With winter comes winter sports, and many people take the time to hit the slopes around this time of year. As with any sport, there’s some expectation of skiing injuries. Skiing and snowboarding are high-velocity activities.
Most ski resorts make guests sign waivers to remove liability. But is there any situation where contacting a personal injury attorney is still appropriate? This blog sheds light on your legal rights to pursue a personal injury claim against ski operators even when you signed the waiver before doing the sports.
Risks of winter sports
The most common causes of personal injury in winter sports are falls and collisions. On hitting a hard surface like ice, you run the risk of concussion, shoulder dislocation, ankle sprains, spinal injuries, and brain injuries. When you try to cram too much action on hitting the slopes, you’re more likely to sustain knee injuries. You may also be exposed to cold-related injuries, including frostbite, hypothermia, muscle sprains, strains, and sunburn.
What makes a valid waiver
The use of ski area premises and facilities often comes with a waiver. By signing the waiver, you give up the right to commence a lawsuit against the ski-hill operator for injuries sustained while participating in the ski or snowboarding activity. By signing the agreement, you are bound by it even if you don’t read it. From a legal perspective, the person signing the waiver is generally deemed to have understood the terms of the waiver.
The waiver is valid if it’s specifically applicable to the circumstances, consistent with public policy, and refrains from being unconscionable. Apart from signed agreements, waivers are also valid if they’re printed on ski lift tickets and signage posted on the premises, and the ski operator has taken reasonable steps to bring the same to the guests’ attention.
Can you file a lawsuit if you signed a waiver?
Some injured skiers may think they can’t sue the ski resort because they signed a waiver. However, there are certain situations where liability waivers may not be valid:
- you were induced by fraud or misrepresentation to sign the liability waiver;
- the liability waiver wasn’t presented as a waiver, but as something milder (e.g., a registration form);
- the resort didn’t take all reasonable steps to bring the terms of the waiver to your attention;
- you couldn’t completely understand the waiver as it wasn’t worded broadly enough;
- the waiver is unconscionable—unfair conditions and unreadable content.
Whom can you sue in ski accident lawsuits? You can hold the resort liable if they fail to maintain safe premises—slopes, ski lifts, and other equipment. You can file a claim against a negligent ski event organizer or reckless fellow skier.
If malfunctioning equipment caused the accident, you may also be eligible to file a product liability claim. For instance, you can hold the product company liable if your ski binding malfunctioned and you hit a tree.
When to contact a personal injury attorney
Skiing and snowboarding accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, resulting in serious economic and non-economic losses. If you or your loved one has been injured at a ski resort, you may wonder what your options are and whether you can sue the ski resort.
You may be entitled to compensation, but it can be challenging to prove that the ski resort was at fault for your injuries. Connect with an experienced personal injury lawyer to investigate your accident. With legal assistance, you’ll get more clarity about your rights when conditions of waiver are posing a serious dilemma.
With LegalASAP, you’ll secure the best representation to get the maximum compensation possible. By connecting you with the best lawyers for personal injury, we can help you establish solid proof and maximize your chances of claim success. Contact LegalASAP today and take our free personal injury evaluation to see if you qualify and get the legal help you need.