Ski and Snowboard Accidents

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You were having fun with friends and family on the slopes. It felt good to be outside in the fresh air after months of being inside because of COVID. You were making your turns and enjoying the snow when it happened.

He was out of control. He was going too fast. He hit you from behind. You didn’t have a chance. Ski patrol loaded you up in the sled and managed to hit every bump on the way down. It hurt. Bad.

Then you went to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Vail Health or Aspen Valley Hospital. How much is this going to cost? What if I have to miss work? My season is done? Why did this happen to me?

Colorado is home to some of the best skiing in the world. As a skier or snowboarder, collisions on the mountain present a serious risk for injuries in Colorado. Often skiers and snowboarders who lose control or who are not paying enough attention can cause dangerous collisions that result in serious injury or death. 

One of our offices is at the base of Aspen Highlands Mountain, we see the ambulance come sometimes more than once a day to take away an injured skier or snowboarder.

Ski Injury Data 

Recent data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows up to 55 injured skiers and snowboarders arrive in Colorado emergency rooms each day. There were 4,100 skiers and snowboarders that were transported to emergency rooms in ambulances in 2018, 2019, and 2020. This average comes out to about 10 skiers per day during a season. Statistics show more than a third of the 1,426 skiers and snowboarders admitted to Colorado’s trauma centers in the 2017-2018 season required immediate surgery. 

The National Ski Areas Association gathers reports from the country’s ski areas and tracks “catastrophic injuries,” which it defines as “significant neurological trauma, major head injuries, spinal cord injuries resulting in full or partial paralysis and injuries resulting in the loss of a limb.” Over the past decade, the association has counted an average of 45 catastrophic injuries a season nationwide.

What Are Your Options?

Suing Ski Resorts:

Colorado ski resorts routinely require customers to sign a waiver before stepping foot on the ski hill. Many resorts also include an abbreviated copy of that waiver on a ski pass. Ultimately, these waivers almost always hold up in court. If you signed a waiver stating that you agree not to hold the ski resort liable for a ski accident or faulty equipment, Colorado courts will likely dismiss the claim.  

Managing Partner Ryan Kalamaya

The exceptions under the Skier Safety Act of 1979, §33-44-101 through §33-44-114, state that you can sue a ski resort if you are injured while riding a ski lift or gondola. Improper maintenance and negligent operation of a ski lift is a common cause of ski injuries. A ski lift operator is responsible for abiding by weight limits and ensuring a proper speed that allows passengers to get on and off safely. 

Suing other Skiers or Snowboarders: 

If an injury was caused by another skier or snowboarder, that person can be sued. Typically, a personal liability policy on a homeowners insurance or umbrella policy will cover this type of accident.  

Colorado law presumes that uphill skier or snowboarders are at fault in the event of a collision. However, if another skier or snowboarder is behaving recklessly and causes the personal injury, they can be held accountable for their actions. 

If you were involved in a skiing accident, the first thing to do is to report your injury to the ski resort and make sure everything is documented. You should ensure you have all of the correct contact information of all parties involved, including written reports. It is important to get as much information about the accident as you possibly can. Take pictures, take video, and make sure you get information of any possible witnesses to the injury. 

If you experienced injuries during your ski accident, the next most important step is to be immediately examined by a medical provider. Going to the emergency room will document any injuries that were caused on the ski hill and will ensure that the injured person gets the best, quickest treatment. 

Lastly, the injured person should consult with a lawyer to make a claim against the opposing skier, or their insurance. Making an effective claim entails analyzing the case’s damages and demanding a settlement. If a claim cannot be resolved, a lawsuit and trial may be required to determine a person’s liability and damages. 

Skiing and snowboarding accident cases are complex, and your unique situation deserves a close inspection by a qualified Colorado ski accident attorney. 

Hiring a Ski Accident Lawyer

We represent people on ski injuries because we are passionate about the sport of skiing. For example, our managing partner, Ryan Kalamaya, clocks approximately 80 days a year skiing. And our paralegal, Shannon Holleran, grew up in Crested Butte. One of our offices is at the base of Aspen Highlands Ski Resort while another is near Vail and Beaver Creek.

We represent anyone injured while skiing or snowboarding in Colorado.

If you suffered a ski or snowboard injury at a ski resort, our personal injury attorneys can help you. Contact Kalamaya | Goscha today to start your representation.