accident related medical expenses

Determining Fault in Ski Resort Accidents

The question of liability in the event of a ski or snowboard accident is very important.  If you have been injured in a ski accident and the fault is your own – if, for example, you were skiing under the influence of intoxicants or if you were skiing recklessly – then you will in all likelihood shoulder the cost of your injuries.  In 2010, the state of Oregon abolished its “assumption of the risk” doctrine in negligence cases, which had provided an affirmative defense to ski reports and ski area operators in the case of personal injury to skiers and snowboarders.  Assumption of the risk in essence said that those who voluntarily participate in dangerous sports assume the risk of injury and thus are barred from recovery for injuries sustained as part of those activities.

In 2010, the Oregon Legislature struck down this plaintiff-penalizing doctrine and replaced it with ORS 30.9770-30.990, which provides that “an individual who engages in the sport of skiing, alpine or Nordic, accepts and assumes the inherent risks of skiing insofar as they are reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary”.  This new rule defines the  inherent risks of skiing to include:

  • Changing weather surfaces
  • Variations on the steepness of the terrain
  • Surface or subsurface conditions
  • Bare spots
  • Creeks and gullies
  • Forest growth
  • Rocks and stumps
  • Lift towers, and other structures and components
  • Collisions with other skiers, and
  • A skier’s failure to ski within his or her own ability.

If another skier or snowboarder caused your injuries by their reckless conduct on the slopes, then you may be able to recover damages from that other party.  If your injuries result from improperly maintained slopes, however, then you can bring action against the ski resort to be compensated for your injuries, pain, and suffering.

In the next installment of this series on ski and snowboard accidents and personal injury law, I will review how and when you must bring a claim against the negligent party.  Be safe on the slopes until then!

Personal Injury Expertise is Vital in Ski Resort Accident Cases

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.

Large Winter Weather Slip and Fall Settlement Obtained for Central Oregon Woman

It had been snowing on and off for several days at the time of this Central Oregon slip and fall incident. Our client had just returned home to her Bend, Oregon, apartment complex after a day at work.  She was walking along an outdoor pathway from the parking lot to her building when things got messy. Quite unfortunately for our client, the apartment complex’s management had decided not to sand or put deicer on the pathway along which she was walking, leaving it slippery very difficult to navigate.  To make matters worse, fresh snow had fallen on the pathway obscuring the treacherous black ice that lay beneath.

Our client walked toward her apartment exercising care, but her foot slid on a patch of snow-covered ice and she fell into her stairway head-first.  Her two front teeth were knocked out and she received a deep laceration on her upper lip.

This client made contact with the apartment comlex’s insurance company immediately following her acident.  The insurer agreed to pay for her accident-related medical expenses, but it never did.  When she couldn’t get the insurance company to live up to its word, she hired the experienced premises liability injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke to represent her and to secure her medical reimbusement.

Once hired as her lawyers, we immediately went to work contacting and negotiating with the insurance adjuster.  We faxed over copies of the bills that needed to be paid along with the anticipated cost of future medical care that our client would need based on injuries that she sustained in this slip and fall accident.

After several rounds of negotiation, all of our client’s bills had been paid in full and we were able to secure her a settlemtent that fully compensated her for her pain and suffering as well as for the future cost of her medical care.  Our client was happy with the ultimate outcome in this matter.  Additionally, she informed our personal injury law firm that the apartment complex’s management now routinely puts sand and deicer down along all of the complex’s pathways during wintertime to avoid further slip and fall accidents like this one.

Premises liability is that area of personal injury law which concerns landowner liability for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises.  In the state of Oregon, landowners have responsibilities to members of the public who come upon their land.  These responsibilities differ depending on the kind of visitor you are on their premises: an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.  Premises liability is a complex and nuanced area of personal injury law, so if you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an experienced and competent premises liability attorney at once.  The lawyers at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC can help you develop and present your premises liability personal injury claims and to maximize the settlement that you are offered after being injured in a slip and fall injury.  Contact us today – we can help you.

Struck Pedestrian Gets Large Insurance Settlement

An Oregonian was recently walking through a parking lot to a bus stop when a driver carelessly reversed into him.  This pedestrian was knocked over with such force that his wrist and hip broke.  He called Dwyer Williams Dretke PC, experienced auto accident and pedestrian injury attorneys, and hired us to advocate on his behalf in this pedestrian accident injury claim.

Our client incurred significant accident-related medical expenses, which exceeded the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.  We contacted the at-fault driver’s insurance company and were able to convince it to disclose the at-fault driver’s policy limit.  Once we knew this dollar value, we next informed our client’s health insurance provider that there would be insufficient insurance money to pay all of our client’s accident-related medical and treatment bills.

After several rounds of negotiation, our client’s health insurance provider agreed to cut its lien by 50 percent.  With this reduction in place, we were able to get pay off our client’s accident-related medical expenses and to secure him a large pain and suffering settlement.  Our client was thrilled with his settlement package and with the professional pedestrian injury representation given to him by Dwyer Williams Dretke PC.


Generous Insurance Settlement Reached Despite Low Policy Limits

The details of another successful Dwyer Williams Dretke PC car accident injury settlement are as follows: our client, a young and able-bodied Central Oregonian woman, was having trouble starting her car.  She popped the hood and manually opened it while waiting for another motorist to pull forward and help her jump-start the car.  This motorist accidentally stepped on the gas pedal, which caused his vehicle to lurch forward and pinned our client’s leg between the two cars.  As a result of this incident, our client was seriously injured and she sought immediate medical attention for her accident-related injuries.

The at-fault driver’s insurance provider offered to pay the full policy limit toward our client’s injuries, but unfortunately the at-fault driver was only insured for the minimum amount required under Oregon law.  Under Oregon law, all vehicle insurance policies must carry at least $15,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  This meager amount was not enough to cover our client’s prohibitive medical bills.

Our client sought the help of Dwyer Williams Dretke PC because we are experienced auto accident injury lawyers with a track record of success throughout the state of Oregon.  She knew that she could entrust her legal situation with us and that we would secure her the fairest possible settlement given the facts and parties involved in this case.

After reaching out to the health providers that provided services to our client following her accident, we were able to get several to significantly reduce their bills.  We also convinced our client’s insurance provider to waive its lien on the $30,000 in medical expenses that it covered for our client.  Once these arrangements had been made, the case settled and all of our client’s accident-related medical expenses were taken care of.  Our client also received a reasonable settlement to compensate her for her pain and suffering.