With winter comes all the fun activities that go along with the arrival of snowy weather. Things that you can only do this time of year like making snowmen, snow angels, and having snowball wars are now available to you. Then there are more organized recreational sporting activities like snowboarding and skiing. These are sports that you can’t exactly do at home as it requires not just snow on its own, but a sloping surface as well. This is where snow resorts (normally situated on a mountain) come in. It’s here that you can engage in all the downhill fun that only a winter resort can afford you. But while maneuvering through the trees is a rush of fun for some there is also the potential for negligence-based injury. But since these are sports, you’d think the assumption of a risk factor would prevent you from suing anyone. However, that’s not exactly the case.

So, how exactly can you prove negligence on the part of another skier or snowboarder? Start with the Skier Responsibility Code, a set of safety guidelines that express a duty of care for others. 

  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or where you are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

Going through them, you’ll notice that they’re akin to the mindset of driving, which considering the high speeds you’ll be achieving while going downhill, is not entirely farfetched. If a skier or snowboarder breached any of the above rules then there’s evidence for negligence. 

Also, as an attorney, like a personal injury attorney from a law firm like Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers understands, recklessness occurs in most sports, and winter sports are no different. That said, in some states or for some cases, simply proving negligence may not be enough and you’ll have to prove that the opposing party was reckless in their actions or grossly negligent. A good example of this regards a twist on one of the previously mentioned guidelines.

Just like entering into traffic from a parking lot, you yield to ongoing traffic before entering it yourself, the same concept applies where you look uphill and yield to others coming downhill first before descending the slope yourself. If it can be proven that the opposing party saw the oncoming skiers, but decided not to yield to them, then that would be counted as recklessness or gross negligence. 

Have you been injured in a winter sports accident? These kinds of injuries can be extremely severe and you may be facing serious medical bills and months or years of recovery. If you need help filing a personal injury claim, you should reach out to a local law firm to learn more about what your next steps are.


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