Products Liability in Oregon

According to Oregon law, ski statutes protect ski area operators, but the defense of assumption of risk does not protect ski equipment manufacturers and dealers. See Stiles v. Freemotion, Inc. 59 P.3d 548 (Or. App. 2002).

In the Stiles case, an injured snowboarder sued the manufacturer of the snowboard and the dealer who had loaned him the board. Stiles alleged that he should have been warned about a design defect whereby the binding was placed forward of the center of gravity. The lower court’s ruling in favor of the defendants was not overturned, but the court clarified that the assumption of risk defense does not apply to manufacturers of ski equipment.

If your skiing injury is caused by a defective product, you could have a case against the manufacturer or dealer.Richard Rizk has handled many products liability cases and can help you seek recovery against companies that should have known or warned about the dangers of their products.

Injured skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed success under products liability theories. In the California case, Westlye v. Look Sports, Inc., 22 Cal.Rptr.2d (Cal. App., 3d Dist. 1993), a skier suffered a fall while skiing at the Sugar Bowl resort. The safety binding on his left ski failed to release his boot, which he alleged caused his injuries. He proceeded to sue the rental store and distributors. The defendants argued that Westlye had assumed the risk inherent in skiing and had released his claims by signing a written release in the rental contract.

The court first concluded that the release did not extend to the distributor, which therefore remained liable. The court found that the contract barred Westlye’s negligent adjustment and breach of contract claims. However, the court highlighted the fact that strict ski product liability applies to lessors of a product, such as the rental store. Even though the contract claimed to release the rental store from liability, the court concluded that any attempt to contract out of strict product liability in tort is void as against the public interest.

Similarly in Oregon, sellers and lessors of equipment can be held strictly liable for supplying unreasonably dangerous defective products that cause physical harm.See ORS 30.920(1). Strict liability exists if (1) the seller of lessor is engaged in the business of selling or leasing such products; and (2) the product reaches the consumer without substantially changing from the condition in which it was sold or leased. The defect could be in the design, the manufacture, or insufficient warnings or instruction.

If you have been injured while skiing or snowboarding and you believe that your ski equipment was defective, Richard Rizk can help hold responsible whoever supplied the faulty gear.

Get an Attorney Who Understand Oregon’s Ski Product Liability Laws

Call Richard Rizk, Attorney at Law at (503) 245-5677 for a free consultation today.

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