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Ski Resort Accidents: Who Is To Blame?

While New York has some excellent ski resorts, many aren’t aware of the high risk of an accident until they have already been injured. More than 40 people die each year in the U.S. from skiing/snowboarding accidents, on average, according to the National Ski Areas Association (SKAA).

The SKAA fatality statistic does not tell the whole story, either. The aforementioned fatality count excludes participants who are not at a commercial resort, athletes in competitions and resort employees. Fortunately, most skiing accidents do not result in death. However, even nonfatal injuries can be life-changing.

Our law firm will occasionally receive a call from someone whose family has been impacted by a skiing or snowboarding accident. The person wants to know what rights he or she has to collect compensation.

Most skiing injuries do not result in successful personal injury claims. To hold the ski resort liable, the injured person needs to prove that the resort’s negligence caused the accident. Examples of situations where the ski hill may potentially be responsible for harm include:

  • The ski resort fails to properly mark boundaries and erect fencing.
  • A ski lift, tow rope or gondola malfunctions.
  • The employee of the ski resort acts negligently within the scope of his or her job duties.

One of the ways ski hills protect themselves from lawsuits is through waivers of liability. Virtually every person lawfully skiing at a commercial ski resort has acquiesced to a liability waiver. It is often incorporated into a “lift ticket.” If you have a ski pass, take a look at it. It likely has fine print disclaiming liability for all injuries or death.

Liability waivers are not bulletproof, however. As mentioned above, if the ski hill or one of its employees’ negligent actions caused you or a family member harm, you may have a valid personal injury claim. An experienced New York recreational liability attorney will help assess your situation and explain your legal rights.


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