Skiing and snowboarding are fun activities you can participate in by yourself or with friends. However, there's no denying these sports are dangerous. According to statistics obtained by Johns Hopkins, approximately 600,000 people are injured while skiing or snowboarding annually. Sometimes, though, those injuries are the result of action (or inaction) by other people. If you were hurt by someone's negligence while skiing or snowboarding, here's what you need to know about collecting compensation for your damages and losses.
Your Claim Is Based on the Circumstances of the Incident
To file a lawsuit, you must have what's called a cause of action, i.e. a valid legal reason for suing. However, the most relevant tort that would apply to your case depends on the circumstances of the incident.
For instance, if you were hurt because of someone's behavior (e.g. an employee didn't mark the trail with the right information), then you would most likely use the negligence tort to sue the offender. This tort requires you to prove the person acted negligently and their negligence was the cause of your injuries.
On the other hand, if you were injured because of defective equipment (e.g. the chair lift broke because of poor design), then you would likely have to use product liability laws to sue for damages. Though, you may still be able to use negligence laws in this instance if the person responsible for the equipment knew or should've know there was a problem and didn't do anything to fix it.
It's important to provide a personal injury lawyer with as much information about the incident as possible so they can select the appropriate torts to file your case under.
You Must Overcome the Assumption of Risk
Depending on who you're are suing for damages, the defendant may attempt to use the assumption of risk defense to get your lawsuit dismissed or reduce the amount of money you're awarded. This defense states you knew, or should have known, how dangerous skiing and snowboarding is and you assumed the risk of injury by participating in the sport.
This is a valid defense, because skiing and snowboarding are known to be a high-risk sport where people get hurt all the time. To overcome this defense, you would have to show the injury you sustained is not inherent in the activity. For instance, you may assume the risk of injury if you choose a terrain that was beyond your capabilities. However, if a ski instructor picks a terrain you're not ready for and you're hurt as a result, you can argue you didn't sign up for the level of risk the instructor chose for you.
For more information about suing for skiing and snowboarding injuries, contact a personal injury attorney.