Ski accidents, snowboard accidents, and sledding/tubing accidents are somewhat common in the mountains of West Virginia – but who is at fault for these accidents, and can you collect compensation from the at-fault parties? Because of the inherent risks of downhill skiing and other snow sports, and because of special laws protecting ski resorts, it can be more difficult to file a successful personal injury claim against a ski resort operator than other parties. Below, we will look at some of the reasons ski accident injury claims are more complex than many other types of personal injury claims.
The West Virginia Skiing Responsibility Act
Most states that have ski resorts also have laws protecting those resorts from many types of personal injury claims, stating that downhill skiing comes with an inherent risk of injury. West Virginia is no different.
The Skiing Responsibility Act is a West Virginia law that immunizes ski resort owners and operators from liability connected to the dangers of the sport that are “essentially impossible to eliminate.” For example, if a skier is injured while skiing outside of their ability, collides with another skier, or falls due to weather conditions, they likely cannot collect damages. However, if the ski resort is negligent, or does not provide reasonably safe conditions, they are still liable to subsequent injuries.
Also under this law, volunteer ski patrol members are immunized for claims related to rescue operations involving skiers and ski resorts.
Signing Waivers Before Skiing
In addition to the Skiing Responsibility Act, ski resorts also often ask anyone buying a pass for the slopes to sign a waiver. These waivers are contracts that ask the skier to recognize the dangers of skiing and waiving their right to seek compensation in the result of an accident and injury.
Suing Other At-Fault Parties on the Slopes
While it is often difficult to sue ski slopes following an injury, you may have a case in which other involved parties were at fault. For example, if you collided with another skier who was behaving in a reckless manner, you could sue them for their actions.
Other Accidents and Injuries at Ski Resorts
Not all ski resort accidents happen on the slopes or when you are skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at the lodge, in a restaurant, or on the property, and if that injury was caused by ski resort negligence, you have a premises liability case. If you can prove that the ski resort did not take reasonable care to keep guests safe, they may be responsible for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Share Your Story with a West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Because of the specific legislation surrounding ski resort personal injury cases, skiing accident claims can be complicated. It is vital to talk with an experienced and knowledgeable West Virginia personal injury attorney about your case so that you fully understand your rights and your best options for legal actions. Call our legal offices today to request a free, private consultation.