blog home Personal Injury Why Skiing Lawsuits are Uncommon in Colorado

Why Skiing Lawsuits are Uncommon in Colorado

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on March 10, 2020

Skiing is an exhilarating sport, and the Colorado slopes are known across the globe for having some of the best resorts for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. As the ski industry brings millions of visitors to the state each year, Colorado lawmakers have enacted a piece of legislation, the Colorado Ski Safety Act. This act limits the liability of ski resorts when a skier is injured.

The law makes filing a claim or lawsuit to seek damages from a ski resort far more challenging, as it must be established that negligence directly caused your injury, as opposed it being caused by the inherent risks of the sport. If you were injured on the slopes in Colorado, you it is in your best interest to understand the law – and your rights as a victim.

The Responsibilities of Ski Resorts Under the Colorado Ski Safety Act

Under the Colorado Ski Safety Act, ski resorts are required to follow regulations in several categories, including:

  • Providing reasonably safe slopes
  • Adequate signage around the lifts and slopes to provide skiers with enough information to make safe choices
  • Reasonably maintained slopes
  • Well-marked snowmobiles that do not pose a safety hazard to skiers

The Responsibilities of Skiers Under the Colorado Ski Safety Act

Skiers are also required to uphold certain responsibilities when on the slopes, both regarding their own safety and the safety of others. These responsibilities include:

  • Understanding that any injury from changing weather conditions, skiing beyond your ability, bare spots, skiing off the slopes, collisions with natural objects, human-made objects, or other skiers is not the responsibility of the ski slope operator.
  • Complying with all instructions and directions from ski hill staff.
  • Controlling your speed and maintaining safe skiing for yourself and others, and with the responsibility in any collision generally falling on the skier colliding downhill.
  • Not entering areas marked “closed” to ski.
  • Safely using ski lifts and other devices.
  • Ensuring your skis or snowboards are secured to your body.
  • Not leaving the scene of a collision with another skier without exchanging personal information.

Violations of these responsibilities can be charged as a class 2 petty offense with a fine of up to $300.

So, When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is based on three key elements:

  • That the person being sued (defendant) owed a duty of care to the victim
  • That the defendant breached that duty
  • That the breach resulted in the victim’s injury

In other words, you have to show that the inherent dangers of skiing were not the cause of your injury, but rather that the negligence of a ski resort or slope operator did. For example:

  • If you trip and land on a tree stump and are injured, the ski resort would NOT be liable.
  • If you rented skis, but one was defective and that caused the injury, the rental company CAN be held liable.
  • If the ski resort failed to post the proper signage that resulted in you skiing on a difficult slope far above your skill level, leading to an injury, you CAN sue for damages.
  • If ski lift equipment was defective and this resulted in an injury, you CAN sue for damages.

If you’ve suffered an injury while skiing due to a failure of a resort, lift operator, or ski hill staff that failed to follow standard regulations and safety procedures, you DO have the right to sue for damages. If this has happened to you or a loved one, your next step should be to contact a Colorado personal injury attorney to protect your rights and seek financial compensation for all damages.

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