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Pay attention to skiing responsibility code to avoid accidents

A collision on the ski slopes can result in severe or even permanent injury. In extreme cases this could mean that the injured person will no longer be able to ski -- it could also mean paralysis if the person's spinal cord gets injured. Injury on the slopes can happen for a number of reasons. A skier can crash into a tree or other object, or lose control on dangerous terrain. Sometimes these accidents don't involve other people, and skier error or inexperience may be to blame. But when a serious injury results from a collision between two skiers, there can be disagreement over who is responsible, and therefore liable, for costs related to the accident. 

In a recent case in Austria, for example, a skier was injured when a six-year-old girl turned suddenly into her path. The woman initially sued the adult who had been responsible for the child at the time of the crash. When that attempt failed, she proceeded to sue the child, presumably in an attempt to secure insurance money to help pay for her injuries, which were reported to be significant. 

The Austrian court has so far determined that the woman and child bear equal responsibility for the crash that injured the woman, thus reducing the potential amount of settlement the woman may be eligible to receive. 

Regardless of how the case turns out, it is worth noting that International Ski Federation (FIS) as well as the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) have safety codes that skiers and snowboarders are expected to follow when on the slopes. 

The FIS safety code includes the following directives:

  • The skier in front has the right of way.
  • Don't stop on the slope where you won't be visible to oncoming skiers.
  • Only pass another skier if you leave enough room for that skier to make a sudden move.
  • Heed all signs and markings on the slope.
  • Look both up and down a slope when entering a marked run.

In a skiing or snowboarding accident, the degree to which skiers follow accepted safety protocol may determine the balance of liability in a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been in a skiing and snowboarding accident and have questions about whether you have a case, contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in recreational accident cases. 

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