Thousands of people hit the slopes each winter in Pennsylvania to enjoy the snow and winter sports like snowboarding, tubing, and skiing. As fun as snowboarding is, it can be a dangerous sport. Dangerous slopes, poorly maintained or designed grounds, and winter sport novices mixing with more experienced enthusiasts who ride at top speeds can be recipe for disaster.
Serious accidents are not uncommon. Unfortunately for snowboarding accident victims, Pennsylvania law provides ample protection for ski resorts, which makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for victims to recover their losses. Each case is different, though. If you or a loved one were hurt in recent snowboarding accident, call a snowboarding accident & injury lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green to discuss your legal options.
The consultation is free: 412-661-1400.
Can I sue a ski resort for my snowboarding accident?
The Pennsylvania statutes house the Skier’s Responsibility Act, a law that shields ski resorts from liability to snowboarders, skiers, and other patrons. Recognizing that resorts greatly boost Pennsylvania’s economy, lawmakers enacted this protection on the grounds that downhill skiing and snowboarding are inherently risky and that those who partake assume the risk.
In other words, the Skier’s Responsibility Act, found in 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, prevents injured snowboarders from suing the ski resort for many types of accidents. Most resorts go an extra step and mandate that all patrons sign a waiver that releases the resort from liability if an accident occurs.
The statute is rather vague, but case law has expounded. The following are some examples of situations in which the courts have ruled that patrons assume risk for their injuries at ski resorts:
- Colliding with fence or telephone posts (Smith v. Seven Springs Ski Resort)
- Being struck by another snowboarder or skier (Bell v. Dean III)
- Snowboarding in inclement weather
Are there any situations in which I can recover damages for a snowboard accident?
As with many laws and regulations, there are exceptions to the rule. With some types of snowboard accident injuries, the Skier’s Responsibility Act may not apply. Below are a few examples of cases in which someone may be able to sue and recover damages for a snowboard accident:
- Victims who fall from ski lifts may be able to hold resorts liable in certain cases (Chepkevich v. Hidden Valley Resort, L.P.).
- Spectators injured in a snowboard accident at a ski resort may still be able to sue. Pennsylvania judges have noted that injury standing on the sidelines is not an “inherent risk” of skiing or snowboarding. (Barillari v. Ski Shawnee).
- Snowboarders may still be able to sue if their accident resulted from the actions of another snowboarder who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Crews v. Seven Springs Mountain Resort).
- The Skier’s Responsibility Act does not protect snowboard manufacturers. When a snowboarder is injured because of a defective board or board component, then s/he may be able to sue the manufacturer to recover his/her losses.
- When someone is injured while snowboarding on private property, the victim may still be entitled to file a claim against the owner if certain elements exist.
Many people mistakenly think that state law prevents them from recovering compensation for all snowboarding injuries. There are circumstances under which you still may be able to recover.
While it may be challenging to win a claim, it is certainly in your best interests to run your case by one our lawyers at Berger and Green and see exactly what your legal options are. We will examine your claim and consult case law to determine whether you have a valid case.
What types of damages can I recover for my snowboarding accident?
If you are eligible to file a claim for your snowboarding injuries, you can seek compensation for your current and future losses and expenses associated with your injuries. There are two general categories of damages you can recover:
- Special damages: These are for your financial losses, such as medical bills, loss of wages, in-home nurse care, transportation expenses for medical care, and long-term disability.
- General damages: These are for your intangible, non-monetary losses such as depression and anxiety, loss of enjoyment in life, and other psychological and emotional issues that you experience because of your injuries.
The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are dozens of additional things for which you may be able obtain reimbursement. Your claim could be worth hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars, depending on your injuries. Berger and Green works with experts determine the full value of your case and will take the necessary steps to secure compensation.
Do not lose hope after a serious snowboard accident. We can help.
Many inexperienced lawyers avoid snowboarding accidents altogether because courts typically side disproportionately with ski resorts. Not Berger and Green. Ski resort liability for snowboarding accidents is very narrow, but we do not give up easily. Our team will investigate all the facts of the case, look for cracks in the shield of liability, and identify any opportunities you may have for recovery.
Many courts rule in favor of the defendant (ski resort) because the snowboarder assumed “inherent risks”. But we may be able to present the argument that your injuries resulted from something that was not an inherent risk (like a drunken teenager or standing on the sidelines) that the resort could have prevented.
For your and your family’s best interests, enlist the help of a seasoned attorney who has handled accidents of this nature before and knows how to skillfully pursue snowboarding accident cases. Call a Berger and Green injury attorney in Pittsburgh today and request a free consultation: 412-661-1400.