Could I win a lawsuit if I was downhill skiing and crashed into a poorly padded chairlift and went to the hospital?

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Could I win a lawsuit if I was downhill skiing and crashed into a poorly padded chairlift and went to the hospital?

Asked on August 9, 2011 Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is possible--and worth discussing with a personal injury attorney--but doubtful. The problem is three-fold:

1) When somone voluntarily engages in a risky or potentially dangerous activity, they are held to voluntarily assume the normal risks. The normal risks of skiiing include skiining into obstacles, including chair lift poles, other skiiers, adjacent trees or rocks, snow guns, etc. Running into something goes with the territory, and running into an obstacle without more fault on the part of the slope usually will not yield liability.

2) To the extent you were negligent (skiing to fast; skiing intoxicated; skiing on too hard a slope, or with poorly maintained skiis), if you were, your own negligence would reduce or cancel out any fault on the part of the slope.

3) Assuming the chair lift pole is padded more or less to industry standards, it would be very hard to show negligence or fault on the part of the slope.


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