You were skiing or snowboarding. Then a rider from above, cruising at a high speed, slammed into you from behind. That other rider or snowboarder was negligent and should be held responsible for your injuries and pain and suffering. A key is identifying the bad rider before he or she takes off. All ski injury collisions have a duty to report the event to the ski area before leaving and you should too. If you can’t do that Oregon law requires you ( and the other person involved) to notify the ski area of the injury accident by certified mail within 180 days. ORS 30.985.
Keep in mind most ski and snowboard injuries are not anyone’s fault, just an inherent risk of skiing. In fact, Oregon has a law that precludes injury claims that are the result of the inherent risks of skiing. That law is ORS 30.975. ORS 30.975 states 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. ORS 30.970. Inherent risks include conditions which are an integral part of the sport; changing weather; variations in terrain; and, failure to ski within ability. Id. But the inherent risk rule was not intended to protect dangerous skiers or bad equipment manufactures / operators from responsibility. See, Stiles v. Nidecker Enterprises Or App (2002).
All skiers and boarders must ride responsibly. Specific duties include:
- Maintaining “control of speed and course”
- Riding within own skill level
- Abiding by ski area operator directions
- Familiarizing self with posted information
- Not crossing the uphill track (unless marked)
- Yielding to downhill skier & as entering slope
Lawyer Richard Rizk is the only lawyer to with the Far West Ski Association’s “Safety Person of the Year” award. He is a veteran skier, former president of Cascade Ski Club and former Vice President of the Northwest Ski Club Counsel.