all liability, and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Skiers typically sign waivers that promise to hold harmless the ski area for any and all liability.
This ruling seems contrary to the protections granted by The Colorado Ski Safety Act (§ 33-44-101 et.al.). Enacted in 1979, the Act defines the risks skiers assume as well as responsibilities of the ski resort. While this decision makes it more difficult to sue ski resorts, it does not prevent you from suing for injuries caused by another skier.
Skiers have a duty of care to others on the mountain, meaning they must ski responsibly. Each skier must maintain control of their speed and direction. If another skier was reckless or did something irresponsible to cause your accident, they should pay for your injuries.
Colorado law says that the uphill skier is responsible for injuries because they have a duty to look out for skiers as they approach further down the mountain. The Ski Safety Act prohibits people from skiing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Homeowners insurance usually covers damages caused by a skier. You may be able to recover these damages from the other skier’s insurance:
- Medical expenses,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Lost wages.
To receive compensation from another skier, you’ll need to prove that they acted negligently while on the slopes. A skilled Colorado ski accident lawyer can help build your case.
If the ski resort equipment malfunctions, such as a mechanical failure on a lift, you may be able to sue the equipment manufacturer. This would allow you to possibly recover significant compensation from a third party, avoiding the limitations of liability that protect ski resorts.
What Should You Do After a Ski Accident?
You must stop after you experience a ski accident and wait for help to arrive. If you leave the scene of a ski accident, you could face criminal charges. At the scene of the accident, you must give your name and current address to a ski patrol or ski area employee. You may leave the area only to seek aid for an injured person, and then return to the accident scene.
If you were injured in the accident, there are steps you should take to help your claim:
- Take photos at the scene of the accident,
- Document weather conditions,
- Get the names and contact information of witnesses,
- File an accident report,
- Seek medical evaluation right away, and
- Save all medical reports.
Gathering this important evidence at the scene of the ski accident can back up your claim and make it harder for an insurance company to deny you payment.
Contact a Boulder Ski Accident Lawyer
Ski accident victims should contact an experienced ski lawyer who can help them pursue maximum compensation. Ski injury law differs from general personal injury law, so make sure you find someone with experience in this area. At Sloat, Nicholson, & Hoover, P.C., our ski accident attorneys have nearly 100 years of combined experience helping accident victims. We want to help ski accident victims get the compensation they deserve and help make the slopes safer for everyone. To learn more about Colorado ski accident law and whether we can help with your case, contact us for a free consultation.