Winter sports injuries and personal injury claims

Region: Ontario Answer # 3402

Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, although popular, come with inherent risks, and injuries are not uncommon. When accidents occur, it is important to understand the legal aspects, primarily liability waivers, resort negligence, and personal injury claims.

What are liability waivers?

Most ski resorts and winter sports facilities require participants to sign liability waivers. These waivers are designed to protect the facility from legal claims by having participants acknowledge the risks involved in the sport. However, it is important to understand that waivers are not absolute. They cannot shield a resort from liability for gross negligence or reckless conduct. For instance, if an injury is caused by poorly maintained equipment or hazardous conditions that the resort should have addressed, the waiver may not absolve the resort of responsibility.

What is resort negligence and duty of care?

Ski resorts and operators have a duty of care to ensure their premises are reasonably safe for use. This includes maintaining equipment, marking hazards, and ensuring that trails are safe for skiers and snowboarders of varying skill levels. When a resort fails in this duty, and an injury occurs as a result, the resort can be held liable.

Establishing resort negligence can be complex. It involves proving that the resort breached its duty of care and that this breach directly caused the injury. Evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimony will be crucial in such cases.

Personal injury claims in winter sports accidents

Pursuing a personal injury claim for a winter sports injury involves four key considerations:

  1. Determining liability: Identifying whether the injury resulted from the negligence of the resort, another participant, or was simply an inherent risk of the sport.
  2. Documenting the injury: Seeking immediate medical attention and keeping a detailed record of your injuries and their impact on your life is crucial.
  3. Understanding insurance coverage: Many resorts have insurance policies that may cover injuries sustained on their premises. However, navigating these claims can be challenging.
  4. Compensation: Similar to other personal injury claims, compensation can cover medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. In cases of severe injury, long-term care costs and loss of future earning capacity may also be considered.

Importance of precautions and safety measures

While understanding the legal aspects is important, safety should always be the priority. Skiers and snowboarders should take personal precautions, such as wearing appropriate safety gear and skiing within their skill level. Being aware of the conditions and respecting all signs and warnings is also vital.

Understanding how liability waivers work, recognizing the duty of care owed by resorts, and knowing the steps to pursue a personal injury claim are essential for anyone engaging in these activities.

Get help

This answer is brought to with the expert assistance of Bergeron Clifford, a personal injury law firm with over 20 years of experience.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a winter-related or other accident, contact our preferred experts, Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers. They offer a free consultation and do not charge up-front fees.

Neinstein June 2017 Ontario Personal Injury 474Neinstein June 2017 Ontario Personal Injury 474


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