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I’ve Been Hit by Another Skier and I am Injured!

Ski Safety I – Crashes Between Skiers

Imagine you are at any number of Colorado’s world-class ski resorts, enjoying a beautiful day of skiing with your friends or loved ones. You are skiing within your means, and safely navigating the ski trail, when all of a sudden you find yourself laying on the ground, staring at the sky. You have been in a collision with another skier. They came from behind you, so you never had a chance to see them before they ran into you. You heard a popping sound in one of your knees, which you now know is a torn ACL. You now need costly surgery and recovery treatment, which might affect much more than your ski season. What happens now?

Duties of Skiers on the Slopes

The duties and rights of skiers are codified into law by a Colorado statute known as the Ski Safety Act, located at C.R.S. § 33-44-101 et. seq. The stated purpose of the Ski Safety Act is to define the rights and responsibilities of both skiers and ski resorts, in order to strike a balance between realizing the inherent dangers of skiing and allowing injured people to seek compensation when they have been injured by another person or a ski resort’s employees. C.R.S. § 33-44-102. Obligations exist for both skiers and ski resorts, but this article focuses on just the obligations of skiers, based on the story above.

The Ski Safety Act provides an extensive list of duties for all skiers, which you have likely also seen on the back of your lift ticket or season pass. These duties are as follows:

  1. Each skier has the responsibility of knowing their own abilities, and skiing within those abilities. They accept the inherent risks of skiing, and may be prevented from bringing a lawsuit against a ski resort. A collision with another skier is NOT an inherent risk of skiing.
  2. Each skier must maintain control of their speed and direction at all times, and must be vigilant of their surroundings. “The primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects” in front of them.
  3. No skiers are allowed to enter a trail that is marked “Closed.”
  4. Skiers must avoid all grooming equipment, vehicles, ski lift infrastructure, and signs.
  5. Each skier has a duty to understand all posted information and warnings. Skiers are presumed to have read all posted information via signs, notices, and maps located throughout a ski resort.
  6. All skis and snowboards should be equipped with some sort of strap to prevent them from causing danger if they become unattached while skiing.
  7. Skiers must NOT cross the path of certain lifts (J-bars, T-bars, Platter Pulls, or Rope Tows) except at designated crossing points.
  8. When stopped, a skier has the duty of avoiding skiers who are already moving when they begin to move again.
  9. Skiers must NOT use any ski trail or ride any lift when they are impaired by alcohol or any controlled substance.
  10. Skiers must NOT leave the vicinity of a collision they were involved in, before giving their name and current address to an employee of the ski resort or to a member of the ski patrol, unless emergency aid must be given BEFORE this information is obtained.
  11. Skiers must NOT enter public or private land next to a ski resort, if the land has been closed by a boundary line or otherwise marked as “Closed.”

C.R.S. § 33-44-109.

Skiers have a number of duties when skiing at resorts in Colorado, but a few of these are more important for our story today. Namely, the most important sections are those which lay out who is responsible for crashes, and how those crashes are reported.

Reporting of Incidents by Ski Patrol

After your collision, you may not know the extent of your injuries, but one thing remains certain – if you are not in need of emergency, life-saving treatment right now, you must wait near the scene of the collision for Ski Patrol to arrive. They are going to assess injuries, but they will also begin their reporting protocol such as taking down your name and address, as well as those from the person who hit you. This information will be necessary later, but your main concern at this moment should be whether you are seriously injured and what kind of treatment you need.

Who Pays For My Injuries?

Once the incident is over, you have gone through surgery for your torn ACL, and now you are going through physical therapy to regain strength in your leg, the question remains of how you will be able to pay for all of these bills, and who is responsible. We turn back to the language of the Ski Safety Act for answers to these questions.

First, we know that you were hit from behind. As stated in the Ski Safety Act, the uphill skier has the primary duty of avoiding skiers below (in front of) them. This means that, unless you were also skiing in an unsafe manner in a way that made it impossible for them to avoid you, they are presumed to be at fault in the collision. Here, you were skiing within your ability and safely traveling down a ski trail when you were hit from behind.

Second, we know who hit you. Since the ski patroller took down all parties’ information at the time of the crash, and listed that information in their incident report, you know exactly who crashed into you, and their most recent home address.

Under Colorado Law, this skier is likely liable for your injuries, and owes you compensation for any losses they foreseeably caused by hitting you on that day. This obviously includes your medical bills for surgery and physical therapy, but also includes your missed work, other costs associated with your injury, any future medical care you will need, and your pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your claim and will fight for you to get you compensated for your losses arising out of this ski crash. Be aware – under Colorado Law you only have two years to file a lawsuit after your incident, so the sooner you can get help from an attorney, the better.

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We’re ready and eager to tackle whatever tough personal injury issue you’re dealing with in Denver and all of Colorado. Your case matters here.




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