How to Sue for a Ski Accident in Colorado

ski and snowboard accident in Colorado

As a Colorado resident or visitor, the last thing you want is to be injured by someone else while skiing or snowboarding. Unfortunately, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, an estimated 600,000 people are injured on the slopes annually. Cancelling your day with friends or family is bad enough, but it could significantly impact your life if you have severe injuries. Sustaining an injury from a ski or snowboard accident doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worthwhile to pursue a legal claim. 

There are two main types of ski accident claims in Colorado:

1) Claims against another snowboarder or skier

3) Claims against a ski resort

Depending on how and why the accident occurred, a ski area or another skier’s insurance might be able to reimburse you if they are at-fault. However, ski accident cases are very fact-specific and you will need to gather information if you’re considering a claim. Below is a quick summary of what type of ski and snowboard accidents exist, and what information is needed to pursue a valid claim in Colorado.

Claims Against Another Snowboarder or Skier

The Colorado Ski Safety Act requires skiers and snowboarders to:

  • Ski within the limits of one’s ability
  • Maintain control of one’s course and speed
  • Avoid skiing when impaired by drugs or alcohol

Additionally, Colorado law puts the primary responsibility for a collision on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects below him. If your injury was caused by someone else’s failure to abide by these rules, you could have a possible negligence claim against them. Don’t worry about the other person’s finances—most people have homeowner’s, renter’s, or travel insurance that would cover your medical bills and other losses.

Claims Against the Ski Resort

The Colorado Ski Safety Act waives liability for ski resorts when an injury is caused by an inherent risk on the slopes. Inherent risks include variable weather conditions, rocks, trees, collisions with natural or manmade objects. and variations in steepness or terrain. While ski areas have significant legal protections from injuries caused by conditions on the mountain, ski areas can still be liable for injuries. They can be liable for their failure to mark trails, post warnings, properly operate chairlifts, or provide notice of trail closures. If your accident was caused by one of these issues, you may have grounds for a negligence claim. Many conditions on the slope, even avalanches, are considered inherent risks.

What information should you collect after a ski or snowboard accident in Colorado?

After the accident has occurred, collect as much information as you can from the other parties. It is very helpful to take pictures of the scene of the accident and large-scale pictures of the trail. Be sure to gather all witness’ contact information and take pictures of damaged equipment. Wait for ski patrol to arrive at the scene of the accident and get a copy of the accident report.

What do we need to know to resolve a ski or snow board accident claim in Colorado?

We will need the identity, address, and insurance policy of the person with which you collided. We will also need to know your health insurance provider, what injuries you have, how long those injuries will take to heal, and whether your injuries resulted in lost income. It is also helpful to note how your injuries will impact your home life, loved ones, and daily activity.

If have been in a ski or snowboard accident in Colorado and would like to discuss details of your case to see if there is a viable claim, please give us a call at 970-315-2365 or learn more about our personal injury team

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