Living in the beautiful state of Oregon affords us many wonderful outdoor recreational activities all year round. This time of the year, when days are dry and cold, conditions are wonderful for skiing and snowboarding in our state’s mountainous terrain. There are several ski resorts located throughout Oregon, but before you hit the slopes it is important to give some thought to personal safety and injury issues on the mountain. Skiing and snowboarding are fun winter activities, but they aren’t without risks: every year people get injured while skiing or boarding in Oregon.
The personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC regularly receive calls from individuals who have been injured in Oregon ski accidents. The first question that we must answer when evaluating a potential ski injury claim is “who was at fault”.
In general, there are three possible responses to this question. Sometimes the skier himself or herself is at fault and because they have assumed certain risks by engaging in skiing or boarding – which are considered to be inherently dangerous sports – then they will be unable to recover damages from the ski resort where their accidents and injuries occurred. My next blog post in this series will discuss assumption of the risk doctrine as well as Oregon’s current law surrounding ski accidents.
If an individual skier or snowboarder has been injured due to the negligence or reckless conduct of another, then damages can be sought from one of two external sources. First, you can seek to recover damages from fellow skiers or snowboarders, or even from non-skiing individuals who are out on the slopes, if those people were in some way responsible for your injuries. Finally, if the ski resort is truly responsible for your accident and injuries because of their negligence and failure to maintain their trails and equipment in proper conditions, then you can sue the ski area operator.
Consult an Expert as Soon as Possible
If you have been injured in a ski resort accident and you yourself were not negligent, it is important to remember that your claim may be against the resort itself or against another skier or snowboarder. If, for instance, a skier races downhill at a speed so great that he or she looses control and slams into you, breaking your arm, then that skier was negligent in a number of ways and a claim could be brought against him/her.
Ski and snowboard accidents are complicated and many do not stand up in court because Oregon law states that skiers knowingly and willingly assume some risks each time that they strap on their skis or their board and get in line for a lift. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been injured on Oregon’s slopes. The experienced attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC can evaluate your ski accident case and advocate on your behalf in negotiation with insurers and adverse parties.