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One of the most defining advantages of living in the Mile High City is that you are always less than an hour’s drive from some respectably decent skiing and snowboarding runs — and others can be easily found within a two-hour drive of Denver. However, that proximity and the resulting large crowds that use Denver’s slopes means that there will inevitably be either a snowboarding or skiing accident on those mountain runs.

Skiing accidents can range from sprained ankles that heal within days to catastrophic traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and paralysis. Those who suffer the latter two types of serious injuries after a skiing accident may need to retain a Denver injury and accident lawyer to help them pursue civil justice against any liable parties.

How Do Denver Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents Occur?

Dangerous skiing, or “hot-dogging” on trails full of skiers of varying levels of competence, can lead to collisions with others. Skiers could also run into trees or trail barriers trying to get out of the unsafe skier’s way.

Other accidents involve ski lifts that can leave riders stranded high above the ground in worsening weather conditions or plunge them suddenly to the ground, fracturing limbs. Sometimes, your injuries may happen far from the black diamond ski runs. You could slip and fall on an unsalted ice patch on your way into the ski lodge before ever heading out onto the powder.

Another hazard that could lead to a skiing accident is defective equipment, from fogged-up goggles to ski poles that break on your downhill run.

How Does the Colorado Ski Safety Act Affect Skiing Injury Claims?

A Colorado personal injury attorney at The Morgan Law Group can explain how the Colorado Ski Safety Act could potentially affect any personal injury claim you may want to make following a snowboarding or skiing accident.

Reasonable people can agree that skiing and snowboarding are two inherently dangerous activities that can lead to injuries. As such, ski resort operators have a layer of protection from lawsuits arising from personal injury claims of those who got hurt skiing. But as with most legal rules, there is an exception. If the injuries suffered by the plaintiff were caused by alleged negligence on the part of the ski resort operator, there may be legal recourse available.

Negligent Operators Don’t Get a Pass

The Colorado Ski Safety Act does not protect negligent operators from the consequences of their failure to uphold the safety standards of their industry. For instance, the following incidents could be allegedly caused by operator negligence:

  • Failing to mark hazards – Resort infrastructure like fire hydrants and water pipes, as well as “other man-made structures” must be clearly marked. The hazards they pose could otherwise be obscured by snow.
  • Failing to outfit snowmobiles – All snowmobiles that are used on trails or slopes must fly a 40-square-inch, six-foot, fluorescent flag, have operable headlights and taillights, and working brakes.
  • Failing to mount appropriate signage – Operators of ski resorts have the duty of care to properly label signs designating the difficulty of the trails and ski runs. They also need to post instructions on how to mount and dismount from ski lifts, among other dangers.

If your skiing or snowboarding injury occurred in similar circumstances to those of the above trio, you could potentially seek legal recourse from the ski resort owner/operator.

Who Else Might Bear Responsibility for Your Skiing/Snowboarding Accident?

Some people get injured on the ski runs through no fault of their own or of the owners or operators of the ski resort. While the Ski Safety Act provides general protections to you and other skiers with whom you may collide on the way down the slopes, it doesn’t cover intentional acts of harm. Also, accidents caused by another skier’s alleged intoxication from consuming alcohol or other drugs could open that individual to personal liability for any injuries or deaths resulting from their actions.

The maintenance company hired to groom the slopes and repair any broken or worn-out equipment might bear some liability if they failed to act upon learning of a malfunction or should have known about it had they been properly doing their jobs.

What to Do In the Aftermath of an Accident on the Ski Slopes

The first thing to do following an accident is to seek medical attention. Reporting the accident to the ski patrol allows them to summon emergency first responders to the scene to assess and evaluate the conditions of the injured. The faster a seriously wounded skier can get to a trauma center for treatment, the better their chances of a full recovery.

You should also know that if you are involved in a skiing collision with another individual on the ski runs, under the terms of the Ski Safety Act, you should give your name and address to either the ski patrol or a ski resort employee.

If the person requires emergency assistance, you may ski off to sound the alarm and then provide responders with your name and address.

Finding a Path to Civil Justice

Skiing and snowboarding accidents can leave victims with painful fractures that limit their mobility. Traumatic brain injuries and paralysis from spinal cord damage are permanent and life-changing. Those who survive such catastrophic injuries are often never able to work again. They may require round-the-clock skilled nursing care that is expensive and will quickly deplete any insurance policies and cash reserves.

In the aftermath of a serious snowboarding or skiing accident, you may be confused and frustrated because life as you knew it has now irrevocably changed. As you struggle to adjust to the “new normal” for you and your loved ones, it is important to understand that you don’t have to face the uncertainty of the future alone.

While the waiver you signed before ever getting onto the lift protects the resort and other skiers from liability in most skiing accidents, The Morgan Law Group knows the limits of the Ski Safety Act when it comes to negligence and liability.

We’re here to help injured Colorado residents and visitors to the beautiful ski slopes of the Centennial State. Call The Morgan Law Group at (303) 502-9586 to speak to a personal injury lawyer who understands Colorado personal injury law and the limitations of the Ski Safety Act.