Ski injuries are more prevalent during the winter, but there are a few factors that can affect the outcome of a potential lawsuit.
Case in point: world champion Formula One driver Michael Schumacher, who suffered a brain injury last weekend while skiing in France, according to Reuters. Authorities say Schumacher was skiing off-piste -- in an ungroomed area of a ski resort -- which could potentially affect any injury-related legal claims against the resort's owner.
Here are three factors to consider when initiating a ski injury lawsuit:
1. Liability Waivers.
One of the factors that can affect your ski injury lawsuit is waiving your right to sue the resort for past injuries. Although season passes are budget-friendly, some places require season pass holders to waive liability for their injuries, even from past seasons.
Basically, some ski resorts include a retroactive clause in their season passes that prevent people from suing for injuries that occurred last year if they want to purchase a season pass for this year.
But it's not just season pass holders who need to pay attention to the waivers they sign off on. Even single-day visitors to ski lodges and resorts should carefully review the language of the resort's liability waiver.
2. The Skier's Own Actions.
Another factor that can affect your ski injury lawsuit is if you put yourself in a dangerous situation while skiing. By putting yourself in a knowingly dangerous situation, you're arguably assuming the risk of your injuries.
For example, if you purposely go ski outside of the resort's boundaries and get injured, or if you're a novice snowboarder and decide to hit a Black Diamond Trail on your first run, you should know the risks. In most cases, the resort probably won't be held responsible for those types of injuries.
3. Ski Resort's Duty to Make the Premises Safe.
Under the theory of premises liability, a ski resort has a duty to keep its premises reasonably safe. This means that the ski resort is responsible for maintaining its equipment, slopes, and ski lifts. It's important to consider whether your injury occurred because of your own recklessness or because of the resort's failure to maintain its grounds for your ski injury lawsuit.
Of course, each ski injury lawsuit presents its own unique set of facts. If you've been injured on the slopes, consult an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your potential legal remedies.
- Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries (The New York Times)
- Ski Accidents: Top 3 Ways Not to Get Injured (FindLaw's Injured)
- Ski Lift Accident: When is Ski Resort to Blame? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Could Dismissal of NJ Ski Injury Lawsuit Affect Ski Resorts Nationwide? (FindLaw's Decided)