Although you are an avid snow skier, you decided to rent equipment while visiting friends in another state as opposed to taking your own. However, while swishing down a blue run, your equipment failed, causing you to break your leg. After taking the ride of shame down the hill thanks to the aid of the ski patrol, you get to the hospital only to discover that the break is relatively significant.
Unfortunately, you had to go through surgery to stabilize the break, and while you have good health insurance, you still ended up with substantial medical expenses. Whether due to a flawed ski pole, a broken strap on your boot, or another type of equipment failure, you want to know if you can sue the ski resort or equipment rental shop for the expenses incurred.
Your legal rights depend on several things. For example, if another skier collided with you on the slope, unless that individual stopped to check on you or another skier followed him or her down the trail to get identification, you would probably never get the person’s name. As far as faulty equipment, you have limited options in trying to prove the ski resort or equipment rental shop was at fault.
The challenge is that in states where the snow skiing industry thrives, laws prevent you from suing if the accident occurred from “inherent risks” of the sport. In other words, as a skier, you take on liability the minute you get off the chairlift. That way, ski resorts, as well as associated equipment rental shops, have protection against most claims of negligence.
Typically, laws for the skiing industry offer resorts and equipment rental shops with protection when skiing outside of a designated area, colliding with another skier, and skiing on slopes beyond your ability. However, if the resort did not mark a trail properly or groomed the trails incorrectly or if an individual rented sub-par or ill-fitting equipment, winning a lawsuit is possible.
For your situation, you need to contact a reputable personal injury attorney who will determine if the court will view your case as an “inherent risk of skiing” or negligence on behalf of another skier, the resort, or the equipment rental shop. For example, in many states, the law describes the way resorts must do things like posting trail signs. Also, people who work in equipment rental shops should have extensive training, experience, and expertise to ensure they fit every skier, regardless of ability, with the right equipment.
Your attorney will investigate the situation, including the laws governing the state where you skied and the regulations and warnings posted by the resort and equipment rental shop. If the “inherent risk of skiing” laws do not apply in your situation, there is a chance that you can hold the resort, rental shop, or both liable. With so many factors involved, your best chance of winning a lawsuit comes from hiring an attorney who specializes in this area of physical injury.