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Is a ski resort responsible for skiing-related injuries on their premises?

Posted in Blog on March 28, 2018

One of the reasons why so many people, whether they’re visitors or residents, are drawn to Colorado is our state’s natural beauty. Skiing and other winter sports attract people from far and wide to Colorado’s peaks and mountains. But what happens when injuries occur at resorts that sell winter sporting experiences like skiing? If you get injured on the premises of a ski resort in an accident, is the resort liable?

The answer is complicated; It depends on what caused the accident. If the crash happened because another person was being negligent or reckless on the slopes, you might be able to pursue legal action against the individual legitimately. However, if you were skiing and you were hurt, and you believe the injury occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the place where you were skiing, you may have less of a legitimate claim to make.

States, where winter sports businesses are prosperous, have laws in place that protect ski resorts from lawsuits when an injury happens. Since there are obvious risks affiliated with skiing and snowboarding, resorts are usually protected from patrons taking legal action. When allegations of negligence are raised, it takes a significant amount of proof to be brought forward to legitimize a claim. A claim becomes more legitimate, for example, if there is proof that the resort does not correctly or sufficiently maintain its trails, or if the resort does not correctly display and mark its trails. Inherent risks affiliated with skiing that make claims against resorts challenging to file include instances where skiers collide on paths when skier’s fail to ski within their ability, or if individuals go outside designated safe skiing areas. However, in Colorado, ski resorts enjoy almost complete immunity from lawsuits. If you are injured in an accident at a ski resort in Colorado, the only way you’re likely to recover damages lost is if you were injured by another person, say, if they hit you from behind. In this case, you would be able to file a claim against their homeowner’s insurance, but the ski resort would remain immune.

However, even though there are state laws that protect ski resorts from inherent risk affiliated with skiing or snowboarding, in other states the idea of inherent risk might not entail provisions such as bumpers on trail signs or ski lifts, malfunctioning equipment like chairlifts, or improperly operated machinery. Therefore, if you are injured at a resort while skiing and you think that the accident was caused by one of the above reasons perpetrated by the resort or its employees, contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in ski resort accidents to best guide you. You should know the specific laws of the state you are skiing in, as the laws in each state are different. Find more information at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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