A personal injury lawsuit can come up for the simplest of things. However, if you’re involved in skiing, you already expose yourself to a lot of risks. In these cases, it’s important to have an idea of what you’re getting into. A skiing accident can cause severe injury to anyone involved in it. Many times, people get into skiing accidents and don’t know where to turn. An accident can be a drain on resources. When a person becomes injured they can’t work for themselves and are likely to face a series of other debilitating effects that make life painful.
When situations like these arise, the best solution is to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer. An injury lawyer can help you determine the extent of your injuries and whether you have a case to take someone else to court. A ski chair injury is particularly damaging. Some of the injuries that a person may have include spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries may be classed as catastrophic injuries and require medical care. Your medical bills are likely to mount up during this time, and you may find yourself needing financial support. Consulting a lawyer to help you sort your case out is the best course of action that you have. They will even help you deal with insurance companies if necessary. Let us take a look at what leads to ski chair injuries and how you can get compensation in line with your injuries.
How Skiing And Chair Lift Accidents Occur
There are several ways that skiing chair lifts can malfunction and cause injury to someone else. One of the less common malfunctions comes from manufacturer defects. Manufacturers usually test their ski chairs before they go out to the clients. Unfortunately, there’s no way to catch all the problems a ski lift may have, so there are times when they go out to clients and they have a malfunction. When this happens you might be able to bring a suit against the manufacturer for defective equipment.
The other side of the coin is when you have a ski area operator that doesn’t properly maintain their chairs. Ski chair maintenance requires constant checks to ensure that the lift is fully functional and all worn parts are changed or repaired. On occasion, repairs may break, leading to personal injury to someone on the ski lift. In these situations, a person may have the right to sue the operator for injury. The ski area operator will have to deal with the case and it may bring bad publicity to their establishment. As a result, the ski area operator might decide to settle the case out of court.
Ski Lift Requirements
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) has a series of guidelines regarding how to ski lift chairs are supposed to be kept and maintained. If a ski area operator is in breach of these ski chair guidelines, they may be liable for your injuries. The safe operating of the ski chair is the purvey of the ski area operator. In the case of the ski lift failing because of lack of maintenance, the fault lies with the ski area operator.
It is important to note that if the operator is held accountable they might make a counter-claim. Personal injury attorneys are always aware of counter-claims that may include property damages and other unfounded accusations. If you or someone you know ends up on the opposite end of a ski life injury, you should seek out a lawyer to help you get your financial compensation.
Legal Basis of Chair Lift Accidents
The legal basis of any personal injury accident is negligence. A ski area operator should guarantee the safe operation of their equipment. negligence occurs when the ski area operator doesn’t pay heed to the inherent risks that come with operating a ski chair. This concern doesn’t just apply to ski area operators, but to all individuals that rent or supervise the use of recreational vehicles. For example, there is inherent risk in operating an all-terrain vehicle. The supervisor is required to inform the person who is going to use the vehicle, so they can take reasonable care.
If you use a ski lift chair or any other mechanical equipment and ignore your personal responsibility to take reasonable care during use, then the ski area operator can’t be held accountable for your actions. Insurance companies will take full advantage of this fact to avoid having to pay for settlements in cases like these. Even if you suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of your chair lift accident, the operator won’t be liable if you didn’t take care of yourself. If, however, your injuries were due to the ski area operator’s negligence, you have a case.
Taking Someone to Court for Injuries
Personal injury trials typically have several phases and each one is important to the final outcome of the case. In a ski lift accident, an experienced attorney would advise you to take note of all your medical records as well as any other statements and written documents pertaining to the injury. These bits of evidence are crucial in deciding a case. More often than not, the lift operator will have insurance coverage for damages and may be able to rely on their insurer to help them with the case.
You will need professional legal representation if you are to come out on top in these cases. The ski area operator will pass on the responsibility for the case to his or her insurers. These insurers may perform an independent investigation into the accident to see if there is any way that you may be liable for your own injuries. This independent investigation may include interviewing the medical professionals that dealt with your case. They may even attempt to interview you. it is vital that you pay attention to what you say since they will use those statements against you if they can. Ideally, you should not enter into these interviews without a legal representative that has your best interests at heart.
If the insurer believes that they have no case, they will attempt to settle out of court. In these situations, having a lawyer present will help to streamline the process so that you can get a fair deal. If the insurer is convinced of their client’s innocence or believes that they can prove that you were responsible for your own injuries, they are likely to let the case go to court.
At the heart of a personal injury case is the question of negligence. Who was negligent in their duty of care to whom? Proving negligence focuses on three specific areas that a ski lift operator may or may not fall into. These areas are:
- Neglected their duty of care: If the operator was negligent in their duty of care or committed gross negligence through oversight, then they are liable for your injuries.
- Recklessness: If a lift operator was reckless in their behavior, or did something to knowingly cause injury to a participant, they are liable for the participant’s injuries.
- Failure to Obey the Operation Code: If in operating the ski lift, the operator didn’t follow the guidelines for the lift’s safety, they would be held accountable for their actions.
Skiers also have a duty of responsibility to themselves and the ski area operator. If a skier was negligent in their duty to protect themselves after assuming the inherent risk of their pastime, they are responsible for their own injuries.
Preserving Evidence in a Ski Chair Case
On the icy slopes it can be difficult to preserve evidence. If someone is injured in a lift accident, the first thing that must be done is to seek emergency medical attention. However, seeking medical aid usually means vacating the site of the incident. Ideally, investigators would be called to respond to the report of an injury, but there is a window of time where the location may not even be observed, leaving it open to evidence tampering.
To preserve evidence in cases like these, all that is required is a mindful friend. Having them take pictures of the injury and the site will help to keep the relevant information in a recorded format. In the case of evidence or site tampering the pictures would be viable to show that such an event occurred. Police that shows up on the site will be able to confirm the truth of those photographs through visual inspection of the site.
Compensation in These Cases
Lift accident cases can be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being. Damages in these cases can encompass a wide range of issues, from catastrophic injuries like TBIs and spinal cord damages to broken bones. If the insurance provider settles the case out of court, chances are they will aim for a settlement that requires them to pay less to you as a result of your injuries. Your lawyer should be present during the negotiation if you decide to settle out of court to avoid this issue.
In many cases, the insurance company will decide to go to court because they think they can prove that you might be responsible for some or all of your injuries. West Virginia is a modified comparative fault state. This means that you may be responsible for some part of your injuries, which reduces the cost of the settlement to the guilty party. As the West Virginia Legal Code notes, the comparative fault may result in you getting paid less because the defendant (the lift operator in this case) can prove you were partially responsible for your injuries.
Regardless of the amount of settlement you get, they should cover elements such as medical costs and the amount you’ll have to pay for ongoing treatment and surgery. Even if you don’t get the entirety of your medical bills covered by the defendant, you will still manage to get some settlement that will help you cope with the financial responsibility of being injured. Having professional legal counsel is of the utmost importance when facing a court trial. You can represent yourself, but the chances are good that you won’t get the settlement you’re entitled to.
Getting Help with a Virginia Chair Lift Accident
You should never be afraid to ask for help. When you’re dealing with an injury from a ski chair accident, you should deal with your health and well-being first. All other concerns should come later. Your legal representation will be able to follow up with filing the case and dealing with the necessary details. This is why your lawyer is such an integral part of seeking justice. You should find a professional legal counsel in West Virginia that has your best interests at heart. If you need an accident lawyer in West Virginia, give us a call today. We’d be glad to help you get justice for your personal injury.
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