Best Ski Accident Lawyers in Idaho

The state of Idaho is well known for its sweeping mountains, large tracts of protected wilderness, outdoor recreation, and skiing areas. Some of the skiing resorts get nearly 20 feet of snow in the winter, making them an ideal getaway for avid skiers. In fact, Sun Valley Ski Resort is known worldwide as the home of the very first chairlift. 

Skiing is a thrilling activity because you get to experience nature, see snow-covered vistas, and of course, it’s a fantastic way to get in some vigorous exercise. But with any outdoor activity that involves speed, accidents can happen. However, if an accident is caused by another person or because of negligence from a ski resort or ski equipment rental company, it becomes a very frustrating experience. If you’ve been hurt in a skiing accident, you may be looking for the best Idaho ski accident lawyers. At Morgan & Morgan, we’re ready to help answer any of your questions about skiing accidents and liability.  

Idaho statutes governing responsibilities and liabilities of skiers and ski area operators

Because skiing is so popular in Idaho, the state has laws concerning responsibility while skiing. In a nutshell, since recreational skiing is an inherently dangerous sport, skiers assume the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury to their person or property while skiing. Furthermore, skiers are expected to understand the terrain and to ski within the limits of their own abilities. If two skiers crash, any injuries are the responsibility of those involved in the collision, not the ski area operators. 

Just as with a car accident, skiers involved in accidents with other skiers are required to leave their name, address, and contact information before leaving the scene to notify authorities or get medical or further assistance. 

Skiers are further required to wear retention straps or other devices to prevent runaway equipment. And generally, behave as any reasonable person would around people to avoid injury to others. 

With that being said, ski area operators have a duty to maintain a safe recreational operation, including the following to prevent accidents:

  1. Mark all trail maintenance vehicles and provide said vehicles with flashing or rotating lights that operate while the vehicle is working or moving.
  2. Mark the location of snowmaking equipment with a visible sign or another warning device.
  3. Plainly mark any ski area with a symbol regarding the level of difficulty for the terrain.
  4. Provide one or more trail boards at prominent locations that display the network of trails and slopes and their difficulty level.
  5. Mark by trail board or other signage which trails are open or closed.
  6. Alert skiers when snow grooming or snowmaking operations are underway on open to the public trails with signage.
  7. Post notice that skiers are required to wear ski retention devices by law.
  8. Provide a ski patrol with qualifications that meet the standards of the national ski patrol system.
  9. Post signage alerting skiers at the bottom of aerial passenger tramways to seek assistance if they don’t know how to ride the aerial tramway.
  10. Not intentionally or negligently cause injury to any person within the standards described by law.

Are ski resorts liable for accidents?

While the above outlines personal responsibility because skiing is an inherently dangerous activity, that doesn’t mean you are not allowed any means to be compensated for injuries. Suppose a ski area operator causes injuries through hazardous conditions that are not inherent dangers. In that case, you may have cause to contact Idaho ski accident lawyers to see if we can help. 

Hazards can include unmarked open excavations, machinery parked behind a blind corner, and crashes with moving machinery such as snowmobiles or snowcats where the operator was at fault. Furthermore, a ski area operator could be liable for your injuries if the trails or slopes were improperly designed or maintained.

Additionally, laws are in place that hold ski area operators to a high standard of care when it comes to the operation and maintenance of ski lifts, trams, and tows. If the standard of care falls below what is mandated, it could open up the possibility for a claim against the resort. In essence, there must be a hazard introduced by the ski area operator that cannot be defined as an inherent danger to the sport. 

What about ski lift accidents?

Ski lifts are pretty simple in operation and have well-established technology, and are known to be relatively safe. Nonetheless, when things go wrong, it can go very wrong considering the height, skiers below, and the fact that skiers have skis or a snowboard attached to their feet. If an inexperienced rider doesn’t understand how to enter or exit the lift, and a ski lift operator fails to notice or take into account their inexperience and does not stop the lift, that rider could be injured. In fact, most ski lift injuries happen while the rider is either entering or exiting the lift. 

