Ski and Snowboard Accidents in Colorado
Each Winter, millions of people flock to the Colorado Rockies for a taste of some of the world’s finest skiing and snowboarding. A few things are to be expected: expensive passes, lots of traffic, and long lift lines. What is not always expected is a serious accident. Of course, skiing and snowboarding carry inherent risks. Most of us will take at least a few good tumbles throughout the season. But what if an injury is not your fault? Can you sue another skier or snowboarder, or even the resort where the injury took place? Read our article to learn more.
The Dangers of Winter Sports
Skiing and snowboarding are a chance to get into the fresh mountain air and have fun with family and friends. The last thing you want to deal with is an injury that cuts your trip short and racks up medical bills. Unfortunately, winter sports can result in just that. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University estimates that over 600,000 report a skiing or snowboarding injury each year.
Common Ski and Snowboard Accidents
There are many types of accidents that occur while skiing or snowboarding, but these are some of the most common:
These types of accidents happen when an individual crashes into another skier/snowboarder or with a stationary object, such as a tree. These tend to happen more frequently when someone stops in the middle of a high-traffic area or in reduced visibility conditions. Primary collisions may be accidental, but an inexperienced or out of control skier that crashes into another person can still be held legally responsible for personal injury and property damage.
Slips and falls are another common type of accident that can occur while skiing or snowboarding. Ice and snow are inherently slippery, and even the most skilled athletes can lose their balance. Other times, something as simple as an unzipped jacket can cause a snag leading to a bad fall. Resorts cannot usually be blamed for falls unless there was an egregious lack of maintenance that contributed to the fall.
Chair lifts can move quickly and unprepared or unskilled ski and snowboard participants can find themselves thrown forward or even off of the moving chair. These injuries are sometimes the fault of the skier or snowboarder, who may have been using the equipment improperly. Other times, it may be the fault of the chair operator or the resort, who failed to properly train staff or maintain the equipment, resulting in a malfunction.
Most Common Injuries in Ski and Snowboard Accidents
Injuries vary depending on the type of accident that occurred, but some of the most common medical conditions that arise from a ski or snowboard accident include:
- Knee injuries
- Ankle sprains
- Wrist sprains/fractures
- Head injuries
- Spinal trauma
- Brain injury
- Shoulder injuries
The cost and treatment for these injuries will likewise vary depending on the severity and location of the trauma.
Can I Sue For a Ski or Snowboard Accident in Colorado?
If your injuries are related to the negligence of another, you have the right to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to seek compensation. For example, if another skier slammed into you due to inexperience or an overly aggressive maneuver, you have the right to pursue legal action for any injuries sustained. Likewise, if you were hurt by a piece of equipment that malfunctioned, you may have the option to sue the resort for dangerous lack of maintenance.
What To Do After Ski or Snowboard Accident
Get Medical Attention
Immediately following a ski or snowboarding accident, your first priority should be seeking safety and medical attention. Make sure you flag down assistance on the slope if you need help moving out oncoming ski traffic.
Obtain Information from the Responsible Person
If your accident was caused by an out of control skier or snowboarder, you will need to get their information. Hopefully, he/she/they will have remained at the scene so you can do this. If the responsible party attempts to leave, make a note of their appearance (height, skin tone, gender, clothing, etc.). If you are able, snap a photograph of the person and ask any surrounding witnesses if they will provide a written statement and/or contact information.
Document the Scene
Take as many photographs as you can of the scene where the accident occurred and note the time of day, weather conditions, and any other information you feel may be helpful in building your case.
If the injury occurred as a result of faulty or dangerous equipment, photograph the equipment and any noticeable signs of malfunction (wires, cords, leaks, poorly lit signs, lack of signage, etc.).
Document All Medical Care
Be sure to photograph your injuries and keep thorough records of your medical treatment and expenses.
Contact a Ski/Snowboard Accident Attorney
Another important step following a winter sport accident will be to consult with an experienced ski and snowboard accident attorney. These accidents can be serious and also difficult to prove. You will want someone in your corner to help build your case while you recover from your injuries.
Listen to the latest episode of the Insureds Corner
David and Mary talk about the inerrant risks of skiing and The Colorado Ski Safety Act
Ski and Snowboard Accident Lawyer Denver
Dave Roth is a Colorado native with years of experience in personal injury and insurance law. He knows how devastating these types of accidents can be, and is passionate about helping his clients seek just compensation while they focus on family and recovery. If you have been injured in a ski or snowboard accident in Colorado, call the Roth Group or go online today to schedule a free consultation.