Accidents and injuries on Colorado ski slopes are not uncommon. Skiing and snowboarding accidents can be very serious and even fatal, highlighting the importance of understanding why the serious or fatal accident happened and how to prevent them from happening in the future.An investigation into Colorado ski resorts found that resorts rely on ski patrollers to investigate and document all accidents instead of having local law enforcement or forest rangers determine how the accident happened and who was to blame. The investigations can significantly impact a ski resort’s liability in an accident and a new report found that many ski patroller investigations may be incomplete or inaccurate, making it more difficult for accident victims and their families to hold ski resorts liable.Victims of accidents and their families often have a difficult time even getting the ski resort’s accident investigation report because the victim needs the resort’s permission or a court order to obtain any reports regarding the accident. This alone can make it difficult for families to pursue any legal action against a ski resort.
When they do receive the report, they have to trust that the ski patroller’s investigation was accurate and complete because they are usually the only ones who investigate an accident and submit a report. If law enforcement is involved, they often have to rely on the ski resort’s report to determine if any criminal activity took place.
Having ski resorts investigate their own accidents is not as effective for the victim or the police because some ski resorts may try to hide any information that may indicate their negligence or liability in an accident. If accident victims or their families do not agree with the ski resort’s report, they would have to rely on witness testimony and other evidence to prove that the ski resort was at fault and can held legally liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
While victims of ski resort accidents have been able to win their lawsuits against a ski resort, many want the investigation process at ski resorts to change so victims of accidents as well as the police can understand what fully happened and if any legal action should be taken against the responsible party.
Ski accident victims who were injured due to the negligence of the ski resort should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their specific case and what can be done to prove that a ski resort was responsible for the accident as well as keep the public safe from visiting unsafe ski resorts.
Source: Denver Post, “Colorado system for investigating ski accidents raises concerns,” Karen Crummy, March 17, 2013