Ski lift accidents can occur through equipment failure, poor maintenance of the ramp, and of course, operator negligence. While the burden of proving liability is quite challenging due to a skier’s personal responsibility, when an unknown hazard is presented and causes injury, there may be room to bring a claim for compensation. 

Idaho has extensive statutes governing the safe operation of ski lifts and all elevators, for that matter. There are strict codes to ensure the safe operation, design, maintenance, inspection, and repair of ski lifts. Ski lift operators are required to be familiar with the operation and safety functions to be licensed. However, when a ski lift operator or the machine itself causes injury, often a ski resort will try to argue that the waiver you signed absolves them of any liability. In a case like this, it will require a ski accident lawyer who is highly competent to understand the nuances of the waiver and the applicable Idaho laws to establish liability. 

If you should have the misfortune of being in a serious ski lift accident such as a derailed cable, the ski area operator must report the incident to the authorities to investigate. They must present documentation concerning all aspects of the failure. However, you may not be able to get a copy of the report without a ski accident lawyer representing you. That’s because serious ski lift accidents can cause severe injuries, and you can bet their insurance company is going to try its best to protect their interests. 

Injuries caused by a ski lift can be catastrophic. You may have broken bones and internal injuries. The worst is the pain and suffering you have endured by the negligence of another. Serious injuries can cause your medical bills to skyrocket, and you may even be looking at long-term treatments and disabilities. People who are hurt in skiing accidents may not return to work for some time or have to switch careers altogether and suffer reduced income from their accident. All of these damages should be compensable if negligence can be established.

What about ski crashes with other skiers?

One of the most common causes of injury while skiing is a collision with another skier or snowboarder. Many times, these accidents can be minor, and you can both walk away with a laugh. However, since skiing can involve significant speed, a collision with another person can cause serious injuries. Laws are different on the slopes because of Idaho legislation. However, just because you understand the dangers of the sport itself does not mean you accept the responsibility of another person crashing into you. 

No matter what activity, people have a duty of care when it comes to the safety of others, and that includes skiing. The duty of care we owe each other is not just a social contract. It’s the basis for proving negligence. Similar to driving, once you make the commitment to engage in an activity, you have the duty to maintain control, yield to others, and pay attention.

If your injuries are severe, you may need a lawyer with experience in reconstructing skiing accidents and even one who is familiar with the terrain where you were injured. That’s why our Idaho ski accident lawyers are your key to success. Skiing accidents that involve other skiers often result in head injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries. Some damage may even be permanent. At this time, it’s critical to have legal representation. We may be able to recover compensation from the other party’s homeowners insurance, personal umbrella liability policy, or other assets.

What makes Morgan & Morgan Law Firm different?

We know that you have lots of options for a personal injury lawyer. Most make claims of being the best, but when it comes to following through on their promises, they fall short of their claims. This is because they often lack the skills and resources it takes to prove liability in a ski accident case. After all, it is more complex than, say, a car accident. 

You should be resting and recovering, not worrying about how to pay for your medical bills and other financial losses that come from the carelessness of another. Our Idaho ski accident lawyers will take on negotiating, investigating, and proving your claim. Perhaps most importantly, our lawyers are prepared to go to trial if necessary. That is not something all other personal injury lawyers are willing to do because it takes a lot of time, resources, and effort. Settling for less than what your claim is actually worth is easier, so other lawyers will take the easiest route, even if they know they could have done better. Morgan & Morgan lawyers never take the easy way out when it comes to getting you what you deserve.

And we prove this time after time. Our track record shows our successes. In fact, we’ve recovered billions on behalf of our clients over the course of 30-years of fighting. Most of our clients are everyday people just like yourself. When you’re ready to be represented by a lawyer with specialized knowledge in the area of ski accidents, contact us for a free case evaluation. We don’t accept any payment until we’ve successfully negotiated your claim or have won a verdict, so you literally have nothing to lose. 

If you’re ready to take your first steps in getting justice for your accident, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to get started today.

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John Morgan