or snowboarding accident
Montana boasts more acres per skier than any state in the contiguous 48 states. Steep chutes and acres of untouched snow make for an exhilarating experience for novices and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Unfortunately, hitting the slopes is an activity that does not come without risks.
In the news:
87-year-old found dead after snowmobiling in winter weather
In December 2022, an 87-year-old man was found dead just outside of the Whitefish Mountain Resort, according to a local report. The man was reported missing after going snowmobiling alone in the Canyon Creek area.
After the snowmobiler did not return as expected at around 2 p.m., the sheriff’s department dispatched about 30 searchers at around 5 p.m. the same evening. Due to snowy conditions, the air unit was unable to fly until the following day. The man’s remains were located that afternoon about 4 to 5 miles beyond a groomed trail.
Causes of skiing and snowboarding accidents
According to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, approximately 10 million people enjoy skiing or snowboarding every year in the U.S. Of the millions of ski trips that take place annually, there are nearly 600,000 injuries.
While relatively few fatalities occur after skiing accidents, with approximately 40 reported over a 10-year period, the majority of victims were men (85%) in their late teens to late 30s (70%).
Common factors in skiing accidents include:
- Primary collisions with other people or stationary objects
- Lack of a helmet
- Equipment failure
- Inadequate instruction from ski resort personnel
- Chairlifts are generally safe when properly operated and maintained by a lift operator.
Need legal advice after an accident or injury? Here’s what to expect and how to prepare for your free personal injury consultation with Murphy Law Firm.
Common skiing and snowboarding injuries
Collisions tend to cause the most severe injuries on the slopes, but fortunately, the vast majority of skiing and snowboarding accidents only cause minor bruises. If the skier or snowboarder extends their arms to break a fall, shoulder injuries are also common.
Ski accidents are more likely than snowboarding accidents to cause knee injuries, and compared to skiers, snowboarders are more likely to injure a wrist, shoulder or ankle.
Other common injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Herniated discs
- Back pain
Extended exposure to very cold temperatures may cause hypothermia and frostbite. Therefore, it’s extremely dangerous to go snowboarding, snowmobiling, tubing or skiing during a storm or off the beaten path where it’s easier to get lost.
People who want to participate in winter sports should always follow all weather and hazardous condition advisories to avoid venturing out into dangerous conditions and potentially risking death.
Seeking medical treatment for winter sports injuries
After a skiing or snowboarding accident, it’s important to immediately go to a medical care provider and receive a thorough examination. An accident victim should always receive an immediate medical examination even if they believe the accident did not cause injury. Some injuries can be very serious but undetectable at first.
This is especially true of internal injuries like bruises, organ damage and internal bleeding. Back and neck injuries may also seem minor at first, but they can worsen over time if left untreated. Long-term effects of serious snowboarding and skiing injuries may include:
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Lingering neck and back pain
Getting examined and treated early will also provide evidence of the resulting injury if you plan to seek compensation for accidents caused by someone else’s negligence.
Filing a personal injury claim after a winter skiing accident
If a skiing or snowboarding accident is caused by someone else’s negligence, the injured party may file a personal injury claim against the party who was at fault.
- In some cases, the resort may be at fault if guests were not properly protected from a foreseeable hazard.
- In other cases, another skier or snowboarder may be at fault for causing a collision or otherwise creating the hazard that injured the accident victim.
- If defective equipment caused the accident, the victim might be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If the defendant is a resort or parts manufacturer, the plaintiff’s ski accident attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to arrive at a desirable settlement amount. If the 2 parties are unable to settle outside of court, the case will proceed to trial.
Learn about unjust practices when filing a claim in Montana. Personal injury plaintiffs (injured in a car accident, work accident, etc.) have to deal with insurance companies that may try to trick them.
Hiring an attorney for Montana skiing accidents
After receiving a medical examination, the next step for skiing and snowboarding accident victims is to contact a Montana personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers have a thorough knowledge of the civil court process. They can provide the accident victim insight into the likelihood of their case settling or prevailing in court. Lawyers also have the professionalism, experience and confidence to negotiate with insurance companies and their corporate attorneys.
Montana is similar to most states when it comes to deadlines for personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. When time is up, there’s almost zero chance that you’ll be able to recover any damages for your injuries. For this reason, if you have experienced an injury and want to file a claim, you need to do so as soon as possible following your accident.
Because providing evidence of the injury is critical to winning an accident case, the attorney will also ensure the injured party receives the necessary medical attention and treatment to establish the plaintiff’s case to demonstrate the extent to which the plaintiff suffered a financially compensable injury.
In very severe cases that involve permanent injury or death, personal injury attorneys will generally advocate for their clients to receive compensation for emotional damages in addition to compensation for the physical injury.
Contact a Montana personal injury attorney
Personal injury court cases in Montana can be complex, so it is imperative to have an experienced personal injury attorney pursuing financial damages for your injuries. At Murphy Law Firm, our attorneys have more than 75 years of experience helping injury victims across Montana get maximum compensation after an accident.