Broderick Law Firm, LLC

Injured on the Slopes – Now What?


Skiing is a popular form of winter recreation, and there’s no shortage of ski resorts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But all sports carry risks, and injuries happen. In fact, it’s estimated that about 600,000 people are injured each year in skiing or snowboarding accidents. Many of these injuries are serious, including tens of thousands of head injuries. The risk is even higher to kids under 12.

If you or a family member has suffered a skiing or snowboarding injury, you may be wondering whether someone else is responsible for your medical bills and other damages. The answer depends on several factors.

Liability of the Ski Resort or Other Property Owner

Whether you may have a claim against a ski resort or other property where you were injured depends in large part on factors such as:

  • Where the injury occurred. A property owner such as a ski resort isn’t automatically responsible for injuries that happen on their land. But, they could be liable if their negligence caused your injury. If the land is made available to the public for recreational use at no charge, the landowner may be immune from suit.
  • Whether you signed a waiver. Many recreational businesses will require that you sign a waiver limiting their liability for your injuries. This may mean you can’t sue, but not necessarily. That depends on the terms of the waiver and whether it is valid in the state where the injury occurred.
  • Whether the property owner failed in a duty. Even if you didn’t sign a waiver and the landowner doesn’t have recreational use immunity, you won’t be entitled to damages from the property owner unless they had a duty to maintain the property in a safe condition or to warn you of hazards and they failed to do so. And, you’ll have to show that your injuries occurred because of that failure.

The best way to find out whether you have a claim against a Massachusetts or New Hampshire ski resort or other property owner is to speak with an experienced local premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Liability of Third Parties

There are many possible scenarios in which a third party may be responsible or partly responsible for your ski slope injuries. Two of the most common involve equipment providers/maintenance companies and other skiers.

Equipment and Maintenance Liability

Some injuries are caused in whole or part by defective or poorly maintained equipment. On the ski slopes that may mean a ski lift or tow rope, or it may mean equipment the skier or snowboarder is wearing. If defective equipment caused or contributed to the injury, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of that equipment. If the problem is faulty maintenance of fixed or rented equipment, the party responsible for maintenance may be liable. However, depending on who is responsible and the terms of the waiver you signed, some of these claims may be cut off.

Liability of Others on the Slopes

You may have seen news coverage of the recent lawsuit against Gwynneth Paltrow for allegedly negligently injuring another skier. While Paltrow won her case, a skier who is negligent by skiing recklessly, skiing or snowboarding while under the influence, or just disregarding safety rules may be responsible for harm they cause.

Protecting Against Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents

While you can’t eliminate all of the risk of an active sport like skiing or snowboarding, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. Some examples include:

  • Making sure your equipment is in good condition before you hit the slopes
  • Sticking to the hills that are suited to your skill level
  • Observing ski etiquette when you’re sharing the slopes
  • Wearing a helmet–it can dramatically reduce the risk of head injury
  • Stretch and warm up before you head out to ski or snowboard

Help for Injured Skiers and Snowboarders

If you have been injured while skiing and believe your accident happened because of negligently-maintained grounds or negligently-operated equipment, faulty equipment or someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. But, there are many variables in play. The best way to find out whether you may have a claim for damages and what type of damages may be available is to talk to an experienced ski injury lawyer right away.

Free Consultations

To schedule a free consultation with attorney Kevin P. Broderick, just call 978-459-3085 right now. Kevin has been helping people who were injured in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for decades, and can provide the knowledge, guidance, and determination you need.

Have you been injured?

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The information you obtain on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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